I don't understand why we're not allowed to ask, "What have you tried?" in the comments section of a question. Can anyone explain this decision?


  • Shog covers the reason here – psubsee2003 Mar 23 '13 at 0:07
  • @Bart, I find it funny that users consider these comments to be an "epidemic". Kind-of hyperbolic and stupid. – mre Mar 23 '13 at 0:10
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    @mre Have you seen the screenshots? Have you read the post??? Totally a problem and epidemic. – ɥʇǝS Mar 23 '13 at 0:11
  • @Seth, Totally an opinion. – mre Mar 23 '13 at 0:11
  • You have read the supposed duplicate I assume? – Bart Mar 23 '13 at 0:12
  • @Bart, Yes, I have. And I think the decision is pretty crappy. – mre Mar 23 '13 at 0:13
  • Fair enough. Then we'll have to agree to disagree. – Bart Mar 23 '13 at 0:14
  • @Bart, Well apparently I'm being forced to agree. – mre Mar 23 '13 at 0:14
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    Not really. You can disagree all you want. And if you have something constructive to add to the discussions, by all means go ahead and voice your disagreement. Whether that will change the situation depends on how convincing your arguments are. – Bart Mar 23 '13 at 0:16
  • @Bart, Smoke and mirrors – mre Mar 23 '13 at 0:17
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    Suit yourself. If you are not willing to actually try and cause a change, don't be surprised to find that nothing changes. – Bart Mar 23 '13 at 0:22
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    @mre I am not going to argue. I am not offended, but others might be and are. You don't be nice because you feel like it, you are nice because you are thinking of others. That is actually the main point behind this ban. Just adding "What have you tried" is neither constructive nor helpful or nice to the OP. – ɥʇǝS Mar 23 '13 at 0:26
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    Complaining without arguments. Like I said, there are great questions arguing it's an epidemic. If you disagree and can constructively argue why you disagree, by all means contribute your thoughts in an answer to one of those posts. Those who thought there was a problem did so, and that had a result. There is no reason why you can't do so for the opposite point of view. – Bart Mar 23 '13 at 0:27
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    What have you researched before asking this Question? – brasofilo Mar 23 '13 at 0:28
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    I think Bart's on the right track here. So far the main arguments I'm seeing in this question are "but I don't want to write anything else" and "blocking 'what have you tried' is stupid". I'm sorry, but those aren't really actionable. – Adam Lear Mar 23 '13 at 0:33

Probably because it's very easy to abuse that comment. If it's obvious that OP hasn't even tried anything, there's a downvote button(please see Shogs answer ).

Unfortunately people tend to mimic one another( I didn't even know that there were cases of multiple "What have you tried"'s in one post ) ...

  • New users are usually unaware that they need provide code, or show some effort on their part. I find these comments to be much more productive than a close or down vote. – mre Mar 23 '13 at 0:07
  • @mre That's ridiculous. How am I supposed to help you if you don't provide code or show effort?? – ɥʇǝS Mar 23 '13 at 0:09
  • @Seth, Although ridiculous, it happens quite frequently. – mre Mar 23 '13 at 0:09
  • Sure, well you would want to elaborate on the comment.. if it's "please show code. i.e What have you tried?" it will pass thru – Adel Mar 23 '13 at 0:09
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    Have you read Shog's answer? There is good reason for this blacklist. It doesn't help anyone for you to just leave "What have you tried?". – ɥʇǝS Mar 23 '13 at 0:10
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    @Seth, I beg to differ. – mre Mar 23 '13 at 0:11
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    @mre I don't agree. If it is a brand new user, then just leave something constructive showing them the features of the site, like the faq page or the tour page or explaining how the site works in more than 4 words. If you don't want to take the time, then downvote and walk away – psubsee2003 Mar 23 '13 at 0:15
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    @mre yes it is... you made my point. I actually explained something to the user. What have you tried just feeds into the perception that Stack Overflow is unfriendly to newbies. – psubsee2003 Mar 23 '13 at 0:19
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    @mre If you don't want to take the time to elaborate and don't want to downvote without commenting, you can also just walk away and look at another question instead. There's plenty to go around. – Adam Lear Mar 23 '13 at 0:21
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    @mre This is my last point. If PHD students are afraid to post, then maybe we need to think about how we approach new users. – psubsee2003 Mar 23 '13 at 0:23
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    @mre Use your best judgement. Your comment reads to me like you hesitate to post an answer to a question you deem "unworthy". Answering questions and teaching folks how Stack Overflow works are two different things. If you want to answer something, answer it. If you don't, don't. – Adam Lear Mar 23 '13 at 0:23
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    @mre Not spoon-feeding answers is totally fine. Mind you, I don't think "what have you tried" is a problem in and of itself. It's a nice enough question. However, this is a case of a lot of people misusing it to the point where it's easier to just disable it than try to yet again explain to that just maybe posting multiple comments that all say "what have you tried?" on the same question isn't even remotely helpful or nice. – Adam Lear Mar 23 '13 at 0:31
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    @AnnaLear, So, you guys are of the mindset of punishing all for the actions of the few? Good to know. – mre Mar 23 '13 at 0:35
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    @mre I'm sure that most, if not all, people don't. It ends up coming across that way anyway. – Adam Lear Mar 23 '13 at 0:39
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    @Adel, Pandora's box, man. – mre Mar 23 '13 at 0:48

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