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Especially on technical sites, as even sporadic users will have noticed, new users very often don't include important information into the question they're posting.

This usually leads the first user passing by to leave a comment asking for clarifications, which punctually get posted in the comments section.

Many times there's not even the need for a user to ask OP to do so, OP just does that because they forgot something or because they want to improve their question by adding more details.

In any case this leads to:

  • Important information posted into the comments section, where they shouldn't stay;
  • Question not bumping up in the active questions tab, which doesn't help fixing point #1;
  • Unless OP pings one of the users that left a comment in doing so, none of the user who commented will get to know that the requested clarifications were posted, which doesn't help fixing point #1 either.

I think it would be convenient to prompt new users with a popup similar to the popup prompting to leave an explanation upon downvote when a new user leaves a comment under the following conditions:

  • OP hasn't been prompted before (i.e. do this only upon OP's first attempt to comment);
  • OP is commenting on their own question;
  • OP didn't benefit from the association bonus.

The message could go something like this (feel free to rephrase):

Comments shouldn't be used to add important information to the question; if you're adding information useful for your question to be answered, please edit your question instead.

Mock-up:

mock-up1

This could also be a great opportunity to teach new users how to reply to comments:

Comments shouldn't be used to add important information to the question; if you're adding information useful for your question to be answered, please edit your question instead. If you're replying to a comment of another user, you can use @username, where username is the username of the user you're replying to without spaces, to notify the user of your reply.

Mock-up:

mock-up2

  • 4
    +1 for the idea. It probably needs some polishing, but it is a sensible thing to do for sure. – yo' Jan 22 '16 at 17:00
  • @NathanTuggy Thanks for the edit, I've been really careless here. Really appreciated. However I restored the links, the idea was to roughly showcase the effect the popup would have on the user, in particular the fact that they could easily get to edit their question just by clicking the link on the popup. – kos Jan 23 '16 at 4:43
  • "OP didn't benefit from the association bonus" - this is a bit problematic for me. I see this problem on Drupal Answers even if people got their association bonus. It's rarer, but happens often enough. And reminder one in a while wouldn't hurt. – Mołot Jan 23 '16 at 9:00
  • Maybe remind until they reach 300 rep the first time? – hellyale Jan 23 '16 at 23:30
  • 2
    @hellyale Much like Molot's proposal, what I think is it'd be kind of annoying to be constantly warned about that... One thing is being warned once, another thing is being warned repetitevely regardless of reputation. Personally, though I might be wrong, I think the probelm is about "not educated" users, and I 'd propose to warn the user only once. Anything after that really should be up to the specific user. – kos Jan 24 '16 at 5:33
2

When you see this happening you should

  1. Edit the information into the question yourself. If you do it as a suggested edit, make sure your "Edit comment" makes it clear that you are incorporating information from the comments
  2. Leave a comment telling the user that you've done this, and next time instead of commenting they should consider editing. You can also suggest they remove their obsolete comments.

Why is this better than the system reacting to their comment with a suggestion to edit?

  • it happens more quickly. The next person to read the question will read a complete question
  • the user should feel helped rather than reprimanded. It's more welcoming.
  • it will have far less false positives

Try it, you'll like it.

I believe an automated system would be unable to distinguish between a true comment and a should-be edit. Compare:

How do I X? I tried changing y but it didn't work?

  • here's a related question that might have something to do with your situation
  • thanks that is interesting even though it doesn't actually answer my question

and

How do I X? I tried changing y but it didn't work?

  • what version of A are you using?
  • 3.2.1

The first should not trigger this "you should edit" warning, but the second should. I don't think it's possible to design software that could tell them apart.

  • 13
    How does this answer the question though? The point of is to avoid to make other users waste their time editing the question for OP and teach them how to ask questions over and over. Moreover you're only notified of OP's comments if you have been the only user commenting on the post, see this very common case in which no one is notified: askubuntu.com/questions/723630/…. – kos Jan 22 '16 at 17:32
  • 11
    The reprimanded point I theoretically agree with, however it must be noted that this isn't really bashing OP, it's just teaching them how to use the site, since experience tells that this is a common mistake. I don't think there's something reprimanding in gently warning the user, as they're not really expected to know the best practices. On a side note: this happens already for tag warnings, downvotes etc. – kos Jan 22 '16 at 17:53
  • @kos your point about notifications is irrelevant. – Kate Gregory Jan 22 '16 at 19:17
  • 5
    Reading your edit I understand there's a basic missunderstanding, please re-read my question again: I'm not proposing to warn the user based on an automated system; I'm proposing to warn the user regardelss, only once and upon the first time they try to comment on a question of theirs, wheteher they're writing "I love french fries" or "I'm running kernel 4.X". – kos Jan 23 '16 at 5:08
  • +1 for the answer, but I see benefit to new users being notified as well, maybe until 300 rep? – hellyale Jan 23 '16 at 23:32

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