When is it too much instruction?

Today on Twitter I asked: “If I don’t offer detailed instruction, & assume that people will rise to the occasion, do you think they will? Does instruction = laziness?”

And the reason I ask is that some of these online, EdTech, Social Media technologies are kind of self-evident on a basic level. And I want my users to join a community I’m developing at a basic level. No video editing, RSS parsing, database tinkering required. Just login, post stuff, read stuff, share stories. I want the sharing stories to be the most important thing. So if I create a handout with step-by-step instructions am I assuming a lack of self-reliance? Do I encourage rote step-by-step following instead of exploration?

Do my users want to explore, though? Does that get in the way of the participation?

I’m going to join CPSquare, and hope that I can discuss these questions and more with them.

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