Some questions asked are difficult to answer because they require several steps to troubleshoot. What I mean by this is that in order to help the asker, we need to ask them several questions. It seems to me that these sort of questions belong on the forums and IRC. Should we comment advising them to use these? What other steps should we take to improve the experience for askers and answerers?
Often (on other SE sites) it works pretty well like this:
- If essential info is clearly missing, point it out in a comment to the question.
- If you think you might offer some help already, but still need to ask further questions, write an answer including those questions.
- Once OP has edited their question, or has posted more details in comments to answers, you can (hopefully) revise your answer to be more helpful.
Any of those steps may need to be repeated.
This software indeed isn't optimal for troubleshooting, but quite often it works satisfactorily.
Suggestion: Use the ability to create chats for questions for this:
Turn the question into a chat. Use that chat to troubleshoot the problem. Then post the result as an answer to the question (possibly along with a link to the chatlog).
For this to be feasible, we'd need two features, I think:
- An actual button to create a chat from a question, so people don't have to edit the URL by hand (I assume that's coming)
- The poster of a question should automatically be notified if something is posted in the question's chat (don't know whether that's already the case or not).