About ten months ago, we got a new ask question page. This adds a few features:

  • A custom modal that appears when a user asks their first question:


  • Custom warnings in the "review" pane of the ask question page:


  • Custom warnings for tags


It's pretty often that we get simple help questions, or questions without objective winning criteria, or questions with unnecessarily restrictive I/O.

Although some users will ignore the modal, it's much more "in your face" than the sidebar. If that doesn't work, we could have regex-based warnings that trigger:

  • If a post has no winning criteria tags, or multiple
  • If a post contains certain patterns that could indicate it's not intended to be a code golf or coding challenge
  • If a post contains certain patterns that could indicate it includes I/O restrictions, banned languages, etc., a warning could be displayed in the sidebar (and the user is free to ignore that if it's a false positive)

This process requires staff to make the edits, so a post on the main meta would be required. If the general consensus here is that we should do this, I'll make a second post where we can decide on the specific changes.

Should we put in a request to change any of these things?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I am marking this as status-planned because this is something we can work on and I will be drafting a formal request to mark status-review soon. \$\endgroup\$
    – hyper-neutrino Mod
    Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 14:01

1 Answer 1


Yes, we should

I see no harm in clarifying our "how to ask" help system, and if doing so leads to fewer off-topic or low quality questions, I 100% support this. It looks like, by my reckoning, that not many significant changes would need to be made; most of the problems are simply in the wordings of various points, which could be changed to text of our drafting.

Custom modal

The text for the modal reads:

Asking a good question

You’re ready to ask your first question and the community is here to help! To get you the best answers, we’ve provided some guidance:

Before you post, search the site to make sure your question hasn’t been answered.

  1. Summarize the problem
  2. Provide details and any research
  3. When appropriate, describe what you’ve tried

You’ll find more tips in the sidebar.

We're not a Q&A site, so these 3 bullet points don't really apply here in the same way they do to most SE sites. I won't go through all 3 points, but generally, the wording isn't bad, but it could do with improving to be more relevant to the site (especially point 3).

Custom review warnings

From my testing with a sockpuppet, it appears that we don't have any custom review warnings. Instead it simply shows this:

enter image description here

I think reiterating Step 1 would be a good warning to have here (e.g. make sure you include an objective winning criterion, make sure that all relevant information is written in the challenge itself rather than an external link, take a look at our input and output defaults and at our FAQ etc.) but again, whatever text we draft if we decide to update it would be used.

Custom tag warnings

I've often said that I wish winning criteria tags were required, but failing that, having a warning pop up if none of the tags match a specific list would work.

I don't think it'd be necessary to list every winning criterion we have. Instead, limit the tags looked for to the most popular (, , , etc.) and simply have the warning read something like

Double check that you've included a winning criterion in the tags. Questions or challenges without an objective winning criterion will be closed.

As winning criteria tags often include the "this is how to score with this tag" in the tag excerpt (and so can be easily read before adding them to your challenge), I don't think we'd need any "review boxes" to explain how/why to use criteria tags.


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