I can understand that its a community as we need to bear with the OPs and support them guiding with the information/solutions, etc. Nevertheless, I'm really fed-up commenting on posts each time requesting detailed information. It sometimes makes me not want to answer or even look at the question anymore. I know there are plenty of questions posted everyday without much supporting information, but if the community could come up with some sort of solution to overcome this issue, that would be great.

A few examples:

I'm not complaining about the OP as they can be very new to Ubuntu, they may not know what to do after all. What I'm asking is for is can we come up with some sort of solution like a pop-up or something when they make their first 5 posts to adhere to few points?Similar to related questions appearing when a new question is beeing processed.

| |
  • 2
    Most of the times they are either duplicates and I flag/vote as such. Or, if it is really unclear where one cannot reasonably expect an answer without further information I flag/vote as "unclear". When I vote as "unclear" I always try to leave a comment as to what is unclear about the question and what he/she should do when the OP shows atleast some amount of research effort. If I believe OP hasn't even googled for his problems I often close without even leaving a comment. We can expect some amount of research effort on OP's part even though we are Ask Ubuntu. – Aditya May 13 '14 at 20:45
  • 2
    Related: meta.askubuntu.com/questions/7224/… bottom line, downvote and vote to close. – Braiam May 13 '14 at 22:29
  • @Aditya remember that the duplicated are to help future visitors to find the question. Loosy duplicates are unuseful at best and harmful at worse. If you cannot give a reasonable answer and say "this is the answer" please, vote as unclear. I'm tired of voting to delete these duplicates. – Braiam May 26 '14 at 12:59
  • @Braiam I hope you remember the discussion once you had with EliahKagan (probably in chat) - where Eliah said that he prefers to close as duplicate if there are even slight indications that it is a duplicate (rather than closing it as unclear/other reasons).. I kind-of agree with his views and follow a similar approach while closing. Deleting the questions is another topic, I don't think mixing things would help the cause. – Aditya May 26 '14 at 19:45
  • @Aditya that won't help anybody, really. It creates a moderating overhead on 10kers and the close queue. More than 80% of the questions in the close queue are supposedly "exact duplicates" which I really doubt it. "Having dozens and dozens of variations of the same question is clearly bad." (source) Too much duplication even if you think is helpful at the end will be harmful. Try searching: halp me pls site:askubuntu.com so you know what I'm talking about. (the result should be 0) – Braiam May 26 '14 at 20:00
  • @Braiam I never opposed deletion... You were saying "don't mark as duplicate cause I want to delete them", and hence my remark about not mixing the two... – Aditya May 26 '14 at 20:58

Educating the user is part of the battle.

It's been my experience that people seldom know how to frame their questions effectively (If they could, they would usually find their answers on google.com).

Extracting enough information from them to answer the question and solve the problem is part of the process.

I suppose we could make it easier with semi-auto comment feature, (similar to flagging) where we could request commonly requested info with a minimum of typing. Things like the output of lshw, lsusb, and the list of common logs.. (or something different - I.E. Type your own).

I'm not sure whether in practice this would be as good as it looks on paper.. If you have to type a comment you might be annoyed by the popup. It could save a lot of time though, by offering common suggestions on a quick pick list

| |
  • Actually extracting information is not part of the process. SE assumes, and actually asks you, to include all relevant information to your question from day 0. – Braiam May 17 '14 at 21:02
  • If only reality were so predictable. – Elder Geek May 17 '14 at 21:38
  • There is the AuroReviewComments userscript which may be similar to what you're lookign for. – kiri May 23 '14 at 7:56
  • @minerz029 Thank you! This is very likely exactly what I'm looking for! – Elder Geek May 23 '14 at 18:40
  • I'll mark this as it make sense at least looking at your answer. Will see how far it goes.. Guess we have to live with it... :/ – AzkerM May 26 '14 at 10:09

I agree the majority of the questions lacks essential information. However, if you don't feel the beat, a metronome doesn't work. In other words: A format for collecting appropriate information is only useful to improve or standardize a quality you already have, which is not the case mostly in the questions you are referring to.

You would probably have more useless information to read, because most inexperienced people simply don't know what is essential information to their question, format or not. Nor do they even understand that their question is a duplicate if they see a similar question.

At the same time, for people who do know how to ask a question, a general (forcing) format would be a silly and bureaucratic thing that never fits, since a question could be anything; asking for general insight, a solution for a general problem that occurs or very case specific.

I guess simply asking for appropriate additional information, if possible, is what we need to (try to) do. If it turns out the poster seems not to be interested enough in his own post to improve it or add information on request (which is worse than an initially low quality in my opinion) the post should be removed I would say.

| |
  • 1
    You need to remember that the SE model ask you to do your homework before asking a question. – Braiam May 13 '14 at 22:30
  • 1
    @Braiam, I think the site is pretty clear on that already. and those are the impulses people should get to ask a more answerable questions. A format would not add much to that in my opinion. I don't want to bring up another issue, but to me, worse than a weakly presented question is the non-interest many people seem to have to their own question, not even answering a request for appropriate information. Those are the questions that cannot and will not be improved. – Jacob Vlijm May 14 '14 at 5:38
  • 1
    True that! This is something that we cannot teach but show them the guidance. Meantime, we should not make them irritate too at the first time they post a question. May be a simple pop-up at the first time like; "Posting a proper question to get more attention" with some quality points... I don't know, Its just an opinion though. – AzkerM May 14 '14 at 5:43
  • 3
    @AzkerM that is already implemented. You have the "How to ask" link shown when you ask your first few questions. – terdon May 14 '14 at 12:37
  • 1
    @terdon - Yep! It's the same How to ask which appears as I remember. But by the look of these questions, it should be fed to them I see.. :( Thank you for the reminder. :) – AzkerM May 15 '14 at 11:46

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .