https://stackoverflow.com/questions/how-to-ask exists, but it doesn't contain much in the way of specific advice, and many users don't seem to notice it.

The concrete consequence of this is that there are a lot of poor questions by new users.

Maybe this is deliberate, so you can bring down the close hammer on abusive or lazy users. But if not...

What I would like to see is some specific advice like this, all in one easy-to-find place (or maybe put the most important bits on the Ask a Question page itself, and then link to a more detailed page):

  • Search before asking.
  • RTFM before asking, if there is any documentation available to you. If you don't understand the documentation, that's fine, but at least show us you've tried to understand it.
  • Think before asking.
  • Don't use something extremely vague like "How to program this in Java?" as a question title, which gives us absolutely no clue what the question is about
  • If posting homework, use the "homework" tag and show some attempt to solve the problem - don't just post the question and expect us to do all the work.
  • Whether or not it's homework, tell us in detail what you've tried, what worked (if anything), what didn't, and exactly what you know and understand about what went wrong / what you need to do next. If you're new to the site, chances are you will underestimate how much detail is appropriate.
  • Tag your question with the programming language(s) you're using / want to use. (If you use a tag which logically implies a specific programming language, you don't have to tag it with that language as well, but it may help your question to be seen by more people.)
  • If you're using assembly language, don't just tag it with "assembly". Say which processor (and, if relevant, which assembler) you are using.
  • If you have an overall goal G and you have chosen to meet that goal by following some strategy or approach S, don't just talk about S - say what G is - there might be a better strategy or approach for tackling it.
  • If you have a stack trace / backtrace, include it
  • If you include a stack trace / backtrace, include at least some relevant code, and number the lines so we can see which line is which [we should include instructions for doing this in common editors, plus fallback instructions for users using text editors which don't support line numbering]
  • If you can't quote large chunks of code or even stack traces due to proprietary code / confidentiality concerns, consider whether it might be appropriate to post a small or redacted snippet - or as a last resort, pseudocode.
  • Programming questions only!

closed as off-topic by Glorfindel, Nathan Tuggy, PolyGeo, rene, Robert Longson Aug 10 '17 at 10:26

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question pertains only to a specific site in the Stack Exchange Network. Questions on Meta Stack Exchange should pertain to our network or software that drives it as a whole, within the guidelines defined in the help center. You should ask this question on the meta site where your concern originated." – Glorfindel, Nathan Tuggy, PolyGeo, rene, Robert Longson
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 7
    Those users who post bad content usually don't read anything, including this list. Still, it's a good compilation – Pëkka Apr 23 '11 at 9:16
  • 1
    You have just re-stated the page you linked to, in different form (definitely longer; "better" is in the eye of the beholder). How will it work differently from the current version? – Piskvor Apr 23 '11 at 13:13
  • "If you're using assembly language," How about keeping the advice pertinent? – Won't Apr 25 '11 at 11:25

Remember that


… is mandatory on Stack Overflow for every new user.

Try it yourself; go into Chrome Incognito mode then click "Ask Question" and see what happens. You cannot ask a question without seeing this page and clicking through it.

Therefore we know that every new user, by definition, has been shown this page.

So we have users who don't read the advice they were shown. And our solution is to .. present them with even more text to read?

I'm just going to go around yelling "stop sucking!" at my monitor instead. It'll be just as effective.

  • 3
    Slightly related: why on SO only? The "It doesn't work, HELP, URGENT" questions on other sites might benefit too? – Arjan Apr 23 '11 at 11:33

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