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A lot of questions are posted in which there is a bare minimum of information and someone almost always comments and says to add details such as Android device, Android version, etc. This fine but it would be better if these details were present in the first place.

Is there some way in which we could make it clear to users that they should add these details if required when they ask a question?

The How To Ask guide in the Help Center says:

Be specific

If you ask a vague question, you’ll get a vague answer. But if you give us details and context, we can provide a useful answer.

Which is true but perhaps it could specify which details users could include. I understand that there isn't a single list of details that suit every question, which is why the detail list could include suggestions or examples. Many questions would benefit from these general details and too much detail is never a bad thing.

Of course, we can never guarantee that users will actually read the Help Center pages (see this question) so maybe a different approach to this issue would be better.

3

Be specific

If you ask a vague question, you’ll get a vague answer. But if you give us details and context, we can provide a useful answer.

I find this not precise. What details are we expecting from them? At least we should give them a hint as an example, either on same page or with links pointing to high quality questions or templates demonstrating what kind of minimum or recommended amount of information a question should have. There are users (like me) who doesn't pick up easily or do not understand what to pick up if you don't give them examples or even hints. That guideline lacks that crucial info.

Following are the solutions scattered across this site or on other sites that I picked up:

Solution #1 - A mandatory read

Unlike other sites, for first time users, this is what Stack Overflow shows to them (a mandatory read):

enter image description here

I don't think it would help us at all, given that Stack Overflow itself is far from solving the problem of unclear and low-quality question even after having this solution for years.

Supplementary readings:

Forget about readings, we have this approach discussed here: When asking a question, enforce user to read the FAQ first, and the most upvoted answer (from a moderator) notes:

It won't work.

Like we all do with EULAs, they'll tick the box without reading and keep going. If there's any fanciness like a timer or making sure they scroll the page, they'll just cheat it and still not read it.

(Emphasis mine)

It is interesting to note that the author of that answer was in favor of that solution when it was implemented long time ago on Stack Overflow. :D

I personally too do not find this approach much useful for the same reason.

Solution #2 - A template as a placeholder

The recently asked question Adding a template question to the Ask Question box seeks input on that regard. It has not received any counter argument as an answer, but neither a helpful answer that sketches out what needs to be there in a template.

I find this approaching appealing simply because I couldn't find a way to confirm that it has no merit or less merit relative to other approaches. At first read, it appears to be useful since it can at least acknowledge the poster the need to mention Android version, Device name, rooting status, among other things we need to sketch out.

Note that it is not fine for us to seek such crucial details since posting a comment for such clarification is quite a waste of our time. Don't you agree? But since the given circumstances doesn't give any excuse to us, we're left with one option: to invest/waste our time on something which should've been there at first place.

Like every other approach, there is no guarantee that it would work or significantly bring down the amount of time we end up wasting on such questions, but our aim should always be to do the best we can to solve the problem. We may not be able to eliminate it but we shouldn't just live with it either, unless all feasible solutions are considered.

Solution #3 - Traditional popup meant for answers

Forget it please! It has not stopped the wrath of NAA we receive, so better not be considered for implementation IMO.


Note:

  • If you've solutions in mind, you may add them here (this is a community wiki) or as a new answer. You're permitted to shuffle the order of solutions if you intend to favor your solution in this post.
  • If you strongly favor a solution available in this post and not in other answers, feel free to post a new answer with that info to show that the particular solution be implemented. That is needed because I didn't bother to write multiple posts and a clear consensus cannot be reached from this post using votes.

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