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I found this site after I spent some time on tex.stackexchange. Don't take this as me getting on my high horses but compared to the questions on tex.stackexchange the questions on this site has much worse quality. Often they are short and unspecific and it also happens that people haven't even tried do some basic searching before asking. I don't want new or inexperienced to be chased off but for communication to be improved and, more specifically, for questions to be possible to answer. I know that it's not fair to compare the sites in all aspects because TeX is a subject where the interested people are more used to communicate technical problems, but I wonder

  1. What is done to get quality questions on this site?
  2. What can be done by those who wants to help?

For example if think the text How to Ask is really good. Can we make it so that more people take note of its contents and practice it?

  • 3
    The majority of the new users with poor quality questions skip that screen (there is already an acknowledgement page that new users see with that text). – Marco Ceppi Jun 21 '11 at 21:23
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    And there is an automated system to detect people who post short things. These posts are flagged up for moderators. – Oli Jun 21 '11 at 22:03
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    I think it is a completely unfair comparison, like comparing a PhD student to a high school student.. – Jeff Atwood Jun 22 '11 at 5:50
  • @Jeff Atwood I admitted of the comparison not being fair. – N.N. Jun 22 '11 at 7:23
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Just to defend the quality issue, we deal in a lot more grey areas and a lot of problem solving here is an iterative process where we have to tease the right information out of the askers.

The questions here are very organic. People have problems and they come here as a choice between IRC, UbuntuForums.org and several other online support forums. Of course they don't post perfect questions every time but through commenting, we try to increase the quality of the questions.

Of course there are non-organic questions too (things people post because they think they'll be a good question) and we welcome those too.

But if you see any post on the site that you think to be of poor quality, do something about it. Things don't fix themselves.

  • If it's almost there and has a few formatting or language issues, just improve on it.
  • If it's missing information that might be essential to getting a precise answer, leave the user a comment. You might have to explain how they get the right data (eg lspci, lsusb, lshw, etc) and you might need to trim the output once they post it, but most people respond well to this.
  • If you can divine extra information from their question (eg a user says they have wireless problems on a Dell Computersaurus 901b; and you find that the Computersaurus 901b only ever has a Ralink rt2570 wifi chipset) edit the question and add that information.
  • If you think it's just a bad question (however it could be phrased), vote against it and flag it up. Your moderators will be along shortly to deal with it, if they agree.

At all of these points, you're free to leave comments for people. We ask you be polite, but I would certainly welcome people pointing out how I could improve my posts here.

  • 2
    Good post. Indeed, I found the best way to improve questions is to comment on them asking for more information. – N.N. Jun 22 '11 at 7:26
  • My original answer was (for some reason, unknown to me) aimed at getting better answers, not questions. I've altered the second half so it's a little more specific to questions. – Oli Jun 22 '11 at 10:10

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