I noticed that on SO many users would ask a question but forget or don't know that they need to provide more info (e.g. about setting, environment, etc.). To better elaborate my point here is an example for tag .

In more than 80% of the questions asked, the OP would not list very important info that would help answering their question, such as:

  • which DBMS is being used
  • whats the table structure
  • whats the error message
  • etc.

Many tags are generic (e.g. , , , , etc.) enough that without such info we wouldn't be able to answer it, and usually you would find people asking them in the comments section.

So my suggestion is that when a tag is assigned to a post a list of hints would pop up, suggesting to the user to add some info if he didn't (in my example above: the hints would be: point out which DBMS are you using, list the table structure if its needed to answer your question, etc.

  • How would you propose this show up on the screen? Would every tag then have to have a list of hints? – saluce Aug 1 '13 at 14:33
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    Interesting idea, but probably too complicated to maintain/bring to life. Asking to clarify in comments is not so bad. – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Aug 1 '13 at 14:35
  • @saluce when asking new question on Stack Overflow there is a sidebar to the right changing between "How to tag", "How to Format" and "How to Ask" depending where you type. In theory, when selecting a tag it could change to "What to Include". – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Aug 1 '13 at 14:36
  • @saluce at the bottom above the tag field. Once I add a tag then its hints would show up above it, if I add another tag then we merge the hints lists and show the highest ranked ones (or something along those lines). I think many of the tags would have/need such hints, but its not a must. – Jafar Kofahi Aug 1 '13 at 14:38
  • @ShaWizDowArd if we can let the community decide on the hints, then we can have it built by the users for the users. Also by doing this we would be able to rank the hints and only show 5 or so at a time. Asking to clarify in comments is not so bad but this would make answering the questions faster, and would avoid having un-related answers just because they were missing such info – Jafar Kofahi Aug 1 '13 at 14:43
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    No one reads the wiki excerpts that pop up when they're adding tags anyway. – Wooble Aug 1 '13 at 14:56
  • I like the spirit of the idea, but a challenge would be (using your example) if they just say sql do you then propose every single platform (sql-server, oracle, mysql) etc. Never mind that a lot of folks think that mysql is [tag:my mysql server] and end up tagging sql-server as well, which is wrong. Then we often need to coax them for version information, so the tag hints become - if the user picked sql-server - sql-server-2000,sql-server-2005... then we still might need to coax more info and it can get complicated and tedious very quickly. – Aaron Bertrand Aug 1 '13 at 15:16
  • @AaronBertrand a tagging system like the one in your scenario would be PERFECT.. but unfortunately we dont live in a perfect world. What I had in mind is much simpler, they would be more like reminders or question like hints. So instead of listing platforms it would ask the user Did you list which DBMS you are using? a user asking a question about SQL should at least know what he is going to write in. And things of that form – Jafar Kofahi Aug 1 '13 at 16:31
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    Possible duplicate of Add a "before you ask" section to tag wikis – Nemo Nov 28 '16 at 10:38
  • @Nemo this was asked in 2013! and the question you tagged was asked in 2016!? – Jafar Kofahi Nov 29 '16 at 15:17
  • @JafarKofahi so? That question seems to express the concept more clearly and has more upvotes. – Nemo Nov 29 '16 at 15:22
  • @Nemo that question has 6 upvotes and this one has 7? And regarding expressing concepts, each has his view, in mine I see this one is more clear than the other. I think SO should have a feature to combine questions or relate them, but I still disagree that this is a "duplicate" to that one..regards – Jafar Kofahi Nov 29 '16 at 16:10

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