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One strong indication of weak questions is that the questioner doesn't even indicate the language or environment. How about using the required tag mechanism seen on meta to designate a big pile of 'what language is this' tags, and have an 'other' for those people who really are posing a question about something new? Obviously, language-independent is going to be one of them.

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You mean [language-agnostic] – random Nov 22 '09 at 3:07
up vote 7 down vote accepted

How would you maintain a comprehensive list of all programming languages and applicable technologies? I think this would create more problems than it would solve.

Questions that are missing a tag can easily enough be edited to include the tag.

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My impression is that this is less about "proper tagging" and more about trying to get a good question to start with. – Dan Nov 22 '09 at 3:52
I'm looking for some way to raise the consciousness of questioners that we can't read their minds. Maybe what I really want is a banner that says: 'if you haven't provided the following 4 things, you probably won't get an answer'. – Rosinante Nov 22 '09 at 13:44

Exactly what will we gain by finding things that are characteristic of weak questions and banning the characteristics? If we require a language tag, people asking bad questions will slap one on, even if it isn't correct. Remember, most computer users have been trained to blindly jump through hoops, including clicking on buttons and picking from lists, to do what they want to do.

Moreover, SO is for programming-related questions, not just programming questions. We (at least speaking for the SO users with 3K+ rep) don't necessarily agree on how far the "-related" stretches, but we allow questions not strictly about programming. Certainly things like development methodologies and algorithm analysis are allowed.

So, I don't see what it will accomplish except putting an unnecessary tag on some questions.

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