This question already has an answer here:
- Should “questions” be questions? 3 answers
Stack Overflow is a question and answer site, but so many "questions" are posted here without actually asking a question!
What if there were a requirement to have at least one "?" character in every post? While there are some cases where a valid question can be posed without using the "?" character, IMHO these are few and far between.
There could even be a prominent warning if you try to submit a question without one, saying something like "Stack Overflow is a question and answer site, but it appears you have not asked a question yet! Please edit your post to include a specific and detailed question. For more information, read the FAQ."
This suggestion is mainly to improve new users' questions and teach them how to use this site without requiring someone to always ask "What's your question" over and over again.
The restriction could (should probably) be lifted after reaching a small amount of reputation, which shows you understand how the site works.
Nearly 100% of the time, a post lacking an actual question is either:
Not a real question, leading to closing and eventual deletion. These are often problem statement or requirement, of the form "I'm trying to do ..." or "I would like ...", which usually does not show any research effort.
Or, an inferred question, but not truly clear. Often someone ends up commenting "What's your question?" to which the asker has to come back and clarify what they wanted to know in the first place.
In my experience, I find most people that don't ask a question to be new users - meaning they don't understand how Stack Overflow works. Whether they're too lazy to read through the FAQ or they are new to expressing their problems to other people, the end result is the same: unclear non-question "questions".
Forcing at least one question would improve the quality of posts from first-time users. It also would help guide new users before they are subjected to the would-be resulting barrage of downvotes, close votes, and comments for clarification. Specifically:
For not a real question questions it would hopefully force the poster to think about their problem and pose a question. The hope is there will at least be a small increase in the number of people who focus on one particular problem instead of an entire project.
For inferred questions, if the question were clear in the first place, explicitly adding it does not detract from the post. In the case where the question is not clear, adding the question is usually all that is needed to clarify exactly what the problem is.
Would this be a good idea, or would there a significant disadvantage to requiring a question mark?
Note I mean requiring a question mark in the body of the post, and not the title.