I just noticed that new users are redirected to "How to Ask" page when trying to visit https://stackoverflow.com/questions/ask.

So far so good, it's important they will read and who knows, maybe even keep in mind.

However, there is a glitch as far as user experience is involved. The bottom of the page is:

In most sites/forms with that mechanism, the "proceed/continue" link/button is disabled until the checkbox is ticked. However that's not the case here. Users can click "proceed" just fine, and in case they did not tick the checkbox, they are simply being redirected yet again to the same page. No alert. No message. Nada.

Of course they can use their mind and finally understand "hey, I need to tick that checkbox!" but honestly, I don't think it's a good experience. Unless this is on purpose to be some sort of initial test I think the link should be disabled or at least some alert should be displayed when trying to proceed without ticking the checkbox.

This behavior can be reproduced only by accounts without any questions. (Otherwise clicking proceed without ticking the checkbox will simply take you to the actual "ask a question" page)

  • 10
    What is the problem here though? Now you actually have to carefully read it. You can't mindlessly proceed to ask your question. And do we have an issue with a lack of new users asking questions? I remember exactly 1 question about this on Meta, which was quite some time ago already. I would say it's actually fine the way it is.
    – Bart
    Apr 18, 2013 at 9:01
  • 2
    @hims056 one blockquote is adding a pretty thin border, still easy to confuse as being part of the post. Not a big deal though. :) Apr 18, 2013 at 9:04
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    @Bart in my opinion there are better ways to test the user skills, user should at least be aware he's being tested. Apr 18, 2013 at 9:06
  • @ShaWizDowArd Meh, I don't know if there are any figures on how many users fail this step and don't continue. If that figure is significant, you might have a point. I do however doubt it. The perhaps unpleasant UX to me seems kind of what we'd want.
    – Bart
    Apr 18, 2013 at 9:08
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    @Bart in my opinion bad user experience isn't a good thing, no matter the possible "gain" from this. Apr 18, 2013 at 9:11
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    To solve this problem, the checkbox should be disabled. Sep 28, 2013 at 13:25

2 Answers 2


The message seems best to me; this is something we really want people to read. Like one of these the first time:


The second time, it needs <blink>. (There are some shims for incompatible browsers.)

  • 3
    Yes, use <blink>! But if the browser doesn't support it, jQuery will help.
    – Cole Tobin
    Sep 22, 2013 at 16:49
  • Dead image in this answer?
    – qwertynl
    Jan 8, 2014 at 20:54
  • @qwertynl: No. Do you have HTTPS blocked or something?
    – Ry-
    Jan 8, 2014 at 21:32
  • Hmmm I see it now. Odd @minitech
    – qwertynl
    Jan 8, 2014 at 21:47

I agree with Sha Wiz Dow Ard that it is bad user experience.
You shouldn't provide a "Proceed" button which returns the user after they click it, without telling them why, or at least stating something.
It's just.... teasing!

It doesn't let them "proceed" as the button wording lead them to believe!

I also agree with Bart's logic, to a certain degree:

Now you actually have to carefully read it. You can't mindlessly proceed to ask your question.

Sending them back to the message might get them to read it, however they still don't have to read it, they just have to figure out to tick the box.

Some people simply don't care about reading it at all, or think they've read it all before, so quickly find and click the "Proceed" button (aka I don't give a ship just let me at the question).
After it brings them back to the same place, most people will scan up, see the tick box and click it and click proceed again.

Or they raise a question on Meta, or naff off and never return.

Nothing gained either way.

While this method is to try to make people read it (leaving the "Proceed" button there and not telling them about the closely guarded secret of the tick box) user experience shouldn't be lost.

After they click "Proceed" without ticking the box, then have a red banner at the top stating:

You MUST read this first

With the proposed banner being at the top, after they click-with-no-tick® they will (hopefully) bring their eyes up past the tick box and hopefully read down over.

Possibly thinking there is some kind of magical all seeing eye knowing they didn't read it, or, just there's a timer...

Magical believers or not, it might get some people to read it as it distracted them from what would have been a quick scan around and finding the tick box.

Yeah some people will still just find the tick box without reading.
There is no magical way to get people to read and follow rules. In fact it's more likely those who would take note, remember it, and actually use the guidance would read it anyway, it's not much to skim through.

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