We see the same problems over and over again and I think a lot of questions/problems could be solved by simply showing the poster a couple of tips based on his/her tags. We recommend to check the following things before posting your question:.

For C++ you could mention how to enable warnings for various compilers or that you should always check the result of a system call.

For php it could show how to enable showing warnings and notices or that you should check the result of database queries, etc..

Maybe it would also make sense to have hints based on multiple tags.. (eg: C++ and array).

Of course the OP can ignore these hints but at least then you could point to that entry with a link, so you don't have to explain the same thing for each poster.

People with enough reputation point (or a badge for that language) would be able to edit the tips.

What do you think?

  • 2
    We already have tag wikis that are supposed to fulfill this function. Are you suggesting some other kind of feature?
    – user102937
    Sep 11, 2011 at 21:51
  • 8
    @Robert: No, no, not information about the tag. Rather, adding a tag triggers an additional, new display of common things to do and check before submitting the question. I love the idea.
    – Kerrek SB
    Sep 11, 2011 at 21:52
  • Many tag wikis already contain this information. Just sayin'
    – user102937
    Sep 11, 2011 at 22:04
  • 3
    @Robert: Of course. But it's also true that many C++ books already contain all the answers. I suppose the idea here is simply to make the interface encourage people to think one extra time before hitting "submit"...
    – Kerrek SB
    Sep 11, 2011 at 22:21
  • @Robert: they do, but I think 1) more can be done to bring them to people's attention, and 2) the more tags you involve to provide information more specific to the (probable) problem at hand, the more likely it is to be relevant and useful. Sep 12, 2011 at 18:32
  • @Robert: In which tag wiki would you find hints relating to the c++ and array tags?
    – sbi
    Sep 12, 2011 at 18:33
  • @sbi: Well, of course you're not going to find hints for every possible tag combination (or even the most common, likely or popular combinations). You're going to have a combinatorial explosion if you do that. But I do think I see where you're going with this.
    – user102937
    Sep 12, 2011 at 19:33
  • @Robert: A situational "read this before posting" display could decide to add bits of information independently for each tag. You wouldn't have to store the pair ("c++", "array"), but rather you just give the "array" tag hinter a conditional "if c++". That way one could build up a collection of useful hints for specific tags quite efficiently.
    – Kerrek SB
    Sep 12, 2011 at 19:43
  • @Kerrik: You still need someone to create this content. But now that you've explained it, I see how the idea has merit. Essentially you're talking about creating a rudimentary "knowledge base."
    – user102937
    Sep 12, 2011 at 19:48
  • 1
    @Robert: The content could easily be created little by little by people with reputation on the respective tags, or in some moderated scheme. In any event, I think this shouldn't be large or grow indefinitely, but rather a quick list of bullet points, like "compile with all warnings", "read about floating points and Unicode", "don't say ++i++i++".
    – Kerrek SB
    Sep 12, 2011 at 22:28
  • the list should be small (with a link to details), minimalistic and based on the frequency of the common problems.. most of us all have the experience what these issues are. If the list grows beyond a page there's a good chance the OP will never read it. Sep 12, 2011 at 22:56
  • @Robert: See my answer. We are already doing something like this in the c++ tag. All what is needed to improve the situation is a way for those to try to submit a question with a specific set of tags to to be shown the appropriate FAQ entry. That might not be exactly what yi_H had in mind, but it relies on an already existing functionality, content, and commitment to produce more content. There is, however, that missing link between submitting questions and the FAQ entries, and that has to be provided by those hacking at SO.
    – sbi
    Sep 13, 2011 at 8:45
  • Any updates on this question? I still think it's a great idea; any chance to have something of this sort implemented?
    – Kerrek SB
    Nov 9, 2011 at 12:28

2 Answers 2


I don't know about other tags, but the tag gets enough silly questions that we started to create a list of FAQs to quickly close the worst ones as dupes. So it seems there is incentive enough to create such content.

In fact, just linking to FAQ entries matching the tags might help quite a bit. I have found a few questions tagged and that could all be closed with a link to the C++ operator overloading FAQ entry. It might be relatively easy to setup a system where when a low-rep user tries to submit a question tagged and the system makes the user first having to look at the list of FAQ entries containing the tags and . (Ideally there would be one item in that list, but with arbitrary tag combinations, it might be a list.)

This might be a simplification of what yi_H had in mind, but it has the advantage that there already is existing content, that the regulars in the tag have already shown commitment to produce content, and that new content can be automatically linked to by just looking at the tags. The rest, however, has to be provided by the SO team.

  • 2
    Yes - preventing those questions from getting asked in the first place would be brilliant.
    – Kerrek SB
    Sep 12, 2011 at 22:29

I originally closed this as a dupe of

Question templates depending on selected tags

But I'm not sure it's totally a duplicate.

Do you want to display this information in the question body, or in some other area on the screen? Or are you thinking of a EULA clickthrough page? I'd need to see a mockup of what you have in mind.

Fair warning: any time you put more text on the screen, odds are very high that nobody will read it...

  • It would be interesting to add code to the 'how-to-ask' and other 'gateway' pages to time exactly how long people stay before clicking through. I suspect that the results would prove you right. You used the EULA analogy, and who reads those? :)
    – Benjol
    Sep 13, 2011 at 6:10
  • I'm tempted to downvote as "this should be a comment." :)
    – sbi
    Sep 13, 2011 at 8:52
  • The new content should appear on the same page where the user asks the question. At the moment there's already dynamic content on that page for the "possible duplicate" suggestions. In a similar fashion, there could be a dynamic box that says, "The following questions concerning C++ are regularly asked repeatedly on StackOverflow. Please do not post before considering the following: ...".
    – Kerrek SB
    Sep 13, 2011 at 18:28
  • I don't think I'm the right person to come up with the UI... :) Oh well....what I had in mind is showing the top 10-20 topic related links, each of them a simple sentence (eg: "Enable warnings", "Consider using a debugger", "Post minimal but complete code"....). The links could pop up in a new window / tab / embedded page /... I certainly wouldn't want to present pages of text on the main interface. Just small suggestions. If the user is interested in any of them, then you can send him to a FAQ entry or a nice QA. Jun 26, 2013 at 13:47

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