Similar question / suggestion to Discovering on-topic rules of a new SE site, but a bit more specific.

Over on Music.SE, when a new user asks a question, there is a 'How to Ask' sidebar that says

Is your question about music practice, performance, composition, technique, theory, or history?

We prefer questions that can be answered, not just discussed.

Provide details. Share your research.

If your question is about this website, ask it on meta instead.

The problem is that we get lots of new users asking perfectly sensible questions that are within the scope mentioned above, but fall foul of particular off-topic rules we have there that are outlined on Help Center - Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange.

This leads to the following happening:

  • new user wastes time posting off-topic question
  • existing users waste time explaining why the question is off-topic
  • possibly, more time is wasted editing the question to get it on-topic
  • ill-feeling sometimes ensues, partly due to the wasted time.

...and this happens repeatedly, and it's happening more often as the site gains prominence and user base. I can see that in the future it may start to really become a drain on energy that could be spent adding useful content.

Can we find a way make sure that new users acknowledge the on-topic page before being able to post? Something like being directed through it and having to tick an 'I understand!' box.

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    Some new user will still ask off topic Ques. and very few people have habit to read manual before using so they will jump straight to I understand and do what they want. – Abhishek Gurjar Jan 31 '17 at 8:52
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    @Abhishekgurjar some will, but it would be fewer. And we wouldn't need to spend so much time explaining to people why their completely reasonable question is actually off-topic. – topo Reinstate Monica Jan 31 '17 at 8:55
  • @Abhishekgurjar is correct, which is why I usually spend a similar amount of effort on off-topic questions - downvote, closevote, next... – Martin James Jan 31 '17 at 11:31
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    @Abhishekgurjar That's the point, isn't it? Instead of complaining that first-time users don't read a manual they didn't even know existed, find a way so that first-time posters see the important points on the ask a question page, like in an overlay or something. "Looks like you're new here. Here's what questions we allow: bullet point bullet point [Okay button]" – user56reinstatemonica8 Jan 31 '17 at 11:35
  • But Joel isn't a new user, so he still wouldn't see it! ;) – Pollyanna Jan 31 '17 at 13:49
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    See also this discussion on Programming Puzzles and Code Golf: codegolf.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/16816/… The on-topic page is the only page that can be edited by the moderators of a site, and it also has a lot of pertinent information on how to ask questions. However, it is not clear from the help layout that this page has so much explanation. Even experienced users first going to a new site get tripped up by this. – Nzall Aug 23 '18 at 8:54

Worth to mention, that's already the case on Stack Overflow. When a user asks their first question on Stack Overflow, that's the page they see:

So all we need is this same thing enabled on other sites.

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    Worth to mention, it is about as effective as trying to drive a nail with an overripe banana... – Mat Jan 31 '17 at 9:25
  • @Mat there's a section of new users who would ignore it but I honestly think there's a good percentage who wouldn't. More to the point, we wouldn't have to feel so guilty when someone does waste their time - we could just downvote and close-vote. ATM we can't really do that and maintain a veneer of being decent human beings. – topo Reinstate Monica Jan 31 '17 at 9:28
  • @topomorto the problem might also be technical. Many sites (including Music) allow anonymous users to ask a question, without an account. For those, there's no reliable way to know when they saw the page and confirmed, so there's a risk of showing this page to the same person many times, thus irritating them. – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Jan 31 '17 at 9:31
  • @ShadowWizard is allowing anonymous users something that can be turned off? (I don't think a little annoyance there is a problem at all, tbh, compared to the annoyance the issue mentioned is causing - we don't get lots of anonymous users) – topo Reinstate Monica Jan 31 '17 at 9:38
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    @topomorto yes, some sites allow it, some don't. – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Jan 31 '17 at 9:47
  • Just link them to $site/questions/ask/advice. – Sonic the Curiouser Hedgehog Apr 9 '18 at 13:53

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