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It seems to me that almost all of the drama on SO/SE is the result of "bad questions". Many thousands of programmer-hours, I'm sure, have been poured into moderation tools, voting tools, queues, tags, flags, etc. And yet the "Ask a question" page looks like it was written in 2008 and left alone since then. Every post on the topic of question quality links to one of the many excellent "How to ask questions" pages on the net, but the "Ask a question" page links to none of them, nor does it offer any advice of its own beyond an itsy-bitsy, essentially invisible link on the far, far right of the page.

Why doesn't the "Ask a question" page impart any of the hard-won expertise in asking and answering questions that the community has gathered over the years? Why doesn't it suggest anything to the user other than possible duplicates? Why is it that so much effort has been put into every part of the site except the single most relevant page to the goal of attracting quality questions?

Our site's main entry point for questioners looks like a Google search, so why is anyone surprised or upset when people treat it like a Google search? Push button, receive answer, right?

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    This was an interesting point brought up by an experienced user who performed a study on new users; see Usability issues for first-time Stack Exchange users - a micro-study Commented Oct 4, 2018 at 20:56
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    @SonictheInclusiveWerehog While that's very interesting, and buttresses my point, it was posted in 2016. The ask a question page is still bad. So why doesn't SE do anything about it? Why hasn't SE done anything about it in the past two years? Or the past ten, for that matter? My question is not "in what ways is the ask a question page bad", it is "why has the ask a question page been allowed to remain so very bad for so very long?" That question remains unanswered. Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 19:43
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    Also related is this highly upvoted answer requesting usability improvements in this respect: Let's Plan the Second Iteration of the Stack Exchange Quality Project! Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 19:58
  • @Nathaniel Great resource! Also from 2016. I'm coming quite close to concluding that SE does not, in fact, care about improving the quality of newbie questions, or the question-asking experience, and would rather continue to have the site's userbase ceaselessly complain about how many low-quality questions there are until the end of linear time. I don't understand how the management can put such a low priority on such a critical issue. Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 20:08
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    I mean... there's the new ask question wizard in the works.
    – Kevin B
    Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 20:12
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    There is a prototype meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/369682/… and I assume its results are being evaluated while there is being worked on the implementation of the site design system across all sites. This is probably needed to be finished first before the prototype can be implemented for real. Also relevant for tone of voice of this very question: What does constructive criticism of a design change look like?
    – rene
    Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 20:12
  • @Glorfindel do you think this is a duplicate? Could you explain it to me? (I'm also testing whether pinging you works) Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 7:17
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    Pinging me works ... I didn't look at this question in detail (I only slapped an extra tag on it). I have the feeling that this has already been asked before, and it would be better anyway to centralize the discussion around the new 'Ask a question' wizard. That project proves Stack Overflow (the company) already admits the deficits of the page, there's no need to reiterate them here.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 7:43
  • @rene yeah, I saw. Maybe I should delete the comments? OK! Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 17:52
  • I wondered about the same thing recently, in relation to EL&U.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 22:31
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    @Glorfindel The 'Ask a question' wizard question is specialised to SO and already has 3 pages of answers. New answers about suggestions for use on other sites aren't likely to be noticed by most, being buried near the end as a zero-vote new answer. Perhaps the current question or a new question could be used for multi-site suggestions about the wizard.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 22:42
  • @rene I had not seen the wizard prototype. Feel free to make that comment an answer and I'll accept it. Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 20:24

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