Why, when the main focus of every site on the network is to teach new users their scope, is the actual scope definition hidden behind two links, requiring two new pages to be opened to ever reach them? Most sites display their terms of service more readily than Stack Exchange offers its scope.

Not only is it hidden behind two links, but both links require one to read through a bunch of meta junk before finding them.

In terms of UX this is a horrible method of information exposure. It's the most important information on the entire site, why the heck isn't there an expendable module right there on the question asking page detailing the site's scope? Even perhaps throw in a subtle animation on the container for new users to draw attention, or even pre-expand it for users asking their first question.

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    What are you talking about? What links? Oh, and you are wrong. The main focus is not "to teach new users their scope". SE is not some social forum. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask V2 Mar 8 '16 at 21:04
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    The main focus of all SE sites is for folks to ask good questions and get good answers. – Oded Mar 8 '16 at 21:30
  • @Oded which they need the scope definition in order to do. – J.Todd Mar 8 '16 at 21:30
  • People on this network drive me nuts, I give up. I'll just resign to not caring about the broken system and use it as is rather than fight people at every turn whilst trying to make a simple improvement. – J.Todd Mar 8 '16 at 21:32
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    I think this would be better if you avoided the extremely dubious assertion that the main focus of SE sites is teaching users about scope; that's a useful way to serve their real main focus (which is answering questions), but it's not their actual main focus by any means. – Nathan Tuggy Mar 8 '16 at 21:37
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    Most people here disagree that dragging people through a few pages of content will do anything to help with quality. The people who don't care about quality will just click through and post their off-topic questions regardless (did you know that SO has an interstitial where users have a checkbox to say they have read through and agree to what the site is about? Do you know how much it helps? Zilch). – Oded Mar 8 '16 at 21:38
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    Forcing users through a "THIS IS THE SITE SCOPE" set of pages before allowing them to post is not the answer. – Oded Mar 8 '16 at 21:38
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    @Viziionary: While it's certainly harder, it can at times happen by pure luck. Again, don't confuse "useful way to serve main focus" with "really actually the main focus". – Nathan Tuggy Mar 8 '16 at 21:39
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    Then why start with an inflammatory "the main focus of..."? BTW - I am not a moderator. I am a Stack Exchange employee and developer. And I agree that our onboarding process needs work... What form that should take... I don't know. – Oded Mar 8 '16 at 21:42
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    @Viziionary: Don't mistake me: I'm not arguing that site scope isn't important. But it is certainly not the most important thing. That's just not reasonable. Site scope is there to get good questions to get good answers. It's maybe #3 at most. If your argument starts with an assumption that is flat-wrong, but is really just an exaggeration of a more reasonable assumption that you're actually relying on, your argument is far weaker than it needs to be. Don't do that to yourself. – Nathan Tuggy Mar 8 '16 at 21:46
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    Well, this has gone into some personal attacks here, so I'll bow out. – Oded Mar 8 '16 at 21:47
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    @Viziionary: The title is dubious. The first line, complete with lots of emphasis, is wrong. Taken together, it's hard to swallow something that starts out with such a strong emphasis on something that just isn't true. – Nathan Tuggy Mar 8 '16 at 21:47
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    @Viziionary: So make your argument more appealing to those you're trying to convince. That's all. Don't sabotage yourself and then complain about how stubborn people are. – Nathan Tuggy Mar 8 '16 at 21:51
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    Viziionary - you are being very aggressive in your view and are obviously convinced that you are right. But to me you seem very wrong and are focusing on the wrong things. I don't know why you believe the things you do, but please understand there are other viewpoints that entirely disagree with yours... – Rory Alsop Mar 8 '16 at 21:53
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    You can't be bothered to explain what you mean, so I now added a downvote in addition to the "Unclear what you ask" close vote. Enjoy. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask V2 Mar 8 '16 at 22:20

The "read through a bunch of meta junk" is wrong.

Reading that information is key. Read it - not read through it. It teaches you how these sites work.

Arguably, that's more important than the specific scope of each site - when you understand how Stack Exchange works it is easy to understand a particular site.

So first grok the model, then understand the specifics for the site you are on.

We really don't want people to just fling up a post without understanding the structure. That causes pain and anguish.

Much better is to have people first understand the differences between Stack Exchange and all other sites online, and then read the scope description and craft a post that fits that structure.

  • The result people to just fling up a post without understanding the structure AND without understand the scope which is just as important as the structure. – J.Todd Mar 8 '16 at 21:26
  • And your point doesnt make sense: "We want them to understand the site structure therefore improving the availability of the scope definition is not important". What kind of reasoning is that? – J.Todd Mar 8 '16 at 21:28
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    Yeah - no. My opinion is very different to yours. As a member of many communities here, I do not want people to write a post before reading the "meta junk" – Rory Alsop Mar 8 '16 at 21:28
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    If this makes it a bit harder for the drive by asker - brilliant! Job done. Those who take the extra 2 minutes to learn how this works are much more welcome. In my opinion. – Rory Alsop Mar 8 '16 at 21:29
  • But they will ask their question anyway. And 90% of them do. Thats the point. And I dont see how the importance of formatting structure info has anything to do with placing the scope definition on the main page. What will it not fit? The page scrolls I think it can fit. – J.Todd Mar 8 '16 at 21:29

At any point in time only a small percentage of this site's visitors and users will derive great benefit from its Tour and Help, and they are predominantly those in the process of making their first posts.

For this reason I think the current balance between making it prominent enough for them to find easily, and not getting in the way of the majority of users (who provide the site's content; and have taken the time to already familiarize themselves with the help offered) is about right.

I note that you have not taken the 2-minute Tour for this site. Here is where it is found.

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  • In the UX business, it doesnt matter if you've made the info available in plain site. The points of focus for the user are what's important. A user comes to the site wanting to ask a question. He therefore clicks the big "Ask" button, not the "help" drop-down, and he proceeds to ask his question. The user could at this moment be exposed to the site's scope definition for a moment, right there in the middle of the page. This would be more effective by far. There's no reason for the information not to exist on the asking page. – J.Todd Mar 8 '16 at 21:53
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    That sounds like it would make a useful edit to improve your question and try to turn the tide on the downvotes it is attracting in its current state. Currently it does not say anywhere that you are talking about the Ask Question button. – PolyGeo Mar 8 '16 at 22:03
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    Actually I just noticed you mentioned an "expendable module right there on the question asking page detailing the site's scope" at the end of your question. I guess there's a lesson there for all of us about making what is most important more prominent. By the time I got there I was thinking that you wanted Tour and/or Help to be more obvious than they already are. – PolyGeo Mar 8 '16 at 23:25
  • Not my fault people dont read what is written and dont like commonse sense improvement suggestions. I give up on this network. Ill spend my time instead on a community that sees reason rather than being a down-voting mob of morons. – J.Todd Mar 9 '16 at 1:18
  • @Viziionary They are shown that the first time they ask. They have to tick the box. – Tim Mar 9 '16 at 19:02

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