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Note that all I state/ask in this discussion is referring to the style guide located here.

As more new users have problems with Ubuntu or XUbuntu, and they come to AskUbuntu for help, there are more and more questions that are unreadable or non-understandable. This has been an issue for a while, which is why there is the option for other users to edit the question if they believe that they can improve it, however, sometimes a question is so jumbled and screwy that not even an experienced user can understand what the OP is attempting to ask. For Example something like this:

hi I am new too using linux and i have a problem with my browser. there doesn't seem to be the correct buttons and the browser opens slowly. please help. thanks

Note the above is just an example. Not a real question

These kinds of questions are asked on the hourly, and to attempt to help these people is fruitless at points. What I'm trying to get at here is that questions nowadays have little to no needed guidelines besides a title, one tag, and a few clicks.

Here is my suggestion. Again referring to here, there should be a more guided GUI for asking a question. Not entirely changing it, just adding a few different boxes, to make asking a question easier, and getting an answer faster. Here is what should be on the screen

  • Title stating a brief problem description
  • Flavor & Release Version of (X)Ubuntu
  • IF the problem refers to hardware, a list of hardware (specs) that may help in answering the question.
  • A description of the problem, and how it is affecting the user
  • What the OP has tried to solve the problem (if any,) and why it hasn't worked.
  • Any additional information that the OP thinks may help (for example screenshots, links, etc.)
  • Tags

This structure would help keep questions organized and make the site better and faster. I realize that not everyone is in favor of this but that's why I started this discussion. I would like all of your ideas and opinions on this topic, and what you think would be good to fix this issue.

Have A Great Day, David

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    Imo someone who can ask a good question does not need a forced format, someone who can't (yet?) will screw up, with or without a forced format. What works here is what works in daily live. – Jacob Vlijm Feb 3 '16 at 17:33
  • New users will learn the netiquette of this site and asking questions. I think it is more helpful to give advice in comments . This is always a good link - chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/bugs.html – Panther Feb 3 '16 at 19:49
  • @markkirby as briefly stated in the question, I was thinking a rework of the question GUI, more boxes – David Feb 3 '16 at 20:15
  • @DavidCole Sorry I did see that, my comment was badly worded, my question is more, how would you reinforce it and make sure users stick to the format? – Mark Kirby Feb 3 '16 at 20:36
  • @markkirby I honestly didn't think of that, but then again, what's keeping people from sticking to the format now? Even with 2 spaces, people put the question in the title and give no info. – David Feb 4 '16 at 2:16
  • @DavidCole Right, so if you can't enforce it then we are just in the same boat as we are now, people will do what they want or try to game the system because they are lazy, without enforcement, nothing will change. – Mark Kirby Feb 4 '16 at 8:02
  • @markkirby This brings up another good point. The layout that the SE designers made was designed to help and guide questions to better help people, but if people don't want to follow it, do they really need to be asking questions? – David Feb 4 '16 at 12:18
  • Does who need to be asking questions? The main point of stackexchange is ANYONE can ask a question, you don't even have to sign up, if we restrict asking questions to people who already know how to ask here, this site would go under fast as new user have the most questions for us but also the worst formatting. As you yourself are just starting out, would you still be here based on your first few questions if they just got rejected because you did not know the format? You should remember how hard it can be to start out here but you can learn. – Mark Kirby Feb 4 '16 at 15:56
  • @markkirby Yes I agree but a new form would also give a new sense of order and although learning might take longer it would probably pay off in the long run – David Feb 4 '16 at 15:58
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    As you know the learning curve is very high here already, you should guide users to the correct format, over time, like we did for you. If we make the site harder to use (it is already very different to a forum) we risk alienating all those new users, like I said in the answer, the only things you can make mandatory are there already but perhaps a small things to include in your question box would help to combat this a bit but what we need most is more dedicated users, we seem to have a lot more askers than answers and editors. – Mark Kirby Feb 4 '16 at 16:05
  • @Fabby It's different. What that OP is referring to is an external .bash or a script. I'm talking about a change to the GUI of AskUbuntu – David Feb 4 '16 at 16:08
  • Yes, but AU is a subsidiary of SE, so changing it here will change everything everywhere on all sites, so we have to first start somewhere ourselves, fine-tune it and then propose it on Meta Stack Exchange. Drop by the chat to discuss further... – Fabby Feb 4 '16 at 16:43
  • @Fabby Will do soon as I get outta school. Stack Exchange is blocked as forums lol. – David Feb 4 '16 at 16:46
  • @JacobVlijm Read the damn question, I linked that in the top. – David Feb 14 '16 at 15:06
  • @DavidCole-GrammarPolice Yep, in the process, accidentally linked to the wrong post, the subject is dicussed in a number of ways however before. – Jacob Vlijm Feb 14 '16 at 15:11
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I just noticed, what you are proposing is the same as the question page we have already. Of all the sections you list for the page, only three could be mandatory for every question and they are

  • Title stating a brief problem description
  • A description of the problem, and how it is affecting the user
  • Tags

All the others require you to know or provide something that you may not be able to before hand, yes you do come across users who don't even know what version or flavor they have, so even that may be a problem for some.

So I agree with your proposal, leave the page as it is :P

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