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That's at least three completely off topic questions posted in the last hour

What can we do to stop these type of questions from being posted, if anything?

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3 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

If the How to Ask box on the right-side when asking questions on Facebook.SO can be altered from its Stack Overflow brethren, I propose something be added stating Facebook.SO is for questions regarding Facebook development, and not general Facebook-use questions. Perhaps something like this:

How to Ask

Is your question about programming Facebook applications?

Facebook Stack Overflow is for questions about developing programs for Facebook. It is not for general Facebook-use questions. Questions regarding Facebook use should be asked on our sister site, Web Applications, instead.

We prefer questions that can be answered, not just discussed. Provide details. Share your research. If your question is about this website, ask it on meta instead.

Of course, this might be a little long-winded for the How to Ask box. I would propose putting it in the FAQ, but chances are the users who ask these generic Facebook questions won't be reading the FAQ anyways. Maybe it should be added to the FAQ as well, just for good measure.

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+1 I agree that from the prevention POV some sort of UI change may well be in order (unless it turns out that was just a freak run of bad questions) –  Martin Smith Aug 27 '11 at 23:07
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Add something where to post bug reports, and simple Facebook support questions. –  Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 27 '11 at 23:49
    
@Paŭlo Do you have any specific suggestions on what I should add and how / where to state it? For Facebook support questions, wouldn't Web Apps be an appropriate place for them (like I stated)? Or is there somewhere else, off the SE network, that users should be directed to? And for bug reports, I'll assume you think users should be directed here. I was trying to keep the How to Ask message as short as possible as there isn't much room for content, which is why I didn't cover all of these aspects. –  Kevin Y Aug 28 '11 at 3:56
    
I don't think people wrongly reporting Facebook bug reports on Facebook.SO rather than Facebook's bug tracker is the issue; moreso is users asking plain old Facebook questions, which is covered in my answer. –  Kevin Y Aug 28 '11 at 3:59
    
facebook.com/help seems the right address for simple support stuff (off the SE network). The bug address you already found (though it might not be that important). –  Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 28 '11 at 10:22
    
Maybe when clicking the "Add question" link on the facebook mini site if this is the first question posted by that user a dialogue could come up asking "Are you in the right place" and giving these links. –  Martin Smith Aug 28 '11 at 10:33
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good idea, I made this so: facebook.stackoverflow.com/questions/ask –  Jeff Atwood Aug 28 '11 at 10:41
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This facebook.SO business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it. –  Won't Aug 28 '11 at 21:05
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Flag for migration to facebook.stackexchange.com

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These are all really facebook support posts though. They won't be suitable for webapps will they? –  Martin Smith Aug 27 '11 at 22:11
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Power use of Facebook is totally on topic for Nothing to Install, but the ones in the question are indeed bad and off topic for life @mar –  random Aug 27 '11 at 22:12
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What @random said. –  phwd Aug 27 '11 at 22:16
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But only if they are of good quality. –  ChrisF Aug 27 '11 at 22:26
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What @ChrisF said. –  phwd Aug 27 '11 at 22:28
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I mentioned this in another comment, but would it make sense to replace one of the migration paths on facebook.SO with webapps? I'm thinking SuperUser would probably be a good candidate for this. –  hammar Aug 27 '11 at 22:31
    
@hammar - interesting idea, though most of the non programming question are simply bad questions that need closing rather than migrating. –  ChrisF Aug 27 '11 at 22:38
    
@hammar Not sure if the traffic is large enough for that. Facebook does have its own support forum which is not related to the developer forums. These most likely are Facebook users who are a bit unsure of operations and slightly led the wrong path from the Facebook Developer Blog post. –  phwd Aug 27 '11 at 22:40
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@hammar, I doubt anything Facebook related would be a fit on Super User: Super User is for computer enthusiasts and power users. If you have a question about: 1) computer hardware; 2) computer software; and it is not about 3) videogames or consoles; 4) websites or web services like Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress; 5) electronic devices, media players, cell phones or smart phones, except insofar as they interface with your computer; 6) a shopping or buying recommendation — then you’re in the right place to ask your question! –  Arjan Aug 27 '11 at 22:42
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@Arjan: That's exactly my point. The SuperUser migration path is unlikely to be used from facebook.SO. WebApps is a much more likely migration target, although it is correct that most of the off topic questions we're currently seeing would not be a fit there either. –  hammar Aug 27 '11 at 22:47
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Ah, @hammar, Super User is currently listed as a migration path and you want that removed? Yes, you're absolutely right! –  Arjan Aug 27 '11 at 22:49
    
@Arjan: Yes. Currently, facebook.SO has the same migration paths as SO. –  hammar Aug 27 '11 at 22:50
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Actually, thinking about it some more, I'm not sure it's a good idea after all, as it would be complex considering close votes from SO can be mixed with those from Facebook.SO, and the moderation tools are also shared. Just flagging it is probably simple enough for now. –  hammar Aug 27 '11 at 23:08
    
I think there's been a large spike in this because of the blog post on Facebook's side announcing facebook.SO; I think the volume of completely off-topic questions should drop in time, and if not there's probably something which can be done around messaging at question-post-time to improve things. Also, as we (Facebook employees) build up better SO reputations we can deal with the closing of invalid questions ourselves instead of simply flagging them (which i know creates work for other SO users) –  Igy Aug 29 '11 at 3:52
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Can we add a couple of special "off-topic" destinations for the mini site that do not migrate, but provide more user direction in the "Closed as off topic" block that gets displayed below the question? The How To Ask box already reflects some of this information, but misplaced questions (10K only, but I believe the user can still see their deleted post?) and the associated meta confusion are still occuring.

I'm thinking of something for questions that would show up on the facebook.stackoverflow site, and have off topic destinations for bug reports, non-programming developer issues, and end user tech support requests.

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