Please bear with me. This post is not about a policy change. This clarification is done as this post has being referred in other posts. Readers comming here without the proper context, due to the way that this post was referred might be biased interpretation. Inmediately below there is an explanation of the original intention of this post, below is the orignal content that might be edited later to address several concerns.
Purpose of this post
While it's true that the tooltips of the upvote / downvote use the term "research effort" this term was used as shorthand to refer to a set of the oldest core rules. This oldest rules have synthetised in the help article Why do I see a message that my question does not meet quality standards?.
The spirit of "research effort" is actually about question be good fit according to topicality and audience. Users that are unfamiliar, before asking a question might have to spend time getting familiar with the topic in order to be able to write a question properly.
In the specific case of Web Applications Stack Exchange people that are new to using a web application should spend time getting familiar with it before asking the question.
Another particular circumstance of Web Applications Stack Exchange is that the site scope is way too broad. While in other sites might be core community have developed a shared understanding that allows them with very few words communicate clearly between them, Web Applications hasn't such core community, so askers should write their questions to address a broad audience and write questions that serve as example of good questions.
This site was the first site created from an Area 51 proposal in 2010. Many things have changed since then, i.e., there was certain urgence to a low of new questions that help to clearly define the scope of this site. Nowadays the most urgent need considering the lack of a core community and the very low participation in moderating the site that askers have better guidance about how to ask a good question.
This post focus in one element related to asking a good question, the previous work or the fix of the lack of such such work that usually is referred as research effort.
Again, this is not about site scope or moderation policies. This is about providing guidance to question askers.
The below wording use the word required between quotes, as was said above, there is no policy change, what was tried to say is that the guidance will emphatically suggest that people should prepare theirself before asking the question and show that the understand what is being asked. A web application beginner usually might need a more operative instruction, something short and direct. As all the big web applications nowadays include resources for end-users available online, it makes perfectly sense to point them to these resources instead of asking them to "google", first because the introductory resources will help them to understand the web application features and the elemental terminology, to identify if they are able to make a practical, detailed question or if they should take a course, get a mentor or other type of help.
Introduction to the original content
Here is the original content. It might be changed in a future revision to address concerns addressed directly in this post or on other posts.
I have the intention take several actions some that could be done by using diamond moderator powers other that might be to create a feature-request as it could be required the support of a Community Manager. Here I am sharing in broad terms what I'm thinking.
The main goal is to help to increase the quality and helpfuness of Web Applicatons SE content.
I think that this will be reflected in a reduction of the number of questions having very low views (less than 10) and zero votes as they are intended to increase the chances that the posts will be found by users of search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) which are the main traffic source.
Questions related to low number of views / votes in Web Applications SE
- Is this site not running as well as it deserves? from 2011 - Is there a lack of voting on Web Applications? from 2012
- All 50 latest questions have score 0 or -1. Why do questions have such low scores on this Stack Exchange website? from 2021
- Very few views on my question? from 2021
- Decline of [gmail] and [facebook]: should we worry about this? from 2023
- Kind reminder, voting is Important! from 2023
Also I think that this will be reflected in a reduction of the number of questions of questions about administering / developing web applications.
The idea is to promote / encourage to search the help center of the web application corresponding to the question before asking a question and request people that already have posted questions that have low views, no positive score or have not answers to do the same.
They will be "required" to share what they "found and why it didn't meet their needs", as is already requested in the current version of How to ask a good question, so, this is doesn't imply a change in the Stack Exchange model, but it provides specific guidance both to askers and to reviewers.
IMHO this is something reasonable to be asked as all the major web applications have some sort of end-user official resources available at the fingertips of the users.
The specific form might vary, but there are industry best practices that might be mentioned, i.e. in the How to ask a good question help article and in the customizable elements of the Ask Question form (the specific wording of how to say this will be proposed later). We could consider to include, a link to a FAQ with examples of the most relevant web apps, i.e.
- www.google.com: at the bottom has the link "How Search works"
- www.google.com/search? (search results page) at the botom has the link "Help", and the the sections have some way to point users to the help resources.
- www.facebook.com: has links to the user help in several places. In the left panel has the link More > Help, In Account > Help and support.
Google Sheets, the web app having the top popular tag in Web Applications SE.
- https://sheets.google.com: Main menu > Help and feedback and when openinan a spreadsheet, the toolbar has a Help menu.
ChatGPT, hype during December and January
- https://chat.openai.com/chat, the left panel has the options OpenAI Discord and Updates and FAQ, and the bottom of the screen has a link to the release notes.
Some of the actions might be to encourage the community to contribute to add the specific details of how to find each web application official resources for end-users in the corresponding tag wiki and / or in a canonical question, tag creators might be contacted to ask them to contribute with the creation of the tag wiki considering what was suggested above.
Web Applications is the first site that graduated from Area 51, but apparently other sites in the network have make take similar actions firsts:
For example, English Language & Usage and English Language Learners both ban questions that can be answered with a straightforward dictionary lookup (requiring you to explain why your define-this-word question cannot be answered that way).
Super User is one of the sites created before Area 51. They also have some posts about research efforts like
Related from Meta Stack Exchange
- How is consensus determined on Meta sites?
- What parts of the help center can site moderators edit?
- The new ask page is now live on the network!
- What are the sites that allow questions without details and any research?
Examples of requests to customize "How to ask" guidance
- Graphic Design Updating the "How To Ask"
- Academia: Customize the information window for the first-time askers
- Math Overflow What should the modal window for first-time askers say?
- Code Golf: Let's customise the "How to Answer" pop-up
They are still work in progress.
A bit of history
The how to ask questions and close reasons have evolved over the years
Here is one of old close reasons taken from Disqus analogs? (comments platforms) [closed] (deleted, requires >10k rep) from December 2010.
It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.
The above question was discussed here. The symtoms of the question are that is the question title and body are practically the same and too short specially for nowadays quality filter minimal lenght.
What does the community think about asking (and answering) really simple questions? from 2013. The summary of this discussion is that the complexity of the question regarding difficulty of the task or the knowledge of the OP about the webapp are not relevant but if the answer is found searching the web by using a couple of keywords, then the question is not worthy to be posted on Web Applications SE.