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This question suggested to have templates for tags. Their example was with the tag on Stack Overflow.

I'm suggesting a more general approach:

Templates, Mark II

I suggest that each site will have a template. That template will prefill the textbox when a new question is asked. However, it will be completely optional.

Something like (for Stack Overflow):

## The Problem ##
{ Please tell us what the problem is with as many details as possible.
  Include language, operating system, and any other relevant information.
  Remember to add the relevant tags below, too. }
## Attempted Solutions ##
{ Please tell us what you've tried so far. Have you tried searching Google? 
  What queries? }
## Existing Code ##
{ Do you have any existing code to show? Please keep it short and simple. 
  We should be able to detect the problem right away. }

Why am I suggesting this?

Well, it seems as though most users will stick with the default. They don't bother to read, and so prefilling the question form for them with information that we know might be relevant, will forceWe'll get to that in a second them to actually stop and read.


  1. Best case: User arrives to ask a question, actually reads the template, fills the correct information in the placeholders. (Yeah, because that'll happen a lot)
  2. Neutral: User simply removes all of the template text rewrites his own question. Result is exact same as we have currently.
  3. Worst case: User will ignore or misunderstand the template, will use it wrong or not at all and we'll get something like

    <template text here, still unfilled>
    <(crappy) question>

    This can be solved in a couple different ways. We could detect the template tags (i.e. { }, subject to discussion), and throw an error when a user attempts to post with them still available. We could also act more autonomously and remove placeholders which still exist.

Some more points:

  • Templates should be per-site, not per-tag. Sure, there are differences between the tags, but all questions are expected to have the same general information, and this isn't meant to be a rule, but a guideline to help write better questions.
  • Site templates should be editable by that site's mods, like close reasons.
  • We could autofocus on the first placeholder, and perhaps implement TAB to jump from one placeholder to the other, similar to mixins in IDEs.
  • This doesn't have to be implemented everywhere. This suggestion makes sense to Stack Overflow or Superuser, but not to Anime & Manga or Gaming
  • All of the details are subject to discussion, and all discussion is welcomed.
share|improve this question
At "Include language, operating system, and any other relevant information", you should mention "Remember to add the relevant tags to your question", or words to that effect. – Mark Hurd May 23 '14 at 1:37
@MarkHurd: Feel free to edit that in – Madara Uchiha May 23 '14 at 8:33
status-thinking-hard-about-this. Like the concept a LOT, and think the implementation here seems roughly like the right balance. +1 for now, we'll come back for more input/feedback when we start speccing out tests. – Jaydles Feb 9 '15 at 15:55
I'm putting a status-review on this so that I'm certain to keep noticing it in the weeks coming up as the 'official' quality initiative winds down in scope (we'll have done everything we set out to do for that round). We have additional just-in-time help capabilities that we haven't really advertised yet, and I want to circle back and identify 3 chronically problematic tags on at least 3 sites for a test case. I'll comment again when we get nearer to that point. – Tim Post Apr 30 '15 at 5:14
@Tim 50 weeks later, any update? – Shadow Wizard Apr 18 at 14:13

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