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The problem I see:

A lot of communities on StackExchange have dealt with newbies that join their particular community and quickly ask questions that are considered off-topic. Heck, you can even see it here in this community with people asking purely programming questions so the evidence is rather indisputable. As a result, their question gets downvoted to oblivion and are voted to be closed for being off-topic.

I would make an assumption that a lot of newbies who don't have the badge of, "Informed" (which is given to the user once they, "Read the entire tour page") or equivalent, are prone to ask questions that are considered off-topic.

Honestly, I believe there should be some implementation of having this badge as a prerequisite before being able to ask any questions. Is there really a reason to allow users to immediately ask questions after signing up for the website and skipping the tour of the community? I don't see a sense of urgency from any new users that they must ask a question as soon as possible.

New users to a community will skip the tour and then their question gets downvoted and it could discourage them to not come back to the community ever again because they could see downvotes as a sign of hostility without them actually knowing what a downvote signifies.

Of course in the comments, we can always remind the user to read the tour and they could edit their questions but the damage is already done. To put it really bluntly, I don't believe it should be our responsibility to constantly tell new users to go though the community tour. I've literally seen a user with over 250k reputation get temporarily banned for getting upset at new users for not reading the tour first before asking a question and I believe their concern was justified.


The solution that I propose:

Instead of allowing new users to immediately ask questions right after joining the community, prompt them to go through the tour first before having the ability to ask any questions.

I'm not saying this will prevent off-topic questions from happening again but I believe it will teach new users about the community and knowing what and what not to ask immediately after joining the community. If they ask on-topic questions, they'll receive good feedback and it will prompt them to come back to the community.

I think it's fair to say that reminding people to read the tour of the community doesn't exactly bring joy to the ones who have to give this reminder.


Your feedback:

If this creates an inconvenience, why? Is there something that would prevent us from implementing such feature (other than programming something that would require a user to meet the criteria of reading the tour first)? Under what situation would a user need immediate access to asking questions as soon as they create their account?


Thanks for reading! I apologize if I sound impatient but I believe this is a very common problem for communities with a heavy amount of traffic.

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  • 1
    You can lead a developer to text/documentation/help, but you cannot make them read. Jun 18, 2019 at 4:49
  • Is there really a reason to allow users to immediately ask questions after signing up for the website and skipping the tour of the community? I think that a bulk of accounts get created on various SE sites solely to ask question. Many don't tend to go through the on-topic page for the site. Jun 18, 2019 at 9:06
  • @1201ProgramAlarm but that's my point. We should make it where they need to read it before asking questions. Even if they skim through it, they would have the expectations of knowing what to ask. Honestly the tour pages aren't even that long. It's not like we're punishing people for doing this.
    – user333436
    Jun 18, 2019 at 13:50
  • @NimeshNeema And that's a problem. Creating a new account shouldn't be about asking one question and leaving forever.
    – user333436
    Jun 18, 2019 at 13:59
  • @KingDuken I completely agree with you. I was just stating the observed behaviour and not the expected behaviour. Jun 18, 2019 at 14:01
  • I think it would be a better message if it linked not to the tour, but to the Help Center's "Asking" FAQs
    – amWhy
    Jun 18, 2019 at 14:25
  • How are you going to make them read it? The same way sites make you read the terms and conditions before signing up? When's the last time you read one of those? (OK, those do tend to run on for quite a while.) Do you skim them, read part of them, or just scroll to the bottom, check the box, and click "OK"? Jun 18, 2019 at 16:22

1 Answer 1

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Yes this feature exists. It's not the tour, and it's not very good (in my opinion), but it definitely exists. It's called the advice page, and it technically exists on all sites under the URL site.stackexchange.com/questions/ask/advice. However, as far as I know, it's only ever been active on Stack Overflow and Server Fault (although on Stack Overflow I think it was superseded by the Ask a Question Wizard). You can see it by going to ask a question for the first time (or just use incognito) on Server Fault.

It's available by request for any site that wants to enable it.

For people who have any experience with the network, the tour gets old and only the one section is useful. The advice page has a search box, which is nice, but also suffers from having a lot of text that isn't very useful. I think it could be a lot better if it could be edited to focus on what's important: see my FR Can the advice page be customizable on each site?

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  • Also active on Meta Stack Exchange.
    – MEE
    Jun 18, 2019 at 5:16

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