I was going through some tags and questions and saw the tag and:

Can I have Gmail notify me when it is unable to retrieve mail from my other accounts?

It seems like closed probe questions for me. The answer can be Yes or No. I think these won't be helpful to Web Applications.

Any comments?

1 Answer 1


You're right, these questions could probably be improved. I recommend a simple modification of their titles from "Can..." to "How can...".

Take "Can I access GMail through SSL?", for example. I think the title "How can I access Gmail through SSL?" is much better. The former could be answered with "Yes" and technically be correct, even if it requires enabling some obscure setting. The latter requires the answerer to provide the steps that are necessary.

If enough people think this is a good idea, I will modify the question titles. Let me know if you find any others.

I think one reason people are using the "Can..." format is that they aren't sure if what they want to do is even possible. For example, if they ask, "How can I get X to do Y?" someone might reply "You can't." If an asker doubts there is a solution, they would probably favor the "Can..." version of the question so they get a "No" rather than a "You can't."

  • Yeh, that's right. people are not sure and they don't want to be 'hit' by answer. But we might need to rephrase. This is just my point of view.
    – pramodc84
    Jul 22, 2010 at 9:15

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