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I would love to see more useful questions and don't think the new About page will help; so, I have worked out a more effective "Ask Question" page that solves lots of problems more effective:

  • Ask the user for the right content:

    • An actual question instead of topics or a title. In a Q&A system we are answering a question that is based on an actual practical problem, we are not discussing around a topic.

    • Actual context and details of a problem, as well as examples. This makes the user remind that we need to know the context and the fine details of a problem; too often, we need to ask these kind of simple questions in the comments where the user has not provided context nor details, he could have just done that in the first place.

  • An increased size of the question title, to remind the user that it pops out in reality.

    • This would show an example question in (light) grey, so that the user gets the idea.

    • The question itself is the most important on Ask Question, the whole Q&A is based on it.

  • Part of the heading texts could link back to the How to Ask page.

    • The How to Ask link is partially forgotten days/weeks after it has been read, we can remind them.

    • I would suggest to link "Describe the contexts and details" to the "Do your homework" part of the How to Ask page as well as to link "your problem" to the FAQ, which explains that it should be about an actual, practical problem and which helps guide the user further. There is no incentive that the user should check out the FAQ, so providing a link doesn't hurt.

Have you ever tried to fill in a survey where each box is accompanied with at most a single word? That’s not constructive.

Not seen above is that the question box would show an example of an actual title in grey.

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Just FYI, the users who submit poor quality questions are the same users who won't read or pay any attention to any of this in the first place. So don't spend too much time wringing your hands about it. –  Cody Gray Aug 11 '11 at 15:38
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@Cody I don't understand why more people don't realize this. The number of warnings people have to bypass to post some of the questions I see every day on SO pretty much proves that they can't be stopped -- not by a giant flashing box, and certainly not by a minor change to a text box label –  Michael Mrozek Aug 11 '11 at 15:42
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I like the idea of the font being a bit bigger, because it does help to convey the importance of the title in a very language agnostic way. However, experience has taught us that subtle hints just don't work on the people that we hoped would benefit from them. –  Tim Post Aug 11 '11 at 15:45
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@TimPost: We have never tried this system before, which throws down a bunch of them in a way that is intended to work. If you manage to click "Ask Question"; see an example question title, see text that is there to guide you, manage to type topics/title which isn't asked for and type something useless in the edit box where there now is a guiding sentence; then you are a really odd case. Most poor quality questions that now exist, are there because there isn't a simple clear guide; so, people just enter crap because there is not a single thing that instructs them what to type. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 15:51
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I think the suggested title and question labels are too verbose. Let's keep it short. –  this.lau_ Aug 11 '11 at 15:53
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@Tom Wijsman - The majority of these questions come from people who 1 - Don't care, 2 - Don't read, 3 - Don't care and don't read. I'm sorry, but no level of tweaking to the question form is going to cause someone to care. The volume of sewage I see every day comes (mostly) from people who obviously don't care. I admire the thought you put into this, but I really think you forgot the 'apathy' factor. –  Tim Post Aug 11 '11 at 15:56
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@Tom: No I won't, because I downvote/close/delete those questions. Each of those ensures that the people who post them won't be able to post them anymore. And, of course, they ensure that those particular questions won't be there anymore. Additionally, there are already quality filters in place to help stop the low-quality questions from entering the system in the first place. People are not simply unaware of the fact that they should enter a summary of their question in the box labeled "title", or the fact that they need to describe/explain their problem in the giant box. They don't care. –  Cody Gray Aug 11 '11 at 16:02
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@Tom - I can not provide screen shots to the moderation queue, nor am I going to single out any specific user (or their post) for the purposes of proving my own point, that just feels icky given my status as a moderator. I'm just sharing my insight. Incidentally, I was on this very same crusade. It just isn't tenable. –  Tim Post Aug 11 '11 at 16:03
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Also, no. The bolded assumption that "poor quality questions that now exist are there because there isn't a simple clear guide" is simply false. Have you ever looked at all the question-asking advice and guidelines that are given and required to be clicked through/agreed to in order to post a question? And it's not really too much to ask that users follow the model of every other question on the front page. This just isn't that hard. We're programmers; we can file bug reports. If not, we don't want those questions in the first place. –  Cody Gray Aug 11 '11 at 16:04
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Another problem with this is that it only makes sense on Stack Overflow (and not on any of the other Stack Exchange sites), and then only for certain types of questions. Yes, the most common types of questions, perhaps, but we do allow other styles of questions that might not fit into your pre-defined model quite so well. I think keeping the UI consistent between the sites is more important than the less-than-trivial gain we'll get from this. –  Cody Gray Aug 11 '11 at 16:06
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I'm with Cody & Tim. You can put it in 90pt all bold, and still they won't see it. All they see are the textbox and post your question button. Rest everything does not exist. I've done a fair share of edits on the trilogy, and from my experiences across other forums & sites - people who don't bother to get the formatting done right won't care about reading the extra long title that you've projected. –  Sathya Aug 11 '11 at 16:24
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@CodyGray As someone mentioned earlier - full post in lower case == autobase –  Sathya Aug 11 '11 at 16:30
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Comments are getting a little thick here. It may even be needing some cleanup. I reckon that it may be wiser to have a more direct one-to-one discussion than this rather asynchronous exchange we have going here. –  Grace Note Aug 11 '11 at 16:55
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@TomWijsman [citation needed] –  Sathya Aug 11 '11 at 17:03
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It might also help if the "How to Ask" box didn't sit in the area usually reserved for advertisements, and be roughly the same size and shape as an ad. It's very easy to ignore it there by assuming it's just an ad. –  Rachel Jan 30 '13 at 19:19
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7 Answers 7

up vote 13 down vote accepted
+50

While I believe that bad users will be bad users, a lot of the comments here are merely anecdotal and highly prejudiced. It's one thing to say, "Yeah, I've seen this happen a lot online and users hardly read instructions", but to dismiss a suggestion solely because of prior experiences is wrong. I'll admit that certain requests are downright ludicrous and should be summarily dismissed; but this one isn't, and is relatively simple to implement.

In response to Cody Gray's post about signing the agreement/guidelines and similar sentiments in the comments, I simply ask everyone to consider the following:

  • What percentage of folks do you think actually read the software license agreements before installing something?

    Practically zero. We all simply click the "agree" button and move on. We don't care for what's in there, even though the company that shipped it, would like that you read it and be familiar with their terms & conditions.

  • What percentage of folks do you think pay attention to the little text area next to a password field that says "Passwords must be at least 8 chars long and must contain blah blah"?

    I'd say a much higher percentage than above. Granted, there will be morons who don't read that and will be prompted to re-enter their choice, but after a couple of bad tries they start paying closer attention.

The current guidelines/agreement linked in Cody's post is the equivalent of a software license agreement, and it merely stands in the way of a desperate user (these are the ones with the most violations) and they simply couldn't care less as to what it says. Tom's suggestion here is to make the guidelines more direct, concise and closer to the actual field where it is applicable. The information can be grasped in a single glance and might actually improve the quality.

Also, the agreement is shown only once, when you first ask a question. So if a user dismisses it once, they're never going to see it again and they're bound to remain confused as to why the community hates their questions. If Tom's suggestion is implemented, it should come with a caveat that it will be shown to users until they get a minimum of X rep on each of Y posts and at least Z rep in total (could be questions or answers, so as to not annoy those who answer more than ask and to not aid single run-away fluke questions).

It wouldn't hurt to at least try this out on SO and see if it improves the quality of the posts. Of course, we would have to come up with a suitable metric to determine if there's been an improvement, but we can address that later, if this is gets that far.

I heard bold text is in vogue these days

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One concern I have with using rep to determine when to hide something is that if rep is gained by answering question doesn't, the user doesn't necessarily learn how to ask questions. Other than that, I agree with your post. –  Anna Lear Aug 11 '11 at 17:15
    
@yoda: Thank you for summarizing my intention! I think that if you are used to the system that you don't necessarily need to hide the text as it doesn't disturb to a high reputation user that much; but that's of course a small issue which can be voted/corrected, consider the case where a user would provide a lot of answers but barely ask questions, it might be handy in that case. Put this on top so users read it second. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 17:23
    
Also, I would suggest (Anna Lears idea) to link the sentences or parts of it back to the How to Ask page so that people can read more about it if they want to. I'll update the question to include this... –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 17:31
    
By the way, I read it before asking a question. And I've read it several times since. I'm not sure why you agree users won't read that text, but you and Tom think that they'll read all the prompt text you want to add. The "ask question" page is a fairly complex form already; adding more and more text gets dangerously close to the same information overload you claim occurs here. And even more likely to be ignored because it isn't necessary to read to continue. –  Cody Gray Aug 11 '11 at 22:14
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Also, have you ever watched usability studies being conducted? Users don't read the password requirements. They try entering their normal password they use for everything. If it's rejected, they get frustrated, say "this dumb site", and only then read the question. This isn't just an indication of my generally bleak outlook on humanity; this is a very real and quite well-documented phenomenon. –  Cody Gray Aug 11 '11 at 22:18
    
@CodyGray: We aren't all people that read the How to Ask page several times and know it of the top of our heads. Users don't know that the text fields are not necessary; if you fill in a registration at a website, I'm pretty sure that you read what to fill in the boxes hence the short hints are read. You are taking the example a bit too literal, please note that we aren't handling frequently used strings here thus your frustration and phenomenon don't even take place. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 12 '11 at 2:04
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How some users walk through Ask Question: Fill in a question title, confusingly turn it into a question; rather than composing a proper question title and useful context, details and examples. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 12 '11 at 2:17
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My issue with the suggestions here is that they add more words to the page.

If the user is so dense that can't understand what "title:" means, I'm not convinced that changing it to "summarize your problem as a question:" is going to help ... anyone.

Also, there is already help present in the fields:

enter image description here

So piling even more text on the page is simply not the right way to reach users who don't read anything.

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A title is not defined as a question based on a problem. The only thing that I see that does actually ask a question rather than a title is the text in the box, which is indeed (as it is so grey) less likely to be read by the majority. I don't see any help present in the question body. The result of not improving the actual entry rather than all the filters/side text/once-read-nagging-license-agreements, is the reason why you need CHAOS to clean up the mess. As said; it's not for users who don't read anything, but to increase the quality of our Q&As with less work on our part. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 12 '11 at 16:23
    
Put otherwise... Less words on the form result in less words in the question. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 12 '11 at 16:26
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I have not found that to be true, and none of my research and reading in the last 10 years agrees with that. More words on the page equals even less reading by the user. –  Jeff Atwood Aug 12 '11 at 16:42
    
My last comment: Do you have any reference on more words (but not a thousand) causing less reading in the context of a fill-in form? Do you also have a reference on no words at all being more effective than a few words? People could say anything here... If it so as you say, I'll have to look for other ways to improve the quality of questions. Perhaps I could set up interesting questions on the Prog.SE and UX.SE communities that outline some of the bad questions and how the filtering and UI could be improved... –  Tom Wijsman Aug 12 '11 at 16:55
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While I agree with Tim and others that a lot of users are plain apathetic, I think it can't hurt to improve the wording on things anyway.

Stack Exchange is not always new-user friendly and in my experience communities aren't very forgiving to questions that aren't phrased "just so". That can be intimidating. Especially as we move away from the technical programmer crowd and attract more users from other fields, it really can't hurt to be a little more clear on what likely is the first form a new user comes across.

I'm not fully in agreement with the wording changes proposed here. For one, I think it's fine to keep "title" instead of going for some variation of "concise description". But I support adding some guidance around tags, the preview pane, and possibly the question body itself.

Tl;dr: there's no harm in making wording better. It's a small change and it won't stop every bad question, but that's okay. Sure, this is the Internet and so on, but aren't we trying to make the Internet better?

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This is certainly an argument--what could revising the wording possibly hurt? And it's one I'm inclined to agree with. But I think there are two important problems, both as mentioned in the comments. First is that the suggested text/format doesn't necessarily apply to all of the SE sites, even if it works well on SO. And I think the UI should be consistent across all of the sites, at least as consistent as possible. Second, increasing the length of message text is not necessarily a good idea. Prompts should be short and sweet if we want anyone to read them. The added complexity is unhelpful. –  Cody Gray Aug 11 '11 at 16:19
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Related: Joel's anecdote about UI design as implemented by Juno (about 2/3 of the way down the page) –  Cody Gray Aug 11 '11 at 16:20
    
@Cody I don't think the prompts suggested in Tom's screenshot are overly long, but you do have a good point about other sites. I think sorting out what the wording should be is different from deciding whether to put it in place in the first place. I see this post as an attempt to at least figure out the latter and settling the wording can come later. I feel like a lot of people in this discussion are getting hung up on implementation details and looking past the bigger picture. –  Anna Lear Aug 11 '11 at 16:22
    
@CodyGray: First, I already proofed that they don't differ in earlier comments. Second, I'm not increasing the length, which is what the How to Ask page did. But rather provide shorter text which can serve as links to more detail... –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 16:48
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Ask the user for [...] An actual question instead of topics or a title.

This has been suggested a few times... You linked to one of them. I'm in favor of this, although I think editing titles to provide good, visible examples of what they should look like is more effective. The biggest problem with titles is often not that they're titular, but that they're vague or completely meaningless.

Ask the user for [...] Actual context and details of a problem, as well as examples.

These may or may not be relevant. Lots of folks have tried to sum up what makes a good question, but really what constitutes a good question depends a lot on what is being asked: if your code is behaving unexpectedly, then a good question will tend to include a small code snippet to reproduce the problem, a description of what you're trying to do, and a description of what you expect to happen... You could describe this as context, details, and examples, although that's probably not how the author would think of them. But many users ask questions about things they want to accomplish, but don't know where to begin. Answers point to an API, an algorithm, or a tool. Context is crucial here, but in terms of what the asker is trying to accomplish, not necessarily the code that he's written.

An increased size of the question title, to remind the user that it pops out in reality.

This seems reasonable. Not too big, but slightly larger than the body font.

This would show an example question in (light) grey, so that the user gets the idea.

The entire site should be an example for this. The first thing you see upon visiting the site is a page full of titles.

And actually, this is what makes me and others somewhat negative toward these suggestions: they treat users as though they've been captured, blindfolded, driven to a secret location and dumped in front of a desk where this "ask a question" screen was open, and then told of a question they must obtain the answer to or die. But users have examples - the entire site is filled with examples of questions that have been asked and answered. If you're asking a question poorly, it's either because you don't care, or you've been exposed to more lousy questions than good ones.

But that doesn't mean we can't improve. I think your labeling ideas are decent. Overly verbose, but decent. Here's my suggestion: start a little smaller. Focus on coming up with clear, short, descriptive labels for the major UI elements. Leave the rest for another day.

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(1) Editing titles is what CHAOS and other prolific editors have been doing, but note that floods are frowned upon on smaller communities by some; why not let the user do part of this so we don't need to do that much extra work? (2) We should at least give the incentive, rather than leaving the body open for anything like a forum would. (4) Yes, see point 1. The reason that we need to mop that much water, is because the water tap is left wide open. I've updated the screenshot. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 19:27
    
@Tom: CHAOS is great, but again they're at best just setting an example. Each community is responsible for editing their questions, and the best way to avoid flooding is to edit as they arrive. Remember, the front page is the example new users will see, and if you're editing the front page, you don't have to worry about bumping... –  Shog9 Aug 11 '11 at 19:31
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Please, don't assume people arrive on the front page. It's actually very different from that, people also arrive on a question and click on "How to Ask". People might not even skim through the questions on the front page when they are linked to the front page. The amount of links on the internet that link to the front page are small comparable to the links that link to individual questions. And as a side note, this does not apply to the interesting tab which might in the future be seen on other communities... –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 19:50
    
@Tom: true enough, but my point is: edit questions as you encounter them - when you find one on a Google search, when you come across them in the Related lists, etc. It doesn't have to be a huge, one-time job if everyone gets involved. –  Shog9 Aug 11 '11 at 19:58
    
Sure, but not every viewer is a prolific editor. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 20:17
    
@Tom: more need to be. –  Shog9 Aug 11 '11 at 20:19
    
People mainly read, ask and answer; I doubt if more will be. Relevant: Explore.SU... –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 20:24
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Increasing the font size of the title to reflect its importance seems like a good idea. The sentences as field labels seem awkward though. Perhaps "Title" could just be changed to "Summary" to better reflect the purpose of the field without making it too verbose? "Provide details like context, intent, and examples" also makes an awkward field label. They're good instructions, but I don't think that's the place for them.

Instead, what about another block in the sidebar below "How to Ask" that provides these bullet points. It would also be good to mention describing what result was expected and what actually occurred. This block could flash (like answers do when you first post them) when the question body textarea loses focus or the mouse is hovered over the "Post" button. These bullet points could be linked to parts of the faq, rather than linking from the field labels. The standard behaviour when clicking on field labels is to focus the entry field, if it does anything at all. It might also make sense to rename the existing "How to Ask" box to "What to ask", and label this new box "How to ask".

The "asking help" link already points to the "How to Ask" page. Maybe it could be renamed to something like "asking good questions"? Or at least something that indicates that it's about writing good questions rather than technical help about the process of posting questions.

Ask the user for the right content: An actual question instead of topics or a title.

I don't think there's any inherent benefit in titles phrased as complete sentences or as questions. This was thoroughly debated recently, but the gist of it is that we want detailed titles, but complete sentences don't get us any closer to that goal. It's kind of an XY problem.

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The problem with summary is that it does not encourage to write an actual question based on a practical problem as the title. For that matter, even "Question" does not do that by itself. So, perhaps we can design a better box at the site while not necessarily adding more text? As for the last part, read Joel's comments; and who cares about "How do I", proper titles should be chosen over title density as title density is merely a result of the current UI. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 12 '11 at 19:01
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I don't disagree that clarification will have a benefit. But the benefit will be incredibly small because of what Cody, Michael, and Tim say in the comments. Bad posts and ignoring instructions are the rule on the internet, not the exception. You can't change the fundamental nature of people with nice text.

I can't speak for them, but I would assume the devs have bigger fish to fry. Attracting great questions and users is sure to be more effective than attempting to turn unacceptable questions into barely acceptable questions.

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If clarification will have a benefit, why don't we implement this? A small step for a man, a big step for mankind. Ignoring instructions? What instructions? As I said, my incentive is to turn barely acceptable questions into great questions, an unacceptable questions are filtered out by the automatic filtering system and the close system. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 16:05
    
@Tom No, it's a small step period. As I noted, there are much better things that the devs have to do. Compared to those things this is not worth the time. You cannot turn users who write bad questions into users who write great questions, apart from the few people who listen. The few people who listen aren't the problem. You can't make the others listen. –  Matthew Read Aug 11 '11 at 16:08
    
Why is it a small step? It's to the developers to decide what they do and when, it's not our decision. We propose features and changes so that they could implement them one day. Saying that you can't turn users into good question writers is a joke, because I've turned into a good question writer over time; I don't think that it makes us special. I couldn't ask questions when I was a baby. You don't even try to make others listen. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 16:15
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@Tom Did a couple lines of slightly tweaked instructions turn you into a good question writer? No. Would you improve if you kept writing crap and ignoring feedback? No. Your reasoning is ridiculous. –  Matthew Read Aug 11 '11 at 16:21
    
If you consider discussion about improving the question quality crap, I don't see any further reason to discuss your view on this with you. You are simply insinuating that someone that can write a good question now could have written a good question as a baby, that is simply not true. Writing good questions is not a talent you were born with as a child, so you can improve over time. Not giving an clear to the point incentive to improve for an user that isn't used to Q&A will not get the user to improve; hence, the problem will stay and exist if you don't do anything about it –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 16:42
    
Unless you are willing to reconsider your statement, my discussion ends here with you. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 16:43
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@Tom No, I have never insinuated, implied, or even dreamed that people can't improve or are born with magical powers. I said that people who ignore instructions and don't want to improve won't improve. Those are the problem users. I have already said all this, and clearly; don't ignore it and make up things I "insinuate" if you're going to pretend to have a discussion about it. The incentives to improve are clear -- the user gets their question to stay opened and get answers, or get better answers -- and this is covered by things other than the question-asking interface. –  Matthew Read Aug 11 '11 at 16:47
    
Let me quote: turn users who write bad questions into, this does not contain ignore. This time, you are talking about users that ignore instructions and don't want to improve which is only a small share of the actual users that write bad questions; as said before my question is not about that small share. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 17:02
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@Tom Really? Let ME quote: apart from the few people who listen. The opposite of people who listen are people who don't listen, i.e. people who ignore what we say. If you aren't going to read what I say then don't bother responding to it. –  Matthew Read Aug 11 '11 at 17:05
    
There is nothing that makes me listen when I click the Ask Question button, and I've read the How To Ask page more than a week ago so I forgot what was in it and can't find it back. Short sentences that could possible link back would surely work. Note that the people who want to read short sentences are the largest share. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 17:18
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The irony hasn't escaped me that in the comments, you've repeatedly asked "What instructions?" and requested for people to post a screenshot of the existing guidelines that we claim are already displayed when people first try to ask a question.

Those guidelines are actually there, and people do actually have to click a checkmark indicating their agreement to those guidelines. You obviously didn't read them or pay any attention to them when asking your first question, and neither do the users who post the low-quality questions that have frazzled you so.

As observed in the comments by multiple users, including myself, your proposed solution isn't actually going to be effective for precisely the same reason: the types of users you're hoping to target won't read/notice/care in the first place.

Oh, and as for those guidelines you clicked through without paying much attention to yourself:

  How to Ask

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To be fair, Tom Wijsman probably asked his first question long before that page ever existed. –  Grace Note Aug 11 '11 at 16:15
    
1. Super User does not have a related section. 2. It doesn't suggest how question titles should be. It is too long, of course people that don't mind won't read it. 3. So, in order to improve the quality problem, I should make a new question that asks for a shorter, more concise How to Ask page? Rather than putting the most important reminders on the Question page which would be way more effective because they at least read the short things? –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 16:19
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@Tom Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you mean, but Super User has a related section. –  Grace Note Aug 11 '11 at 16:25
    
4. If I ask a new meta question "Can you please make sure that users have to provide OS details on Super User; as we are bored placing the same comment over and over again, or closing the question as it just misses one detail, or giving solutions for all the OSes which takes a lot of our time?", you would say that it is impossible? Or perhaps it gets accepted and implemented, but then I can go and ask similar questions for all communities. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 16:25
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I don't think saying "we shouldn't put up a few short lines on the question page because users don't read this much longer set of instructions" is a good way to look at this. Is it possible that we have now built instructions that are too long and scaling it down to just a few sentences on the question form might actually improve things? –  Anna Lear Aug 11 '11 at 16:25
    
@Grace Note: Well, then why does it not appear in my case? –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 16:26
    
@Tom Sounds like a good time for a support question of "Why isn't the related section of the How To Ask always shown?" –  Grace Note Aug 11 '11 at 16:28
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So let's just solve this problem by making users agree: "I will always ask good questions." Probably won't work. I simply don't buy the argument that people don't know what makes a good question, that they don't know they need to explain what the problem is, that they don't know they need to fill in the "title" field with a summary of their question (a "title", if you will). I just don't think people are that ignorant. Apathy is a far better explanation, and you're not going to solve apathy on other's part by more proactivity on your own part. –  Cody Gray Aug 11 '11 at 16:28
    
@AnnaLear: Yes, that sounds reasonable to me! Do you think I should start a new meta question proposing to let people directly go to the question page, where there would be links to a How to Ask page similar like the links on the improved FAQ work? I really think that shorter to the point instructions which can be read optionally be read in detail if they want or need to would work much better than a whole page with related pages that is easily skipped. Another +1 because the shorter instructions would appear every time, as opposed to once and forgotten... –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 16:29
    
@Cody Especially on sites with a less technical bent, the line between a good question and "what the hell are you thinking posting this?" can be somewhat blurred. –  Anna Lear Aug 11 '11 at 16:31
    
@Tom I don't know if a new meta question would go over well, but I personally like the idea of structuring the thing similar to the new FAQ with brief details provided right away and more info available on demand. –  Anna Lear Aug 11 '11 at 16:33
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@CodyGray: When you are stressed by your problem: It's easy to put "Filezilla download" in a title field, where as my suggestion puts an actual example question in front and reminds/asks to ask a question so they would put "How can I automatically download all .nfo files from a FTP?" and then instead of putting the actual question in the box they could at least provide context (need the nfo for offline access) and details (using Filezilla is preferred). Really, why do we have to waste time on closing and commenting if a more intuitive UI goes a long way? –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 16:36
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Because I don't think it will work? Because I don't think users will read it anyway? Because I don't think ignorance is the real problem here? Seems like I've already hashed all this out. I don't think stress with a problem leads people to post bad questions; it just begets bad answers. I get that you disagree. Unfortunately, the empirical evidence is not on your side. I used to be optimistic, until I started paying attention around here. I used to think users read, because I read. Then I learned that I was weird. (People had been telling me that all my life, but it just never sank in.) –  Cody Gray Aug 11 '11 at 16:39
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@CodyGray: You are focusing on a small subset of people that are asking bad questions, that is not what my question is about so I simply don't care. I'm here to improve questions, not turn the type of bad questions you are suggesting into good questions. I'm here to solve my problem "that I need to comment or close over and over again because of a missing detail, as basic/necessary as the OS" and similar problems on other communities. I'm not here to solve the problem that users have "where they posted their bad question and got their question closed"... –  Tom Wijsman Aug 11 '11 at 17:12
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