How can we nudge askers to actually maintain their questions, to provide requested information? (Maybe something like a "Remember to work on your question" when they are pressing Post your question ?)

I have an increasing amount of comments requesting more information from an OP - and no reaction at all over weeks - although they seem to be around (according to "seen..." in their profile).

5 Answers 5


If you're looking for a technical fix, the biggest open question to me is whether such an asker can even tell that there are comments to which they should reply when they return. While I'm not a long term user by any means, I like to think I've got the hang of SE, yet I still sometimes fail to notice the tiny red notification dot in the upper left corner next to "Stack Exchange" (a phrase which probably means nothing to many new users).

I think it would be much more helpful if the unread part of the Responses section of the profile showed up front and center on the main page, bumping the question list downwards. This may not solve the entire issue, but I think it would boost the response rate by at least a few percentage points.

If this isn't the problem, and askers are actually ignoring requests for clarification, then I'm as pessimistic as @RolandiXor; isn't the biggest incentive already built in? No replies = no solution to their problem. If they can't boot their system / run their favorite app / unpack their favorite tar.gz from the internet into /bin, and they aren't interested in answering a question or two from people who are trying to help, then no amount of reputation point incentives or extra text on the screen is going to make a difference.

  • 4
    "No replies = no solution" hurts more than the OP. It'll prevent people with similar problems from posting duplicates. The suggested method of getting an answer to a duplicate question that has not gotten enough attention is to add a bount, but there is no sense in adding a bounty on someone else's abandoned question you can't even edit. I'm kinda debating whether to re-ask a question myself now.
    – Nil
    Jul 4, 2013 at 18:08

There is a message that comes up when new users are posting questions that gives them guidelines and tips, but most people just ignore it. Same with the FAQ.

I don't think there is much we could do, because measures such as Captchas will simply infuriate people and turn them off.

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    Yay, a pointless downvote with no suggestion of what I am wrong about :D
    – RolandiXor
    Jun 29, 2013 at 17:35
  • To be sure, it was not from me :-)
    – guntbert
    Jun 29, 2013 at 17:43
  • Cool lol. I think it's funny.
    – RolandiXor
    Jun 29, 2013 at 17:44
  • 1
    I fully agree that captchas are the wrong way.
    – guntbert
    Jun 29, 2013 at 17:57
  • Funny / well designed pictures would work! Capatcha's not needed! Jul 9, 2013 at 13:07

Is there a "close" for this? Like, "Your question is on hold because there are no answers and comments indicate you haven't provided enough information. Update your question with more details to get answers!"

  • 2
    We could rather close them as unclear what you're asking until we get sufficient info to answer them reasonably.
    – jokerdino Mod
    Jul 4, 2013 at 18:48
  • Seems quite a presumptuous idea. Jul 9, 2013 at 13:05

What I have seen is that several askers are having or experiencing the same symptoms but they won't dare to open a new question because it can be quickly closed as someone else have already asked. The problem occurs when the first asker didn't receive an answer, or comments, so 2 or more people will remain waiting for an answer and they won't be able to ask if the previous hasn't been closed yet.

There are also new questions which are pointed to older questions and these older questions does not have an answer!

I think -if possible- that somebody else can co-own the question, or make-it-own by following certain process to claim for the question as own, in order to continue the support as a new recently made question, perhaps improving the question thus making it more interesting to get the proper attention and support.

In my humble opinion, something should change, either the way the questions are monitored to remove those which won't receive enough attention or allowing other people to claim for the question as own in order to go further with the support.

Thank you.

  • Since some time now, you can't close a question as a duplicate if the original question has no (acceptable) answer.
    – jokerdino Mod
    Jul 4, 2013 at 18:47
  • Isn't there a mechanism that - partially - addresses this? Marking a question as "favorite" allows one to follow any developments on the question.
    – hmayag
    Jul 9, 2013 at 22:16
  • A lot of answers are abandoned because of people upvote it, they mark it as favorite but the original asker simply abandon the question because it receives as much downvotes as upvotes and the question is closed too quickly, some of them without the possibility to get -at least- a comment. What I mean is: If I have the same issue, and the question is already closed, to have the possibility to reopen AS MY QUESTION with the support of the previous one, perhaps I can add further details (which may be different to the asker) to the question in order to make it mine thus receiving new attention. Jul 9, 2013 at 22:34
  • @GeppettvsD'Constanzo You are getting a little on the wrong track here - I was not talking about closed questions.
    – guntbert
    Jul 10, 2013 at 15:01
  • Me neither, but one thing heads to the other. There are -indeed- people deleting their own questions because of they won't receive things other than downvotes or the closure of their question. I am talking about "Providing the proper support to the askers". But I don't want to close my eyes to the fact that the askers are facing a hard time when asking, specially if the question seems not to have sense to somebody, is not properly worded or has already been asked. Jul 10, 2013 at 15:36

In danger of stating the obvious, why not send an e-mail notification to the OP that there are new comments on his/her question?

This could even be added to the "Ask Question" form as an opt-in (or opt-out) check box to control the functionality per question, or even implemented per user as an option in the user profile as a "global" preference.

  • The asker receives an inbox notification when he returns, the question is: what if the asker won't return because of we kicked him too fast by closing his question? The majority of the newcomers won't add their emails publicly so other users won't be able to reach them, and they need answers and they need it soon, they are here for support, not to socialize. I am for your point: we shouldn't educate askers but educate ourselves to provide the right support for each case. Thank you. Jul 9, 2013 at 22:38

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