“We're no longer accepting” message should not be hosted on meta
Alrighty. This morning, I saw another of those question ban meta posts, and sort of lost it*.
Anyway, when I later thought about it (I remembered what the comments were like), I realised what the user's problem was:
The user was redirected to the question ban FAQ, which itself is a "question". Maybe it didn't occur to him/her that there is an answer below. Maybe the comments and protected message got in his/her way while scrolling. Either way, the user didn't realize that s/he had to scroll down (one comment said "But that link leads to another question!" or something), and was enticed to click the shiny, familiar "Ask Question" button on Meta Stack Overflow.
The basic problems are:
- The post is on Meta Stack Overflow, with a shiny "Ask Question" link, giving the user an "easy way out".
- Users don't notice that the question has an answer. (Yeah, that makes me o_0 as well, but on reading the comment, I realized that this could well be the case)
We get so many of these questions on Meta Stack Overflow. They add to the noise and waste time. If we're continually getting these questions, that means that something's not right – the system isn't working. I think I have a simple fix to this, which will address both issues mentioned above:
Simply put, instead of keeping this FAQ on the meta post, transclude it (only the answer post, nothing else) to some other page that does not have an "Ask Question" link. A page like How to answer is ideal, since the "Ask Question" button on Stack Overflow, etc. doesn't work for that user anyway.
The official stance is that "We do not intend to put any extra effort supporting outlier users that have abused the system.". Well, we as a community are still putting effort into those posts, commenting, CVing, deleting, and occasionally going off the handle. A one-time fix like this will reduce our effort for a long time.
Additionally, this may also fix the number of question banned users re-asking their questions on Meta Stack Overflow.
*I put a pretty offensive RTFM answer, using the header markdown syntax to make it big. Few minutes later, I felt like deleting it – but the question was already deleted. I can't find a link, but if you 10ks can, feel free to yell at me for the post :/ . Sorry about that.