I'm sure many others must find this infuriating. A user asks question something along the lines of:
Or here's a real live example:
We have no idea what version of IIS is running which is a fairly important piece of the puzzle because of the substantial differences in behaviour between IIS6 and IIS7. We also have no information about what version of PHP is running which is also important because his upgrade may have triggered the bug-de-jour for that particular version of PHP.
We now have the problem of trying to elicit this information out of the OP via the comments, or taking a stab in the dark, or providing multiple solutions for each potential combination of versions of IIS, ASP.NET, PHP and so on.
This is another example, albeit the OP did specify nearly all of the version number of his installed PHP:
But even here getting the exact version of PHP is so important because in the 5.2 release of PHP on Windows there are around 18 different versions (counting the threadsafe and non-threadsafe variants), and each one with it's own basket case of faults.
The reason I quote this question is because the
mail() function in all of the Windows versions of PHP 5.2 up until 5.2.11 mangled SMTP headers. I took a stab in the dark with my answer (as a hoster I am very familiar with this bug and had to write a FAQ about it) and it turned out to be correct, but that's not often productive and can sometimes attract downvotes just for trying to be helpful in the absence of certain critical facts.
If we phone up the local garage to ask a question about our cars, the first thing they ask after the make and model is what year it was manufactured (which is effectively like a motor industry version number) because that often has a huge influence on where to start the fault diagnosis.
Is there any way we could enhance the Ask A Question Page to try and force/encourage users to be more specific in their tagging about version numbers, or are we doomed to endlessly post comments to get this vital information?