Some users (especially first time users) ask completely rubbish questions, such as https://askubuntu.com/questions/486830/wi-fi-on-ubuntu-14-04-hp-g70-laptop, they say "unfortunately wi-fi is not working any ideas on how to fix this". It is one of the broadest questions I've seen, and it's quite frustrating.

Could we bring in a feature where the default question asking page for new users isn't this - just one big box...:

enter image description here

...but is split up, more like this:

enter image description here

Which gives them more prompts etc. It could be the default for users who have less than 20 rep, to avoid annoyingly uninformative questions. If they got 100 from as an association bonus, then that would be included (i.e. they wouldn't see it), unless one of their questions is flagged, and then they see it, until they had earned 20 (i.e. had 120).

Have added over on SO Meta Can we create a “template question” although has already been marked as a duplicate of Revisiting question templates

  • new users are restricted on uploading images - i prompt them to use imgur.com when they need to. good idea.
    – Wilf
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 23:48
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    nice artwork btw Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 0:59
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    This would seriously help improve the question quality.
    – jobin
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 4:13
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    One other thing, it would be great if it showed whether the correct tags have been selected (definition clearly shown), and it could check whether things such capital letters have been used Appropriately instead of STUPIDLY. Also, after 'what have you done to solve it', it could suggest searching for an answer before posting (even providing a link to a search engine searching the title etc). I can think of more wacky ideas.... :)
    – Wilf
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 6:09
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    @Wilf I would provide a link to the imgur upload. The tags section does already pick up on key words, but that could be improved a lot. CAPS LOCK does annoy me - even though it's just a copy paste change case, it's unnecessary and I do think that they should be blocked. It could automatically apply the sentence case format. The search engine is a good idea, and that would help them to actually do some research!
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 9:06
  • @unorthodoxgrammar thanks :)
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 13:07
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    If new users are skipping the instructive text before they even get to this screen do you really think they're going to follow these instructions? Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 14:58
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    @jorgecastro Well if it gives them easier instructions, then yes. I would much rather have had this when I was starting, I dunno about others. I think if it gives "intelligent" suggestions, it would be helpful. Plus, you would have to enter something into each. Right now, there is not much help text that I've noticed.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 15:21
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    That question should have just been closed as "not clear what you are asking"... Why change the site when you have the right tools to make it work? Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 15:36
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    @BrunoPereira I'm suggesting a feature - "why don't we bring it in?" What do you mean we have the "right tools"? Surely anything that helps us receive better questions is a reasonable suggestion. I think this is a good suggestion.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 15:41
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    I like where you are heading with this, but I'm against this idea just because it only addresses troubleshooting problems. As a first time user, you would most likely run away if your question wasn't a troubleshooting problem.
    – Dan
    Commented Jun 24, 2014 at 18:17
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    Since not all questions are about troubleshooting perhaps the template could be evolved to a "wizard" that displays an appropriate form for each type of question.
    – hmayag
    Commented Jun 24, 2014 at 22:14
  • And after that we just forget about the site and create a program that solves all the user issues with unicorn power! /end sarcasm Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 5:09
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    This is not the first idea along these lines. But I don't the current status of Oli's question wizard. meta.askubuntu.com/questions/7198/alpha-testing-a-wizard
    – Dan
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 15:06

4 Answers 4



I understand your point about how users think of this as a forum, but there are efforts being made. It isn't that big of a deal to click "close" and type two sentences as a comment (if there is none already). Heck, you can even have a list of possible comments to add.

Also, what if I had the question Difference between gksudo and sudo, why would you ask for a screenshot? IIRC there's some guide that pops up for new users that's how to ask, but I can't seem to replicate that (duh!).

Just for emphasis, I wrote this (probably a duplicate):

What's the difference between gksudo and sudo?

Problem in detail:

I noticed sometimes you use gksudo for root privileges and you can also use sudo. Is there any difference?

Tried solving by:

I don't know, asking you?

When did it start? Did you install anything?

Uhh... since the beginning of Ubuntu? I installed Ubuntu and Chrome... :/

Could you provide a screenshot or a link to an image?


That probably is something close to what might actually happen. Other users might get discouraged and go to Ubuntu forums (yuck!). Not to mention, linking images is a bad idea if the linked site goes down.

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    Well if we redirect to imgur.com then all of SO's images are removed as that's who is currently used. But I do get how it would cause that sort of thing, we would have to make it so they tick "Is this a problem, or just a question?", then it redirects.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 24, 2014 at 7:23

I am new (to Linux, Ubuntu, and this site), and I think this is a fantastic idea. I feel like I don't know enough about some things to give enough detail in my questions. This would help guide all of us n00bs. :)


I absolutely think that this could work. The form-like suggestive questions may help give clueless posters an idea of what to put in their questions. Using seperate boxes for each question might help the OP write without adding in extra mush. It's like filling out paperwork.

I would suggest perhaps in addition that a box be added to the side, that give suggestions for additional information based on keywords you've typed, or what you've tagged the posting as. For example if the OP types "Windows won't boot" for the first question box, then the suggestion-box might read "It may be helpful to mention what version of Windows you are running." That's a bad example since it's about Windows, but I've got Windows on the brain right now. Not all questions would trigger a suggestion, just some basic common ones.

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    Yeah, that would be good. There could be some basic suggestions, and it should detect if they have already entered the details (i.e. detect 14.04 has been entered). It could even have a tick box of different versions. 2000+ rep people could add phrases to detect to it.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 9:10
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    I think this is a Great Idea that would drastically improve the quality of questions received as well as reduce the drive-by spam garbage that seems to pour in. It's too much trouble to fill in all the "paperwork" unless you truly have a problem and truly need help.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 18:45

The problem is that you are focusing in the the troubleshooting part of the site, and not all the questions are about troubleshooting (and I really hope they ever will).

What people needs more is to use the downvotes/flags/votes to close with questions that are not up to the quality standards. This is what it should be done. The askers at some point of time will ask better questions.

BTW, including a screenshot of something that appears in the terminal output/log is ridiculous (which is most of the troubleshooting questions we see here). For that there's copy-n-paste

  • Perhaps there could be a notification for low-rep users about why their question could of been downvoted, and how they could improve it?
    – Wilf
    Commented Jun 24, 2014 at 22:00
  • @Wilf I think that's our responsibility.....
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 17:36
  • As the popularity of Ubuntu continues to grow, driving the untrained ex windows users to our site, I doubt that the quality of questions asked will improve just because we know they should or wish they would. I'm not a pessimist, nor an optimist, I'm a realist. Anonymous Penguins viewpoint I think underscores why this is a good idea. Questions that can be answered in under 2 minutes with a google search will soon disappear if it takes more than 2 minutes to ask a question here. IMHO
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 17:45
  • @ElderGeek at very least the people asking those questions will be stopped with the quality bans.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 18:30
  • True. It's a shame that there is an unending supply of them with more born every year. Sorry, I'm a realist, not an optimist or a pessimist.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 23:38
  • @ElderGeek I'm being realistic, if people understands that they should ask better questions; like in UL, where users are not afraid of closing/downvoting a bad question, ever; and that users won't babysit you, they either, stop asking questions and go somewhere else or start asking better ones. That's the realist way to go. If you select to do nothing you are not being realist but lazy.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 19:32
  • @Briam I agree that choosing to do nothing is lazy. I just don't happen to agree that trying to make askubuntu into UL is the right way to go for the reasons I specified in my comment beginning "As the popularity of Ubuntu continues to grow". Why are you so against this idea? Is it because you want askubuntu to be another UL? In my opinion that would be an epic mistake.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 12:00
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    @ElderGeek rising the quality of the site is never a mistake. We need to rise the quality, otherwise more answerers will just go away and the site will die.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 12:07

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