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Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 128 Stack Exchange communities.

Every tag has its questions that make the same mistake(s) over and over and over again. (But some tags more than others.)

That's where Benjol's pro forma comments script comes in. The only downside to this great script is that it uses local storage, so if you switch browsers or machine, you lose your data! The team doesn't seem to be interested in incorporating it into the core (at least not at the moment) so this question may serve to collect good snippets here in lieu of a real central repository.

To use, click "edit", and fetch the snippet's markdown source code.

Note: For these snippets to be easy to copy&paste, do not use the editor's linking method, but inline links, like so:

[This is a link](http://www.this.is.the.url)

Magic links might help too:

See [so].
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2  
Great idea! I keep regretting I do'nt have some templates already set up –  Ben Brocka Jun 18 '12 at 23:24
    
Wouldn't it be better to have the comments directly in C&P form (like in code blocks)? –  Time Traveling Bobby Jun 19 '12 at 9:18
    
@Urist good point... but on the other hand, it's hard to see what they look like, to test drive the links, etc. when they're in code blocks. Hmm, difficult to decide IMO –  Pëkka Jun 19 '12 at 9:23
3  
What is this? Some sneaky way to introduce spam? BRB, destroying this "Discount Gucci Handbags" guy. –  Won't Jun 19 '12 at 13:53
    
@Won't you want handbag? Cheap and fast shipping. High quality. –  Pëkka Jun 19 '12 at 18:31
    
@DiscountGucciHandbags: Now that you mention it... Are these legit? You're not selling some knockoff, are you? Or are they really good knockoffs? –  Won't Jun 19 '12 at 18:33
3  
They are really good quality originals. So good that you don't need to know from where I operate or what my postal address is or where to return orders to. There won't be any need for that because you will have no complains. Ever. –  Pëkka Jun 19 '12 at 18:36
2  
@dis - I'll take 6-8 bags. Shipping address - 1108 The Tavern. –  Lix Jun 20 '12 at 6:12
2  
@urist after seeing it in some other question, I agree C&P form is ideal. Thanks, good idea –  Pëkka Jun 27 '12 at 14:03
    
Are these for SO only? I've been meaning to drum some up for UX. I could just post them on our meta instead –  Ben Brocka Jun 27 '12 at 16:43
    
@Ben it might make sense to post a separate one on Meta.UX. If this gets properly used one day, it might become pretty crowded... feel free to copy whatever you deem useful of course! –  Pëkka Jun 27 '12 at 16:57
2  
Hello everyone. At Shog's request, I've edited and condensed your offerings considerably, as well as tidied up the organization of the answers a bit. Please exercise caution when opening the answers below, as comments may have shifted during flight. –  Aarthi Sep 13 '12 at 3:17
    
Maybe I don't understand, but why don't you just create a remote source? The folks on Ask Ubuntu did: meta.askubuntu.com/questions/3007/… –  ɥʇǝS Mar 5 '13 at 18:10
    
@Seth ohh, I had no idea that existed! That's interesting. –  Pëkka Mar 5 '13 at 18:12
2  
@Seth: the intention here is collaborative refinement and discussion more than simply hosting. –  Shog9 Mar 5 '13 at 18:12
show 2 more comments

6 Answers 6

Context: General Questions

Website is "broken", no code in question, just link to site

Please add meaningful code and a problem description here. Don't just link 
to the site that needs fixing - otherwise, this question will lose any value
to future visitors once the problem is solved. Posting a 
[Short, Self Contained, Correct Example (SSCCE)](http://www.sscce.org/) 
that demonstrates your problem would help you get better answers. For more info, 
see [Something on my web site doesn't work. Can I just paste a link to
it?](http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/125997/) Thanks! 

Preview:

Please add meaningful code and a problem description here. Don't just link to the site that needs fixing - otherwise, this question will lose any value to future visitors once the problem is solved. Posting a Short, Self Contained, Correct Example (SSCCE) that demonstrates your problem would help you get better answers. For more info, see Something on my web site doesn't work. Can I just paste a link to it? Thanks!

Needs to demonstrate research

Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you've tried and why 
it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time 
to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, 
and most of all it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer! 
Also see [how to ask](http://stackoverflow.com/questions/how-to-ask)

Preview:

Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you've tried and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and most of all it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer! Also see how to ask

Write my Code for Me

Pure code-writing requests are off-topic on Stack Overflow -- we expect 
questions here to relate to *specific* programming problems -- but we 
will happily help you write it yourself! Tell us 
[what you've tried](http://whathaveyoutried.com), and where you are stuck. 
This will also help us answer your question better.

Preview:

Pure code-writing requests are off-topic on Stack Overflow -- we expect questions here to relate to specific programming problems -- but we will happily help you write it yourself! Tell us what you've tried, and where you are stuck. This will also help us answer your question better.

Context: General Comments

Self-answers in a comment

You should post this as an answer and accept it so others can see that 
your problem was solved, especially if you solved it yourself :)

Preview:

You should post this as an answer and accept it so others can see that your problem was solved, especially if you solved it yourself :)

share|improve this answer
6  
Is the w3schools comment necessary? I mean, why single out w3schools? It's not better or worse than many other sites about HTML. And don't get me started about that silly w3fools site. –  Mr Lister Jul 5 '12 at 8:46
3  
It might be worth mellowing down a bit, maybe say "is considered to contain severe technical inaccuracies". W3schools is a horrible resource though, and probably responsible for much of the crappy PHP code that gets washed ashore on SO every day. Its "how to insert stuff in a database" example contains a SQL injection vulnerability, for example. –  Pëkka Jul 5 '12 at 8:51
1  
Much better. But other sites are known to have similar inaccuracies too. So why focus on them? The point that w3fools is trying to make is that W3schools pretends to have an official status, which simply isn't true. And they're jealous of w3schools' SEO ranking. –  Mr Lister Jul 5 '12 at 9:45
2  
@Mr well, the argument can be made that w3schools' SEO ranking is a problem in itself. And while it's not the only bad site on the net, w3schools, in my experience, is the most quoted specific site. I'm not opposed to have a comment ready that attacks it - if there are other bad sites that get quoted often, absolutely add those, too –  Pëkka Jul 5 '12 at 9:57
    
I'm not too sure about ending your comments with thanks. That risks annoying any sensitive person who's had their 'thanks' edited out of a question. –  Benjol Jul 24 '12 at 5:52
    
Marking helpful answers as accepted: Removed as the system nags people to accept answers already, this is just noise and no one cleans up the comments once answers are accepted. –  casperOne Mar 5 '13 at 17:20
    
Removed the image hosting and the formatting problems: these are edits that other users can and should make. It's a huge reason why we have collaborative editing. People typically do not go back to see if the editing was actually done after leaving the comment. If it was done, then the comment is obsolete and just noise. –  casperOne Mar 5 '13 at 17:53
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Context: SQL Questions

The question fails to specify the RDBMS and the answer will be sensitive to this

Please specify the RDBMS that you are targeting by adding the
appropriate tag (Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, etc.). There may be answers
that take advantage of language or product features that are not
universally supported. Also, by tagging it with a specific RDBMS, your
question may receive attention from people better suited to answer it.

Preview:

Please specify the RDBMS that you are targeting by adding the appropriate tag (Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, etc.). There may be answers that take advantage of language or product features that are not universally supported. Also, by tagging it with a specific RDBMS, your question may receive attention from people better suited to answer it.

The question needs some sample data and desired output

Please provide some sample data and your desired output. (See [How to
format SQL tables in a Stack Overflow
post?](http://meta.stackexchange.com/q/96125) for how to add some.) Additional schema
information and where your attempts failed would also help us to help you better.

Preview:

Please provide some sample data and your desired output. (See How to format SQL tables in a Stack Overflow post? for how to add some.) Additional schema information and where your attempts failed would also help us to help you better.

share|improve this answer
1  
You might want to use this comment, which I've seen being posted frequently. –  thirtydot Jun 19 '12 at 1:15
    
@thirtydot incorporated, thanks! –  Pëkka Jun 19 '12 at 9:10
4  
Aside from not being related to PHP, I don't think adding some meme is helpful, @Truth. (Also, it won't render that nicely on all machines.) –  Arjan Jul 3 '12 at 19:41
1  
@Arjan: The question on 90% of the cases rises in PHP related context. Since I don't think it deserves its own answer in this thread, I added it here as most appropriate existing solution. Also, you're free to remove ṫ̨̗̺̭̮̞̗̜̮̗̙̫̺̖̭̯͊ͨ̌͒̍͘͘͟͝h̸͓̩̙͙̻̗͔̞̘̟̩̯͋͑͂͐a̴̧ͨ́ͭ͒ͯ̓͐̇̃ͥ͢҉̨̳̜̤͍͖t̵̳̳͕͉͋̓͐ͦͬ̈́̀̚‌​͓̘̫͚̬̘̪̺ͅ if you want, I thought it adds some nice catch to it. –  Second Rikudo Jul 4 '12 at 15:26
    
Here are the reasons for me removing each of the sections that I did and what you should be doing instead in these situations (instead of just generating noise): –  casperOne Mar 5 '13 at 17:17
    
Answer cites W3Schools as a reference: W3Schools is by no means the only wrong place on the internet. Also, some of the pages are actually right. Edit the reference to a better reference. –  casperOne Mar 5 '13 at 17:17
    
Lack of error checking: Using MySQLi: Vote/flag as too localized if that is the error. Also says RTFM. –  casperOne Mar 5 '13 at 17:18
    
Lack of error checking: Using mysql_*: Vote/flag as too localized if that is the error. Also says RTFM. –  casperOne Mar 5 '13 at 17:18
    
Using older MySQL library: User might not have any choice, this is just preaching. Doesn't help with the question as asked. If they do switch, then vote/flag as too localized. –  casperOne Mar 5 '13 at 17:18
    
SQL injection Vulnerability: SQL Injection is by no means the only security flaw that people have in their code. This is preachy. Edit the code to actually use the methods that sanitize input instead. –  casperOne Mar 5 '13 at 17:19
    
HTML & Regex: Removed as the poster might not be able to use the html library. Why not ask why they don't use an HTML parsing library, or better yet, put it up as an answer. –  casperOne Mar 5 '13 at 18:01
    
@casperOne: I have to disagree with most of your removals. If people ask a question which exhibits these problems, but the question is actually about something else, are we supposed to just ignore them and wait for the question "I just got hacked... why?". In this scenario, leaving a comment like the ones you've just removed (IMHO) is the right thing to do; it's not an answer as it doesn't answer the question. It's not VtC close-worthy (as you said we should do); it's just a prod in the right direction which is right. –  Matt Mar 5 '13 at 18:30
    
@Matt Ask specific, tailored questions about the question in the comments. Don't just dump a bunch of pre-formatted stuff and then just leave. This is the core of the problem. As refined as you want to make any of these comments, you're really just telling the user "go somewhere else" and you aren't really trying to help them with that problem. There is no "one comment to rule them all" (even in specific contexts). When you try to get one for a particular context, it's nothing more than preaching and doesn't help anyone, while reducing the signal-to-noise ratio. –  casperOne Mar 5 '13 at 19:02
    
@casperOne It probably would have been easier just to delete this answer and restore mine :P –  Some Helpful Commenter Mar 5 '13 at 19:21
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Context: MSO Questions

Belongs on Stack Overflow

This question is [off topic here](http://meta.stackoverflow.com/faq), but
might be suitable for the [main site](http://stackoverflow.com/). Before
re-posting there, please first [search](http://stackoverflow.com/search) 
to see if it has been asked before. Be sure to read [How to ask]
(http://stackoverflow.com/questions/how-to-ask) first!

Preview:

This question is off topic here, but might be suitable for the main site. Before re-posting there, please first search to see if it has been asked before. Be sure to read How to ask first!

Context: MSO Comments

Downvotes on Meta are different

Please note that [downvotes on Meta may appear to be different]
(http://meta.stackoverflow.com/faq#vote-differences). Here, downvotes 
may indicate disagreement in addition to any criticism of the post itself. 
Verbose criticisms will be expanded upon in answers and comments. 
Hope that clears things up! 

Preview:

Please note that downvotes on Meta may appear to be different. Here, downvotes may indicate disagreement in addition to any criticism of the post itself. Verbose criticisms will be expanded upon in answers and comments. Hope that clears things up!

share|improve this answer
    
Appear to be different? They are. –  bjb568 May 24 at 20:05
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Context: Facebook.SO

Facebook account problems

Sorry, [so] is not Facebook's customer support.  
We deal with **questions regarding programming** on the Facebook platform. 
For regular Facebook support, please see 
[Facebook's Help Center](https://www.facebook.com/help).

Preview:

Sorry, Stack Overflow is not Facebook's customer support. We deal with questions regarding programming on the Facebook platform. For regular Facebook support, please see Facebook's Help Center.

Reporting Facebook bugs

Sorry, [so] is not the place to report bugs on Facebook. 
Stack Overflow is a **Q&A site for professional programmers**. To 
report bugs on Facebook please visit the [Facebook Bug System]
(https://developers.facebook.com/bugs/).

Preview:

Sorry, Stack Overflow is not the place to report bugs on Facebook. Stack Overflow is a Q&A site for professional programmers. To report bugs on Facebook, please visit the Facebook Bug System.

Facebook feature requests

Sorry, [so] is not Facebook's customer support.  
Stack Overflow is a **programmers Q&A site**.  
If you would like to suggest a new feature to Facebook, you can do so at 
their [Suggestion & Feedback Center](https://www.facebook.com/help/suggestions/).

Preview:

Sorry, Stack Overflow is not Facebook's customer support. Stack Overflow is a programmers Q&A site. If you would like to suggest a new feature to Facebook, you can do so at their Suggestion & Feedback Center.

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2  
I just used one of these (thanks!) but [Stack Overflow] shows up as [Stack Overflow]. Replacing with [so], which shows up as Stack Overflow. –  Jeremy Banks Dec 3 '12 at 16:19
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Context: JavaScript Answers

Don't just fiddle

In the future, please include all relevant code in your post and **don't** just 
include a link to jsFiddle. Your post should stand alone from any other resource; 
consider what'd happen if jsFiddle went down in the future! (It would be *terrible,* we know.)

Preview:

In the future, please include all relevant code in your post and don't just include a link to jsFiddle. Your post should stand alone from any other resource; consider what'd happen if jsFiddle went down in the future! (It would be terrible, we know.)

ES5 Notice

The above snippet uses code from the [ECMAScript 5 specification](http://es5.github.com/), 
which is [not supported in older browsers](http://kangax.github.com/es5-compat-table/).
If you wish to support them, you need to either alter the snippet yourself or 
make use of an [ES5 shim](http://stackoverflow.com/questions/8732846/how-to-provide-es5-shim)
or [polyfiller](http://stackoverflow.com/questions/8221757/polyfill-or-workarounds-for-ecmascript5-new-features).

Preview:

The above snippet uses code from the ECMAScript 5 specification, which is not supported in older browsers. If you wish to support them, you need to either alter the snippet yourself or make use of an ES5 shim or polyfiller.

Answer cites W3Schools as a reference

W3Schools often contains out of date and incorrect information.
For JavaScript, please reference the 
[Mozilla Developer Network (or MDN)](https://developer.mozilla.org/) 
- it is far more likely to remain accurate and updated over time. 

Preview:

W3Schools often contains out of date and incorrect information. For JavaScript, please reference the Mozilla Developer Network (or MDN) - it is far more likely to remain accurate and updated over time.

share|improve this answer
    
"consider what'd happen if jsFiddle went down in the future." Is that correct? "went" has to be replaced with "goes", not? –  Rob W Jul 12 '12 at 21:11
1  
@Rob W: "were to go down", I believe. –  Wooble Jul 13 '12 at 15:27
1  
The w3schools general comment is useless, what's important is if the actual page referenced is incorrect, which a pro-forma comments script cannot address. It's just noise and will be deleted on sight. –  casperOne Mar 5 '13 at 17:00
1  
ES5 Notice: Removed because there are people in corporate environments that are locked into older browsers. –  casperOne Mar 5 '13 at 17:34
    
@casperOne: that doesn't prevent web pages including poly fillers to bridge the gap between older browsers and ES5, which is what the comment stipulates. Furthermore, I don't think this is anyone's call to remove potentially useful comments from this post. If you don't find them useful, don't add them to your pro-forma list. –  Matt Mar 5 '13 at 18:06
    
@Matt: the intent here is refinement and discussion of these comments - which you're doing. CW allows just about anyone to make changes, or revert changes - which you've done. As long as folks don't get into edit wars, we're fine. –  Shog9 Mar 5 '13 at 18:17
    
@casperOne: I was polite enough to explain why I rolled back your edit, and why I think the redactions you made were wrong. I would ask you to do the same, as this is a community made and maintained resource, not yours. –  Matt Mar 5 '13 at 18:50
    
@Matt 1) I'm a member of the community, let's not forget. 2) I've edited anything bordering on preachy or not directly answering the question at hand. Comments are meant first and foremost to elaborate on the question not to evangelize. It's not for "oh, you might be interested in..." or "you're doing this wrong, go read this somewhere else to see why". That's what answers are for. That said, I'm rolling it back for these reasons, as we will not tolerate evangelism or a RTFM/GTFO (which these are a polite form of) comments on the site. –  casperOne Mar 5 '13 at 18:53
2  
@Matt: You can keep your version if you like, I'll merely downvote it. The w3schools hate is misguided; it's mostly due to w3schools SEO success, not some grave, catastrophic hazard, and your comment simply isn't true on any meaningful level. I've seen textbooks that are worse than w3schools. –  Robert Harvey Mar 5 '13 at 19:06
1  
I detest w3schools links, but tend to agree that the fear-mongering in that comment wasn't productive. I've revised it. –  Shog9 Mar 5 '13 at 19:09
    
@RobertHarvey: FWIW, the w3schools link wasn't mine, someone else added it. My comments were more about the approach of wading in and editing a community resource, and then rolling back a rollback without any intention of explaining the rationale and providing justification. –  Matt Mar 5 '13 at 19:17
    
@casperOne: I'm not saying you aren't a member of the community. If this was your post with no CW, I'd respect your decision to rollback an edit, and not be too incensed if you provided no justification for it; however, as things are, you waded in here and edited a community resource (some of which is my work, yes), and provided no rationale or justification of your actions; even when I clearly disagreed with them (otherwise I wouldn't have rolled back). –  Matt Mar 5 '13 at 19:20
    
None of these comments (IMO) evangelize the post, and there is perfectly legitimate reasons to use these comments, where a comment is not appropriate; as I pointed out in my other comment –  Matt Mar 5 '13 at 19:22
    
@Matt But it's CW, so you made it fair game for edits. And I did post reasons why, after you asked, I don't see the point of bringing them up again after that was done. Your initial statement of "as this is a community made and maintained resource" implied I was somehow not a part of that, because I was maintaining it (if I misconstrued that, then apologies). As for your evangelism, it doesn't have to be for something, it can be against something, which is the type of evangelism that the w3schools falls into. –  casperOne Mar 5 '13 at 19:28
1  
@casperOne: I don't dispute CW permits changes, but I think I would have expected changes as radical as you performed (e.g. removing half of the pro-forma comments collectively) to have been discussed first. I didn't mean to distance you from the community in my comment, so I apologize if it was interpreted as such. –  Matt Mar 6 '13 at 11:32
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Context: General Questions

Insufficient Information

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here, and this question cannot be
reasonably answered in its current form. Please provide the context, and/or post
code samples of what you have done 
(i.e.: [What have you tried?](http://whathaveyoutried.com))

Preview:

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here, and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. Please provide the context, and/or post code samples of what you have done (i.e.: What have you tried?)

Low-Quality Posts by New User

Welcome to Stack Overflow! Please read
[what this site is about](http://stackoverflow.com/about) and 
"[How to ask](http://stackoverflow.com/questions/how-to-ask)" 
before asking a question.

Preview:

Welcome to Stack Overflow! Please read what this site is about, and "How to ask" before asking a question.

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