First off, I know that having a rush of questions for a late-development release is nothing new. It's just that I'm somewhat new and only just noticing this.

Recently, I've seen a lot of 16.04 questions. Our Help Center explains questions on development releases are off-topic, but no one reads the Help Center, especially not new users whose questions could be easily answered with 5 minutes of research.

I am wondering if anyone else thinks it would be a good idea to have some sort of banner, maybe somewhere near the top of the page, that appears somewhere within a month before the release of a new version of Ubuntu. This banner could appear to new users (less than 6 months maybe) that development releases are off-topic on Ask Ubuntu.

It certainly wouldn't stop all of the questions, but I'm sure many of them would go away. What does everyone think of a warning banner to new users? Maybe even a popup?

  • 9
    technically not all 16.04 questions are off-topic meta.askubuntu.com/questions/871/…. I think we should edit our off-topic reasons to clearly allow the ubuntu+1 questions we can answer, and clearly disallow those we can't. It rarely falls between a few numbers, even if the current policy would make you think it does.
    – Seth
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 2:49
  • 4
    The policy of closing questions on Ubuntu +1 (16.04 in this case) is less strict the closer to the release and "it depends" on if it is a support question or a bug. Support questions are better tolerated.
    – Panther
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 2:49
  • It couldn't really be a popup because most browsers automatically block popups and so do most privacy and security add-ons automatically so many people wouldn't see the popups even if you had them.
    – user364819
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 21:06
  • @Seth Well it wouldn't have to be static, saying all are off topic. It could be a reminder to read the Meta article about development releases. Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 21:07
  • @bodhi.zazen The banner could refer to the Meta post, as a reminder. Then it wouldn't have to be completely against all development questions. Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 21:08
  • @ParanoidPanda "popup" as in "modal". Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 21:09
  • There could be a red warning speech bubble when someone tries to add a 16.04 tag to their question, like for the deprecated "installation" tag.
    – Byte Commander Mod
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 9:46
  • @ByteCommander if that tag has that warning, it doesn't work. There's a new question with it every day. Something more obvious might work better. Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 10:04
  • Stack Exchanges and pop ups do not belong together.
    – Goose
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 20:41

2 Answers 2


Many questions (even though tagged with a version number) are not version specific and should be answered if possible.

I don't think the idea of a banner (or better yet a support schedule) is a bad one. However expecting people to both read and comprehend may be a stretch so I'm not convinced it's a solution to this problem.

I do however like the tag warnings as discussed here and have in the past edited tags on EOL releases to indicate that fact.

  • What about something bright red, with bold title text? Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 16:52
  • 1
    Something like this (also this)? It should be do able for 16.04, 16.10 etc
    – Wilf
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 15:56

If you can remove all references to the version and still have an answerable question, that doesn't describe a buggy behavior, just edit them. Remove the tags and version from the question and allow the answers to sort themself out.

  • I probably should have made the question itself more clear. Maybe some sort of banner or modal that warns questions on development releases may be off-topic, with a ink to a Meta post or something with more details. Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 1:42
  • A countdown, perhaps with a link as mentioned, might be an alternative with a more positive tone than an simpler "(almost) off topic" warning.
    – carnendil
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 13:47

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