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To confirm the question is appropriate ask question askers to choose one or more of:

  • a specific programming problem
  • a software algorithm
  • software tools commonly used by programmers
  • practical, answerable problem that is unique to software development

As described here https://stackoverflow.com/help/on-topic

Some may realize they were on the wrong site.

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    The "ask question" process for new users is already littered with so many hints, confirmation dialogs, FAQ links... it's unlikely that adding another signpost is going to change things. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Nov 23 '13 at 14:01
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    I suspect most off topic question posters would just select any box in order to proceed. Meta insists questions are tagged. Discussion/bug/feature request and still gets loads of programming questions. – Martin Smith Nov 23 '13 at 14:02
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    But they are mostly bugs @Martin :-). – ben is uǝq backwards Nov 23 '13 at 14:06
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    "Ah, that's exactly what I'm looking for. I want a recommendation for a good game engine. That's a pretty specific problem, and of course a tool commonly used by game programmers. Practically answering that one should be no issue" – Bart Nov 23 '13 at 14:07
  • @probablyPekka While true; clicking ok without reading seems to be ingrained in humans (grumble grumble) but choosing an option without reading isn't yet so prevalent – Richard Tingle Nov 23 '13 at 16:52
  • One way to address the close queue, however drastic, is automatic deletion by downvoting of old questions. Such cleanup can be encouraged by adding a gold badge for those who go through the backlog of ancient unanswered questions (distinguishing the good from the bad). meta.stackexchange.com/a/254753/248268 – Nemo May 8 '15 at 7:01
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I think there are already many defenses at the initial, Asking, point. And none is intrusive, only some alerts about the title, content and tags. As I understand it, registration is only required in this Meta and Stack Overflow. And that's about it, nothing more, go and Ask.

IMO any intrusive resistance is futile because the input field for the Question title already has:

hello, programming question?

That doesn't prevent, at all, questions about Career Advice or more exotic stuff.


I've answered a similar Q at Meta Ask Ubuntu. Its main site has the following in the input field:

What's your Ubuntu question? Be specific.

Ubuntu has zero relation with Chemistry, that didn't prevent someone asking about Atoms & elements...

unbelievable as it is. hello, Ubuntu?


The cherry on the cake goes to someone asking a Microsoft question at Ask Different (Apple) that kindly reminds us on the very first field: What's your Apple hardware or software question?

hello, pears?


We are doomed to receive blind asking folks from all over at increasingly alarming rates.
The force is in self-moderation. I think the problem lies on the Close Vote Queue and that's being tackled at this very moment.

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