On the FAQ page for Stack Overflow, the second question is "What kind of questions should I not ask here?" And immediately below it is highlighted text that reads "practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face."

Obviously, if someone is reading closely, they'll figure out what's going on and understand, but for a first-time user that's just glancing through, it causes quite a brain-jolt—at least it did for me. In my mind, whenever text is highlighted directly below a bolded question, it's generally going to be the answer to that question (for example, see "What is reputation" → "how much the community trusts you"). In this case it's exactly the opposite, and it just throws the reader for a loop, which is especially undesirable in this case considering that this might be the most important question in the FAQ.

IMO, this issue could easily be solved by just getting rid of the highlighting for that text altogether.

  • 3
    I would say that reversing the two sentences in that paragraph should sort out the issue.
    – Oded
    Jan 24, 2012 at 19:50
  • 5
    The entire sentence "You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face" should probably just be moved to the "What kind of questions can I ask here?" question. Jan 24, 2012 at 20:16

1 Answer 1


I think it's a bit misleading. On the other hand, when I vote to close a question as "Not Constructive" I sometimes link to the "dontask" section of the FAQ explicitly for that sentence.

Many others do the same and changing the FAQ would make all those links confusing!

What about making it better?

Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page. You should not ask un-answerable questions, or questions which are not practical or not based on actual problems that you face.

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