Earlier Shog posted this answer over on MSO about "Help the helpless with how-to-ask tag tips". Fortunately, he didn't use the suggested interface:

But instead did something a bit more in line with the style guide.

I've gotta say, I really like the possibilities this has. I'd like to put it on a bunch of tags - both for help asking and for warnings.

Those warnings got me thinking... could we identify the tags beforehand as being problematic ones, and in the event that no tag guidance is provided if the tag has a closure rate above some threshold (50%? 75%?) a canned warning is displayed in this area:

The tag {name} has a significant number of closed questions. Please look closely at your question and consider if it is asked in accordance with the [help/on-topic] that is available on this site.

This could be run on a periodic basis and used to populate the guidance text in the event that no other guidance text is provided (rather than trying to pick it up on the fly).


1 Answer 1


While I sympathize with the intentions, I suspect this would be worse than useless.

The generic wording you propose doesn't offer any specific guidance for asking good questions in those tags, or warn against any specific mistakes; it just notes that most of the past questions asked with those tags haven't been very good. My guess is that most askers will just ignore such a message, and those that don't will simply opt to remove the tag rather than correcting the assumed but unspecified problems with their questions. We could probably accomplish the same with a much more concise message:


If y'all can come up with specific guidelines for asking questions in specific tags, we can put those in easily enough - but as proposed here, this doesn't really add anything to the guidance that's already shown by default in the /questions/ask sidebar.

  • if someone wants to add a guidance for specific tag(s) at particular site, how should one proceed? As an example, here is the case of a specific tag that may benefit from a guidance (discussion at per-site meta). What ingredients one needs to add there to make a magic happen?
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 17:24
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    Post a [feature-request] for each tag, with specific guidance (ideally linking to a meta post if non-trivial so I don't have to edit these all the time) and justification for needing something more than the tag excerpt. Let folks discuss it, then ping me if there's support.
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 17:57
  • I see, thanks! I assume feature requests to be posted at per site meta, not at MSE, correct?
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 18:01
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    Correct, gnat. This is really something that should be discussed within each community, as these might become annoying if over-used (ideally you don't want multiple tags on a single question to produce warnings) and the guidance should reflect the lessons learned from handling these questions. Here's a good example: meta.anime.stackexchange.com/questions/1083/…
    – Shog9
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 18:04
  • 3
    Another idea: if a question in a frequently-closed tag gets posted, push it into a CV queue Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 18:32
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    The correct wording is "Here be dragons", or if you're Latin-inclined, "Hic sunt dracones".
    – Mark
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 2:17

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