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While trying to ask a question, I got the error message

Oops! Your question couldn't be submitted because:

  • It does not meet our quality standards.
  • Why am I getting this message?
  • What can I do to get the system to accept my question?
  • Can you be more specific?
  • What are good resources on how to ask high-quality questions?

For more information, see "Why do I see a message that my question does not meet quality standards?" in the Help Center.

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55  
You have to admit that this error message isn't very descriptive and doesn't give a clue on how to "fix" the question. –  James Poulson Jul 9 '11 at 6:06
36  
at the least the error message could provide a link to this page –  user130932 Sep 5 '11 at 8:23
17  
I've got to say that this error comes up a lot when I put in a short question. But some questions are naturally short. I find myself adding a more-or-less useless sentence or two just to get around the warning. –  user142332 Oct 6 '11 at 16:38
    
When it happened to me i deleted the "Hi" at the beginning of my question - it solved my problem. –  idoo Feb 27 '13 at 23:02
    
I just had an issue where my question wasn't accepted because all the words in the title where tags... but the title was perfectly acceptable as was the question. Tags are crowd sourced and can be created on the fly by anyone with whatever rep. That just seems like something that wasn't thought through at all. All I did was add a 'Using' at the beginning of my title. The filter accomplished nothing other than annoying me and causing this conversation. –  Preston Apr 17 '13 at 21:07
1  
Mine wasn't accepted because I had "How is this done??????" I changed it to "How is this done??" and it was accepted. Apparently, one cannot show too much curiosity on StackOverflow. That's pretty pathetic. –  Theodore R. Smith Apr 30 '13 at 4:15
2  
Well, we quite like basic English as well as curiosity; six question marks doesn't make any sense. Much better to show your curiosity by detailing all the investigations into your problem you've done so far. –  MadHatter May 9 '13 at 15:58
    
I've forced programmers to remove excess exclamation marks from error messages whenever they where unable to specify why they used six, and not seven, or five exclamation marks. Just does not make sense!!!!!!!!! –  TheBlastOne May 15 '13 at 10:57
    
I personally call bs on this. I wanted to know the quickest way to add a character to the end of a string if it wasn't already there. I know the answer is really easy, however, it was nowhere to be found on Google. Sometimes I have brain freeze and need a quick answer. And apparently so do hundreds of script developers that are always disclaiming that you must manually make sure there is or isn't a trailing slash on your directory config entries. –  James Huckabone May 29 '13 at 7:35
    
My very first post got rejected and it had just one line of code with a couple of paragraphs. Adding a few more lines of code that wasn't needed solved the problem. –  John Bessire Jun 4 '13 at 3:49
    
FYI: Writing lower-case I as the personal pronoun is bad style and is what got me here. –  RedX Oct 30 '13 at 14:11
    
What works for me,, i wrote whole description and at the end i just wrote this sentence-> "how to fix this" –  user3328194 Feb 23 at 13:48
    
@user142332 is right, it sometimes forces you to be more wordy than necessary. But you can always just add a random sentence like "This sentence is necessary to meet the minimum characters.", post your question, and then immediately edit it, removing your extra sentence. –  Garrett Feb 28 at 5:51

2 Answers 2

up vote 83 down vote accepted

Why am I getting this message?

All new questions are subjected to a "minimum quality" filter that checks for characteristics of extremely poor questions. Your question has been caught by the filter.

What can I do to get the system to accept my question?

Make sure your question has

  • a clear title
  • a reasonable explanation of what your question is, sharing your research on the matter
  • correct use of English and actual sentences
  • proper spelling, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation

If your question is so brief that it could be looked up in a dictionary or reference book/site trivially, it might not be a good fit on our network. (source: Jeff)

Can you be more specific?

Exact details about the algorithm are not being released by the team.

I am against being explicit here.... Our check takes into account tags, title and body. We are not going to give breakdown of what was wrong, that is spoon feeding. (source: waffles)

If we provide a "formula" then it's just another way for users to bypass the question quality filters. (source: Jeff)

What are good resources on how to ask high-quality questions?

Fortunately, there are lots! See:

share|improve this answer
3  
i dont understand...so only english people can ask question? only if i write 1000 rows of code? only if i dont use google traslator for helping write??....not nice....I have solved my problem. I replace "i" with I in my sentence and now it was posted. for me is very strange this... –  maurox Oct 4 '11 at 7:09
18  
Yes, @maurox, you must speak English to use Stack Overflow. There was a long debate, and people eventually decided that trying to support every language would be impossible. Translators do not work well enough. The good news is that, as long as someone can understand you, your question will be edited to make it clear to everyone. –  Pops Oct 4 '11 at 14:05
10  
Exact details about the algorithm are not being released by the team This is typical "Security through obscurity" - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_through_obscurity , there is a reason the internet thrives on open standards... I am annoyed by this occasional validation error and it just means this team puts spammers above actual users who are trying to ask questions...Published quality standards is the way to go. –  giorgio79 Dec 17 '11 at 21:17
16  
@giorgio79 That doesn't make sense. Publishing a spec for spammers makes it easier for them. Users should go for actual quality, not avoiding a subset of crappyness found in a spec. Nobody wants to read mechanically "improved" crap. Comparing this to the open formats and protocols the internet thrives on also doesn't work, since it is neither. –  Matthew Read Jan 23 '12 at 17:22
4  
@giorgio79: I'm not a big asker of questions. However, I imagine your question would have to be pretty bad in order to trigger the filter. Lack of capitalization and punctuation, for example. A couple of sentences followed by a giant block of code, as another example. Only posting two sentences (Protip: if it's a question worth asking, it's a question that requires more than 2 sentences). And so forth. I haven't looked hard, but I have yet to see a question caught by the filter that wasn't terrible. –  Nicol Bolas Feb 12 '12 at 3:04
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@NicolBolas first off, people don't come to this site to get help with grammar, i couldn't care less about my english grammar because its not my first language and i quote _ as long as someone can understand you, your question will be edited to make it clear to everyone_ . Secondly, we were talking here about the filter, not about you or what bothers you, so don't tell me if you are bothered or not, i couldn't care less. My question was complete and to the point, which is what quality standards should ensure, not capital 'I's. –  khizar Feb 16 '12 at 8:29
3  
@khizar: "Secondly, we were talking here about the filter, not about you or what bothers you, so don't tell me if you are bothered or not, i couldn't care less." I think grammar is a perfectly valid means of filtering, because most low-quality questions are laced with bad grammar. Your question is an example. It had bad grammar, but it was also not "complete and to the point" even ignoring the bad grammar. It was semi-nebulous and not well-specified. Thus I would say that the filter did its job. –  Nicol Bolas Feb 16 '12 at 8:40
6  
This is absolutely ridiculous. I can maybe see putting such quality filters in place, but without explaining what is wrong with a post how on earth are we expected to fix it?? –  chaiguy Mar 5 '12 at 23:01
    
In general, if you post in complete sentences with few spelling errors, I am going to assert that you won't run into this problem. I've never seen or heard of this error, myself. Explaining the algorithm that filters poor content wouldn't encourage quality answers, as so many of you are asserting. All you should need to do is write well structured sentences and ask a question, and that will avoid the automatic filter. An explanation of exactly what's being checked would encourage people to exploit the filter by posting poor quality questions that sneak around the filter. –  Nathan C. Tresch Apr 30 '12 at 20:34
    
Is the English-only requirement adjusted on other StackExchange sites that use other languages? –  jrdioko Jan 27 '13 at 23:11
    
As well as proper sentence construction the error message can be appeased by being more specific in a question title it seems. I recently need to change a title from "Indirect addressing" to "Indirect addressing with + and []" which is of course more to the point. –  Toby Apr 5 '13 at 12:00
    
@NathanC.Tresch Not true. I've just finished fighting the piece of junk and it didn't have a damn thing to do with my grammar or punctuation. –  Preston Apr 17 '13 at 21:12
    
Hi guys. I've found a bit of a bug where I was writing a question, and when you click on the tags section in a weird way and leave a tag un-tagged (where the text for the tag is present but the system has not recognized and converted it into a tag) the form displays this tremendously unhelpful message and prevents the question from being submitted. I can see opportunity for frustration because of this. –  Steven Lu Apr 18 '13 at 2:53
    
Whats next? Will you ask me go to toilet before posting post as well to qualify YOUR standards?... –  latvian Apr 18 '13 at 13:26
    
I asked "How is this possible?????" and it was rejected. I chagned it to, "How is this possible??" and it went through. ;-/ –  Theodore R. Smith Apr 30 '13 at 4:17

Isn't it a bit rude to give someone a vague error message rather than explain the problem in some detail?

Well, yes. Normally, the designers of software try to go out of their way to help users get around syntax errors. It actually is an important teaching moment.

But the odds that the problem with a question on Stack Exchange consists merely in the syntax are vanishingly small. In computer code, the difference between a functional program and a bug can be as small as a single semicolon. But in human language, the difference between a clear, interesting question and a bad question tends to be lots of individual edits and maybe a total rewrite. Most low-quality questions on Stack Exchange contain content or semantic errors.

The developers of the Stack Exchange engine haven't developed an algorithm to detect content problems (probably because that's impossible), but they believe that certain syntactical indicators correlate with low quality questions. They want to encourage you to look over everything about your question, not just the syntax, and find ways to improve its quality.

As a community, we understand your frustration. We wish it weren't necessary to filter out questions at all. However, since there are thousands of new questions added across the network each day, the developers put speed bumps in front of askers so that our top users can keep up with the flood. It's really in your best interest to follow the advice found in the accepted answer if you want to stand out (positively) from the crowd and have your question answered.

share|improve this answer
    
So is it a bit rude that an exit sign does not end with "Please"? –  user7116 Jan 25 '13 at 19:30
1  
@sixlettervariables: No. But it would be rude if the sign said, "Your driving does not meet our quality standards," just before the road dead ends at the edge of a cliff. (To be fair, most people who get this message should stay out of traffic. I'm just not sure what is gained by being so cryptic and abrupt.) –  Jon Ericson Jan 25 '13 at 23:42
    
maybe their filter is just bugged, who knows because you can be certain people will quit stackexchange (i would have if i didn't know stackoverflow before this "improvement") :) –  maazza Apr 16 '13 at 13:49
    
this is actually funny and frustrating all together. Looks like I need to have a straight A in grammar and am not allowed to make even a tiny mistake. In overall I support the idea to have high quality standards, but this is just plain sloppy work. You can not just throw a message to the user not even providing any additional information. Plus the difference between browser speller and your filter is just not supposed to happen. If you are going to enforce this, you should consider all the scenarios. People are bitching about capital I ... justified, you cost us our precious time. –  no9 May 15 '13 at 12:08
    
You are explaining this as if they put in the filter as a nice warning to alert us of possible errors. The problem is however is that they are not giving you a way to override the robot. It is ridiculous to believe that some code written will surely be so good as if it can not be wrong. Sure, warn me, but give the "F*ck off, post this anyway button"... goddd dammmn this is annoying. –  Hamidam Nov 7 '13 at 17:11

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