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Over at Worldbuilding we periodically receive new users who (not surprisingly) don't believe they need to take the tour or read the Help Center pages before they use the site. Call it being human... and we suspect other sites face the same problem. It's too common that the result is a 1-2 sentence question that doesn't have anywhere near enough details or is too broad (violates the book rule). And that's assuming it doesn't trip over most of the expectations in the Help Center.

We'd like to ask that new users (say up to rep 500) would be required to fill a minimum number of characters before posting a question. We believe this will contribute to their having to think through why they're being limited ("my question makes perfect sense! What's going on? Oh...").

I'd like to recommend a minimum of 150 characters.

(My thanks to user Surprise Dog for allowing me to ask the question. You can see an example question here.)

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    There is already a quality filter that is designed to catch exactly those types of questions from new users. In my opinion, the proper thing to do is to improve it or refine it for sites. Oct 10, 2023 at 5:31
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    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog I'd be completely happy with that solution, but I know nothing about it and suspect I have zippo influence concerning how it's used. I recognize that it's theoretically possible to ask a good one/two-sentence question that meets standards... but I'd like to see one before I commit to believing. At this time, I must conclude that the quality filter doesn't filter for "obviously too short" posts.
    – JBH
    Oct 10, 2023 at 5:36
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    Many users that don't meet current thresholds copy and paste the same paragraph a few times to defeat the filter. That's not to say we shouldn't have filters, only that if someone is determined to ask a bad question, it's pretty hard to stop them.
    – ggorlen
    Oct 10, 2023 at 15:16
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    Note: there's already a minimum-length requirement that applies to all questions, and a separate one for answers.
    – V2Blast
    Oct 10, 2023 at 17:35
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    @V2Blast Using the linked example as, well, an example... it's too short.
    – JBH
    Oct 11, 2023 at 1:39
  • @ggorlen That's disconcerting, but at least it makes it trivial to realize they're skirting the rules. The limit is so short right now (at least at Worldbuilding) that it's impossible to tell if the user simply doesn't understand the expectations or doesn't want to care (which was the case with the OP of the linked example).
    – JBH
    Oct 11, 2023 at 1:43
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    Adjustments to settings like this is something we'd prefer to do on a per-site basis rather that network wide. Please have this conversation on WB meta and get the mods to add the status-review tag when a request has consensus from the community. Please do try to look into the situation in depth and make a strong argument for why this change is necessary. At this point we don't seem to have a separate character minimum for low rep users so I'd encourage you to see if there's any need to special case them in particular.
    – Catija
    Oct 11, 2023 at 8:15

1 Answer 1

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I understand the importance of this request. However, automating content quality control measures could be problematic, as users may find ways to bypass them. This is because the primary motivation for a particular group is to get their question posted quickly rather than creating a high-quality one.

While automatic measures that block posts from being published might help, the effect might be counterproductive if this is not part of a systemic approach led by the community. Remember that users earn moderation privileges. With them, they get access to the review queues. Also, remember that there are automated tasks that automatically delete abandoned and "low quality" posts.

The platform is not intended to rely solely on automation like the quality filter. It is intended to allow the community to moderate itself with the assistance of automation.

A feature request like this should include statistics about the problem's volume and the community's participation in moderating the site. As V2Blast mentioned, a minimum length is already required. Reviewing several cases to identify how new users bypass the current quality filter would be appropriate.

It's worth mentioning that requests like this were posted over the years. A review of the previous post would be appropriate, too.

The content below includes some related tags and Meta Stack Exchange questions.


Related tags

  • The undisclosed algorithm through which all new questions are passed to determine if they can be posted on a Stack Exchange site.

  • is for questions that address the quality of questions and how it should affect their treatment.

  • For questions about the minimum and/or maximum of the number of characters you can enter into various slots.

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