At https://webapps.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic I see

If your question generally covers …

  • Using Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Google, or any other website which behaves like an application

… then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

Yet at passwords.google.com doesn't load passwords Rubén claims:

Troubleshooting is off-topic. If you would like to discuss more about what is on-topic/off-topic on this site, consider to post a question on Web Applications Meta.

How is figuring out how to deal with unexpected behavior when using a webapp off-topic? Isn’t that just one part of figuring out how to use a webapp?


Questions that will require a lot of back-and-forth to arrive at a solution aren't generally a good fit for Stack Exchange.

Part of that is because the ultimate goal is to generate a knowledge base of issues and solutions that will be helpful to far more than the original Asker. Actually, that the Asker gets a solution at all is kind of secondary; it's those future readers who find the exact solution to the exact problem they're having and, as a result, don't ask a question are the real target audience.

Ideally, a question has all of the information in it that a knowledgeable person needs in order to craft a cogent answer. Sometimes there's some key bit of information missing, and for that we have comments to request clarifications, but that's not to say there should be a lot of chatter in the comments. That's one reason why after a few comments from the same people you're prompted to take the conversation to chat. In an ideal scenario, there may be a couple of comments to get clarification added to a post and, once that clarification has been added, those comments are deleted.

When you start getting a lot of "try this", "okay now try this", etc., ad nauseum, you get into territory that's going to be very specific for one particular person and not generally applicable to others.

There are plenty of other places online where you can get that kind of help. The Google Product Forums spring to mind. So does Stack Exchange chat (if anyone happens to be online), but such questions don't generally fit will at Stack Exchange.

  • But wouldn’t an answer of “This is how you troubleshoot for this website” be appropriate for some such questions?
    – binki
    May 15 '17 at 14:31
  • You mean a canonical "these are the steps you should take before asking here" kind of answer? Like this question and answer for Android? I suppose if such a thing could be created then, yes, we should create one. But I don't know that web apps, by their nature, should require step-by-step troubleshooting. If they do, they're not well-built.
    – ale
    May 15 '17 at 15:15
  • Yeah, that sort of thing. Different webapps have different general troubleshooting steps and different ways that the administrators provide for notifying them of a problem. If a website goes down, for example, it might have a particular status page to check and the symptoms of AJAX-backed actions failing may be confusing. Or if users make the same mistake often enough due to a quirk in how the webapp works, it’d be helpful to have an explanation/guidance (hopefully the quirk would exhibit itself to the same searchable problem) even if that’s a sign that the webapp is poorly designed.
    – binki
    May 15 '17 at 15:24
  • On the face of it, there's nothing wrong with such a question/answer. I've just not yet encountered one where we could make a canonical post out of it, excepting perhaps the couple we have about account recovery.
    – ale
    May 15 '17 at 15:25
  • I was thinking webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/97742/… which Rubén and I were arguing about maybe could be made into such a thing. But I’m not confident enough in this community to just go around creating posts like that; since I’m not very active and probably never will be, I should just let you active people run things how you see fit xD.
    – binki
    May 15 '17 at 15:35
  • 1
    @binki: I don't think that particular question/answer is a good candidate, since it simply comes down to a bug that eventually got fixed. Unless and until that bug crops up again, it's only about a specific moment in time which won't be helpful to anyone else.
    – ale
    May 16 '17 at 13:11
  • In my understanding, part of using a webapp means knowing how to deal with temporal bugs. Knowing that to inform Google of errors in the passwords.google.com webapp requires feedback through Chrome could be useful in the future if that webapp breaks again in a different way. Also, it’s not like webapps never change. New features or removal of features or changes to their GUIs will also render non-debugging questions obsolete.
    – binki
    May 16 '17 at 15:19
  • 1
    That last bit is certainly true, which is why we have a close reason specifically for web apps or web app features which are no longer available. As for the rest, sure, I think it's a useful enough question, but I don't think it's a good candidate for a canonical "how do I report bugs to Google" question/answer.
    – ale
    May 16 '17 at 15:51
  • 1
    Hmm, I was thinking “How to report bugs for passwords.google.com”, not “Google”. An answer trying to describe how to report bugs to Google will be overcomplicated as there are so many different channels, etc.
    – binki
    May 16 '17 at 15:55

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