We get a lot of questions. Many of these are asked with too few details. When this happens, we have to ask the user explicitly to edit the question later.

This comes up often, so I am seeking to try to improve this situation for new users. I feel we could gain a lot from even some small changes.

I believe part of what causes this problem is that the hints for how to write a good story-identification question are not too visible. Hints are buried in the tag wiki, which most users don't notice much.

I propose to improve the Help Center to educate users more easily.

  • Edit the help center topic What topics can I ask about here? so that "Story identification" links to the tag wiki rather than the tag search page. Update: Richard has done this.
  • Possibly edit that page so it includes a few words of advice about story-identification questions right in there. I know that it does not seem very on-topic for what the question asks, but still, this is among the most visible pages of the help center. If you're concerned, try to disguise the advice as rules for what types of story-id questions are on topic.
  • If How do I ask a good question? is admin-editable (Update: it isn't), edit it to include specific hints for story-identification questions. This is the relevant help page to include information. It is also somewhat visible because it is linked from the "How to edit" tips when asking a question.
  • If that latter page is not admin-editable, try to ask on Meta Stack Exchange to make it editable.
  • Ask on Meta Stack Exchange to link that question from the main Help Center page, instead of less important questions like "Why is the system asking me to wait a day or more before asking another question?" and "Why have I been limited to one question per week?". (If the system is asking someone to wait, the message would probably link them right to that help center page.) (Update: I asked. The question got deleted due to a downvote and no answer.)

Do you have any other ideas on how to make new users learn about these hints more easily?

  • 3
    FWIW, I don't think the average drive-by user is really any more likely to read the help center than the tag wiki.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 12:49
  • 3
    @phantom42 The average user might not, but some users will, and there's a lot of these questions (5 new story-id questions per day), so small changes can be worth.
    – b_jonas
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 12:53
  • 2
    @phantom42 - possibly, but we can still see "please check out our tour and use the info there to improve this question", rather than typing the same hints every time. Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 12:53
  • I was wondering about the tour, but I don't know what we could do about it, or what parts are editable.
    – b_jonas
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 12:55
  • @Wikis sure, but you could just as easily point them to the wiki. To be clear, I'm not saying this is a bad idea, I'm just not sure how much it would help compared to what we already have.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 12:55
  • @phantom42 - indeed, I meant the tag wiki (though the tour / FAQ might also be a good place). Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 13:27
  • Why hide this on a different page? Put a single line on the main scifi.stackexchange page: "Are you looking for a book or movie?" that links to a how-to page. Sometimes you get the best results with a two-by-four.
    – Joe L.
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 14:39
  • I posted a story identification question 18 days ago and it ended up being edited by another user. My question has been viewed 45 times, but I'm still no closer to finding an answer. - scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/134603/… I found tagging my question tricky as I was informed that I need a higher reputation to add certain tags, for example fantasy. Granted, I didn't read the posting FAQs because posting to find a novel isn't something that I normally do. Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 2:49


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