When I see a question like Do posts have to be in English on Stack Exchange?, I wonder how any person who really wants to know the answer is going to make use of it. In this case, I see three barriers to utility:

  1. The Chinese text is cute, but not constructive in presenting the issue under discussion to someone actually uncertain.

  2. The next thing one reads is a giant stream of comments arguing back and forth. This is not suggestive of the existence of an actual answer to the question. At best, it's just a ton of visual noise in the way of seeing the answers.

  3. There are many answers, with a variety of ideological remarks. One claims to be a policy, but that's not the first one displayed, at least for me.

This situation strikes me as unhelpful.

Another example: Are Stack Exchange sites forums?

  • 1
    I agree whole heartily on the trimming of the old comments especially on: meta.stackexchange.com/q/92107/155556 (I removed all references to the original comment in my OP)
    – Naftali
    Jun 7 '12 at 14:40
  • Yeah, they can get kinda hideous...but they should also be collapsed after they become a problem
    – Ben Brocka
    Jun 7 '12 at 14:45
  • I'm not quite sure how this slid by without an answer. It's definitely something that people participating in FAQ entries should consider.
    – Tim Post
    Feb 8 '13 at 2:54

Yes - definitely. The tag should not be applied to a post until it had been sufficiently cleaned up. By sufficiently, I mean:

  • There's ideally one answer that contains all of the information someone reading the question would want to know. We don't want information competing for precedence on these pages sorted by votes.

  • There are, at most few comments on either the question or answer. By the time the tag is applied, anything of value should have been moved into the post.

  • The answer should document a clear consensus.

  • If other FAQ entries cover some of the same ground, they should be linked in context to avoid "sure, you read that one, but did you read the other one?"

  • The question should obviously be tagged appropriately, apart from

  • Everything else that needs to happen (wiki status, FAQ index link, etc)

Until the above is complete, the post should be tagged as . We don't want to apply the official tag until we're sure that someone who knows nothing about the topic can walk away informed.

In an ideal world, users just getting familiar with how Stack Exchange sites work should generally not need to visit the meta FAQ very often, I believe the eventual goal is providing just in time help for most things that people find a little confusing at first. There's a ton of great information here on Meta, but finding and digesting it can be a little overwhelming.

The more succinct and polished these entries are, the better. Revisiting and curating these from time to time is also needed, basically to make sure the most current information is reflected in each answer and any unnecessary noise is removed.

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