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What is the correct action to take when you encounter one of the questions that sound like the OP has some genuine problem but does not really tell enough of it to get any useful answers.

Should one:

  1. just vote to close with not a real question
  2. downvote and comment with link to http://whathaveyoutried.com
  3. or hould there be a new option ("reject")? that would essentially "return the question to sender" - which would essentially do the same as "close" - but send the OP a message like Your question is not a question that can be answered, please add more information, such as sample code or more details of the nature of the problem and once the question is edited by the OP it would be automatically reopened.
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1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

If there isn't enough information to answer the question: vote to close as “not a real question”, because the question is incomplete and vague. Example: your serial port example, your directory list example.

If it's clear what topic the question is about but it's impossible to tell precisely what the asker's problem is: vote to close as “not a real question”, because the question is overly broad and vague.

Note that not all questions on Stack Overflow need contain code. “What have you tried?” is an appropriate comment if the question is something like “How do I do <complex task>”. There are legitimate questions that don't contain code, but are requests for a library or algorithm. Your screenshot example is a borderline case, it does lack some information about the asker's requirements, but it's possible to provide general information (it's a massive duplicate, but that's another matter).

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