The tribe of people who decide to use up their flags every day is probably small, but I can tell it's doing a lot because I am finding less junk as I try to use up mine. One thing that's surprised me is how mechanical you can be to turn up bad answers. Just searching for the newest instance of some trigger words and phrases finds plenty, every day. Or at least plenty-ish.

However one thing that seems it will always be with us is this:

Hi guys I have this too only mine is for ABC not DEF anyway I tried what it says in the second answer but it doesn't work can any body help plz you can send me your code

Now if this person was to ask this as a question (and would have to use most of the words from the original question in their new question), the handy "related questions" would appear since invariably these have all been asked a thousand times before. Is there any way some heuristics (low poster rep, a question mark in the answer, trigger phrases like "same problem", "send me", "please", and "thanks" (along with their misspellings and abbreviations) and I don't know what all else) could trigger a list of related questions?

I think we've all had the experience of starting to ask something, getting the related questions, and getting our answer and feeling looked after. That's a good thing. I would like to trigger it for these newcomers who don't know how the site works. Does anybody think that's possible?

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But they've already found something that seems like it should answer their question. Do you really think it's likely there's another duplicate question that is more similar to their problem? –  Cody Gray May 3 '11 at 12:01
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@Cody Oh yes. It seems like "not so good at searching" and "don't read FAQs" go hand in hand. I see "answers" on iPhone questions saying "and how do you do that for Android" and the like almost every day. –  Kate Gregory May 3 '11 at 12:03
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@Kate: Case in point, they've already proven their 'inadequate' ability to use the site (properly) - why should the developers (minority) suffer these 'fools' as well as the community (majority), or, any more than the latter do, especially when it would, for the most part, go unnoticed? We clean up, some ignore, others don't care. –  Grant Thomas May 3 '11 at 12:06
    
@Mr. D - I wouldn't want anyone to suffer for them. I find it hard to have patience and sympathy for many non-answerers. But a magic list of links that appears during answer composition in response to some heuristics doesn't sound like suffering to me. And it might help the clueless and prevent messes that we would otherwise have to clean up. –  Kate Gregory May 3 '11 at 12:09
    
@Kate: Apologies, I meant 'suffer' in the sense that they'll need to develop a (let's say rigorous) solution to accommodate 'them'. And 'go unnoticed' inasmuch as what Cody addresses: the work would be done in vain. –  Grant Thomas May 3 '11 at 12:18
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"...but I can tell it's doing a lot because I am finding less junk as I try to use up mine." I can see a big difference too. I'm seeing far fewer runs of 50 "not an answer" flags where I can easily guess the search term used. It makes me happy that all these broken windows are getting fixed. (Edit: "suggestions". Nice one!) –  Bill the Lizard May 3 '11 at 13:15
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@Bill wondered if you'd see that. Plenty left for tomorrow, also :-) –  Kate Gregory May 3 '11 at 15:12
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1 Answer

up vote 11 down vote accepted

See this similar question.

We use low quality heuristics like you specify when the user submits an answer. If they trip up the heuristic, they are presented with a How To Answer page, which includes a section on having the same problem. Anyone who simply clicks through this and does not improve their answer to no longer trigger the heuristic will automatically get flagged by the Community User.

Have the same problem?

Still no answer to the question, and you have the same problem? Help us find a solution by researching the problem, then contribute the results of your research and anything additional you’ve tried as a partial answer. That way, even if we can’t figure it out, the next person has more to go on. It’s also possible to gain a bit of reputation with your answers and vote up the question so it gets more attention, or you could set a bounty on the question.

We also have a dynamic help text for first time answerers that is shown. If you feel that it isn't clear enough with "make sure you answer the question", feel free to suggest some terminology to spice it up.

As I've mentioned often in the past, heuristics to detect things like the presence of question marks can be very hit-or-miss. However, our low quality heuristic compares a lot of elements to avoid things like being a hassle just because I started my answer with "I had the same problem, here's how I solved it:". And, as mentioned already, it already provides a help page for new answerers, so I think that our best bet is to improve the two help pages we already have, rather than add a new page and/or heuristic.

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