10

I'd like to propose a quality guideline to help prevent confusion in the future.


Proposal

Users posting information about their computer need to have the components listed in the question itself not behind a link.


Reasoning

Other areas of Stack Exchange require all details relevant to the question be posted on site. This is to make viewing the details easier for all. It also prevents loss of information, should that become a broken link.

On Stack Overflow, for example, there is a close reason that explicitly states that code must be included in the question:

Questions seeking debugging help ("why isn't this code working?") must include the desired behavior, a specific problem or error and the shortest code necessary to reproduce it in the question itself. Questions without a clear problem statement are not useful to other readers. See: How to create a Minimal, Complete, and Verifiable example.

I propose a similar requirement be utilized here. If we require system specs to make a recommendation, they should be in the question.

  • 1
    I've added a section to our high quality question guidelines about having this information in the question. – Andy Oct 13 '15 at 19:14
8

Yes, yes, yes. How soon can we get this implemented?

Seriously.

This is a good idea for very similar reasons that it's a good idea on Stack Overflow, and any other sites that require this. It's a good idea for the same reason that link-only answers are discouraged - what if the link goes dead? It's a good idea through simple courtesy to other people - why should they have to click through to find what you want, when they're the ones trying to help?

The sooner we can get this in, the fewer questions we have to close and subsequently reopen after some editing. And OK, that's how it's meant to work, but no doubt everyone knows how demoralising getting your question closed can be.

  • 2
    I've added a section to our high quality question guidelines about having this information in the question. – Andy Oct 13 '15 at 19:14
11

A policy? Absolutely. However, I'm not sure about whether we need a custom close reason for this - I'd want to see this happen consistently before we burn a close reason on it.

Otherwise, let's just close these as unclear. I have a simple test I run every question and answer through: If I can't read your question and understand it in the first two tries, it's unclear. One catch: all your links are dead. I refuse to click on them.

If your answer isn't high quality without the information behind a link, it isn't high quality. If your question doesn't have enough information without the information behind a link, it doesn't have enough information.

I'd propose that we close these as "unclear what you're asking", and revisit this if it becomes an epidemic.

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