I've noticed that the first comment* to a lot of questions on StackOverflow is "do you have any example data?" - I'm thinking it would be a good idea to suggest to the questioner that they add some example or test data because:

  • It would clarify a lot of questions.
  • It would make it easier to answer.
  • It would save a lot of time for answerers, and save any other kind of negative feelings such as embarrassment or annoyance for missing the point, wasting time etc.

It might be suggested to the questioner to give this information, either on the question form itself or in the help section associated to it. The current help page says:

Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs.

I don't think this is specific enough, and that (at least) this would be better:

Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. If you have some example data to use or know how the output should look, add it.

Note: Since this is a recurrent question trying to improve the problem of bad and incorrect answers, I'd say this is a defect, and therefore more of a bug than a feature request, and I've tagged it as such.

* The other would be "what have you tried", which would also be useful to suggest more clearly.


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