The "how to ask" block is a good idea, but it's obvious that most people are not reading it. I see tons of posts every day that are not formatted, poorly explained and so on.
I always try to leave a comment saying "oh please format your code and so on", maybe edit it myself, but the more user come to SO the more posts like this I see.
It's not a big deal and I'm all for being nice with noobs, but I feel this could be improved if the block
was more prominent at least for the FIRST question a user ask. Why not make it
blink and marquee?
More seriously, there are options such as:
"template" text defaulting in the textarea ("My problem is... [sample code] ... etc"). The text would go away when the user clicks it (or something similar)
Lightbox on top of everything with the "how to ask" block
"how to ask block" in a different color
Asking the user "are you sure your question is asked correctly?" and showing the "how to ask" block before submitting
Going through a page before the "ask a question" page that would explain how to ask questions.
I think it is fairly important since there are more and more new users. The closing/downvote system works fine, but this might lower the noise on questions and save time for people closing questions.
This would be only for the first question asked by the user so that it doesn't annoy him too much.
Feel free to edit the title, I didn't know how to word that ^^