Is anyone else seeing an over use of My computer boots to a black screen, what options do I have to fix it??

Half of the close reviews I see are close, duplicate of that question. That normally wouldn't be so bad, except at least half of those are only loosely related to the "parent" question.

I wonder how many people were scaring off cause there computer is in a state that won't boot, and they come on here to ask for help and people just close their question with a link to My computer boots to a black screen, what options do I have to fix it?

Some are legit duplicates, some are border line, but a few are just people not reading the question.

So rant aside, are people also seeing the same thing, an over use of "My computer boots to a black screen, what options do I have to fix it?"

black screen on boot (DVI) - Radeon 9550/9600/X1050 Series - Lubuntu 13.04 - Not the best posited question, but clearly not a common driver issue. It's a monitor or other issue. The key is after pressing reset it all works. A better course would have been to help the asker clarify the question and get the info we need.

Ubuntu 13.04 boots up with blank screen after update from 12.10 - This might be a legit duplicate, but the linked question isn't helping the asker. It was already closed by the time I saw it. It was in the re-open queue, I advised to open a new question as I thought it would be his best bet. That said a user read the linked question, got nowhere, and updated his question. But the point is. This user is left with no answer, and the perception that,as a community we don't care. I know questions aren't "for one person" but askubuntu isn't a wiki either it's something in between.

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    Can you add some crosslinked questions to make your point more clear? If anything I think we should be linking to that question way more often. Commented May 21, 2013 at 0:31
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    I think a lot of these would otherwise be closed as not a real question, though you do have a point here.
    – Seth
    Commented May 21, 2013 at 1:48
  • I will add links as I find them. Like I said a lot are legit duplicates, so it is hard to remember good examples off the top of my head.
    – coteyr
    Commented May 21, 2013 at 11:43
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    I hope the examples help, it's hard not to be concise with a complex issues, as the problem I see is more of a "snobification" of the answers/actions. We see a lot of "it no worky" questions and 80% of the time the link to the duplicate is the right answer, It just seems that if you have a question, legit or not, that has anything to do with a screen or the colors black/purple, then your on the wrong site.
    – coteyr
    Commented May 21, 2013 at 12:01

2 Answers 2


It's true that sometimes questions are incorrectly closed as duplicates of the canonical black screen question.

However, as far as I have seen, most such closures are correct. More by percentage, I think, than closures on Ask Ubuntu generally. Futhermore, as I argue/explain below, many of these closures are correct even in situations where closed questions are correctly reopened afterwards.

That master question currently has 24 answers. A question about a black screen on boot--unless it contains enough information for us to know that question and its answers don't apply and for us to know why they don't--should be (and usually is) closed as a duplicate.

If someone has not seen that question, closing their question as a duplicate refers them to it. If they have seen it and it doesn't help (or they go to it from the "possible duplicate" link and it doesn't help), then we still cannot do any better for them unless they explain, in detail, exactly what solutions they tried and exactly what happened.

A black screen on boot question that doesn't exclude the possibility of the canonical question helping should be closed as a duplicate. Once it is edited to exhaustively address all solutions there that could plausibly apply given the parameters of their situation, it can and should be reopened. If we are failing to reopen questions under these circumstances, that would be bad. But I think that, since the reopen queue was introduced, we have not had that problem.

A black screen on boot question that explicitly states the canonical question didn't help but doesn't say why is also not different from the canonical question in a way that would make it posssible for people to post new, specific answers. Until such a question is edited to include an explanation of everything the OP tried and what happened, it, too, should be closed (either as a duplicate, or as "unclear" or "too broad.")

With that said, I sort of agree with the spirit of this meta question. Because, if a lot of people are saying the canonical question doesn't help, then we need to make sure that we are:

  1. actively asking them to tell us what they tried and what happened (preferably in a timely manner), so that if they provide that information then we can move things forward, and

  2. improving the answers to the canonical question (as hbdgaf said) and/or adding new answers to cover other common causes/solutions.

When it comes to improving the canonical question, there are two main areas I think might apply:

  1. We need to make sure there are answers for the most common causes of the problem. This may already be the case. Perhaps some analysis (using the data explorer) could help shed light on whether or not most black screen problems are effectively addressed by the canonical question.

  2. It should be reasonably easy for people to find answers that are applicable to their situation. Only 3 of the 24 answers there are pointed to by the mini table of contents in the question. Maybe the mini-ToC should be moderately expanded.


If closing in that direction is insufficient to satisfy the needs (and the woes are at least half relevant), we should improve the answer not stop duping to the question.

Just my 2 cents.

I would add that displaylink should be forked off and we should have a canonical getting displaylink working q/a pair.

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    Wait, you can even get DisplayLink working? :) Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 16:26

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