I'm fairly new to Ask Ubuntu, but I'm noticing a lot of low quality questions, along the lines of: "wifi doesnt work" & "ubuntu overheating" which are very similar to other questions (duplicates) and/or don't show any research into the issue - notice the bad formatting as well:

I don't mind if a question is very similar to another question, if the user shows they've done their research and if they include some helpful outputs.

I think that questions like these get removed much faster on SuperUser for example, but here on Ask Ubuntu it seems like there's a lot of people wanting to answer every such question - presumably to get more reputation. Sometimes, there are comments asking for specific outputs, which to me feels is more like spoonfeeding than actual helping.

What do others think? Should questions like these be tolerated? Should we be more strict?

  • 1
    If you think the questions are duplicates, flag them. If you think they are low quality, vote them down. I think people here are already quite strict about closures but there are far more people asking than answering, so they can slip through the cracks. I don't know that super user is any better at closing questions than here but I could very likely find examples there that slipped through too, it is not a perfect system.
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 17:32

2 Answers 2


I have no objections at all to people coming here to get help fixing their problem as soon as possible.

I do not think we should expect visitors to

  • have any prior knowledge about using Ubuntu - they might be installing for the first time and we support that (effective research is really hard when you know nothing about the subject)
  • have a desire to become a Linux expert - Ubuntu has always, to my knowledge, aimed to be an accessible, easy-to-use operating system
  • have a desire to become a great contributor to Ask Ubuntu - they probably only found out it existed today when they were trying to solve their annoying problem

That's pretty much why the community has all these tools to fix and deal appropriately with posts: because we can't reasonably expect visitors to care much about our site and its long-term helpfulness, but we do care about it.

Poor formatting? Vague or misleading title? Excessive meta commentary? (Suggest an) edit.

Question lacks info? Comment and request it.*

It's a dupe? Vote or flag to close.*

Low quality? Downvote.

Don't feel like doing anything? No problem at all! Move on to the next question (or whatever else you feel like doing, on the site or not) and let others deal with it :)

* One reason we have so many questions about wifi not working, for example, is that there is no generic solution to this widespread problem. Hardware details are usually essential for answering such questions, and until it is provided (from those specific command outputs requested in the comments), the question is unclear and should be closed as such.

  • 1
    Great points. I do edit posts when I feel like it, but higher-quality posts always motivate me more to do so than low-quality posts. I suppose I'll start using flags a bit more - not excessively of course :)
    – GChuf
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 19:03
  • That's a good point @hextech - high quality posts may get more views and attention, so improving them may sometimes make a bigger difference (considering the benefit to be spread across all the viewers) :)
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 19:19

Here is my opinion which has been shaped from Oli's answer to another question:

There are some processes that are pretty daunting to new users. Boot errors, graphics driver foul ups, random crashes. You can throw them at a 10,000 word generic answer ... but they're left having to follow it. It's not always possible for every level of user.

I'm sure ninety-something percent of questions that might fall into this area probably could have improvements on their existing answers, but sometimes it's easier to help that one person with their specific issue. Get their lsusb, their fdisk -l and apply an existing answer to their situation.

But it's still a duplicate. Closing it against a canonical answer —if it fits— is still the right thing to do too.

At the end, If you think that something is duplicate, then flag it. It's up to community to decide what happens to the question. Almost all the times If I think a question is duplicate and the duplicate already has a good answer and the user doesn't need any kind of specific guidance, I vote to close.

  • Thanks for the answer. It's nice to hear mods' opinions, and I'm asking this question because Ask Ubuntu generally feels a bit different to me than Super User for example.
    – GChuf
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 19:09

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