Even though we're in a small group of somewhat enthusiastic supporters of the idea of Lifehacks, the quality of questions on Lifehacks in general is a bit lower than I expected it to be. Many questions, though most are upvoted and have several answers, seem unclear or too broad.

Why do you think this is the case what what can we do to fix it?

3 Answers 3


To me, it seems many unclear and broad questions are receiving answers and upvotes because the community as a whole are not thinking critically about the quality of the question before posting an anwer. So long as there is some type of problem the OP needs help with, people seem overly emphatic to help out in pursuit of the votes and reputation that they can get by posting a quick answer.

I think this could lead up to the site not graduating in the end. We need to focus on providing meaningful and quality content, both in our question choices and in how we answer questions. Asking/answering questions just to get rep goes against the entire premise of the SE network - we're supposed to be here to help each other with real problems, not something we made up for the heck of it. The series of questions regarding getting our hands dirty while eating is a prime (though far from the only) example of questions being asked in hopes for reputation to me. Even if that isn't their objective, the quality of the questions are still too low in general.

We can start fighting against this mentality in the following ways:

  • Close unclear and broad questions or at least comment so that the author updates their post before providing answers for them.
  • Link to meta posts when appropriate. Show that the community is on your side.
  • Hold off on upvoting until the question is clear so that people don't rush to post poor answers.

Here are some that are notable, positively voted but bad (in my opinion) questions, though most questions could be improved:

As a community, let's make sure the OP shows effort and has put thought into their question before we provide answers. If they don't show either of those things, comment on the question. Double check to make sure the question is within the scope of Lifehacks and if you are not sure, please read through meta posts or ask your own if it hasn't been covered!

We can and need to require questions to be of a high quality regardless of whether or not they are within the scope of this Q&A.

Edit: We now have a defined scope. This section is no longer very relevant.

Going past that, we also need to come up with more clear off topic close reasons. In order to do so, there are some questions that need answering in reference to the scope of Lifehacks. I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with any answers on these questions, only noting that we need to come to an agreement on them sooner rather than later:

I'm positive there are other issues, but these are pose the biggest hindrance to the nature of the site that I know of at the moment.

I honestly think Lifehacks can fit a need and really help people. But in order for that to happen we have to, as a community, take control of the quality of content being posted - primarily the quality of the questions as they have the ability to set the tone of the Q&A more than answers can.

Comment on low quality questions; don't answer them. Down vote when appropriate. Close questions that aren't fixed quickly or that seem unsalvageable.

  • [insert comment about questions being on-topic here] Dec 11, 2014 at 4:06
  • 2
    Hear, hear! Everybody print out this answer and sleep with it under your pillow!
    – hairboat
    Dec 11, 2014 at 22:42
  • I'm not sure this great advice has been followed in the past 6 months. The existence of "Lifehacks" as a site in general is kind of counter to good quality questions. It implicitly attracts questions that lack basic problem solving strategies to begin with, so it must be accepted that that type of question will exist here. It also attracts poor answers because people really like to share their own tips, misguided or not, and also it's easy and feels good to post suggestions to basic questions. May 31, 2015 at 18:40
  • (Renaming the site to something besides "lifehacks" might be good, too. - the term "lifehack" these days does not really equate to good questions and answers.) Another thing that needs to happen is that current site moderators need to try harder to stick to the philosophies in this answer, rather than (conjecture) attempting to inflate beta stats. May 31, 2015 at 18:45

Here are some things that I think we can do to improve question quality:

  • Look at every question you've posted, and make sure it includes
    1. A problem that won't be solved by conventional means
    2. Why that problem can't be solved by conventional means
    3. You don't have to do research to ask a question, but please put a little effort into your question; see points 1 and 2 above. ( IOW, please use specifics to explain 1 and 2 )
    4. To improve further, add optional motivation, or why you want the problem solved
  • Look at other people's questions, and make sure that the above is included
    1. If it is, upvote
    2. If it isn't, VtC as "Unclear" or "Too Broad," whichever fits better
    3. Leave a (polite!) comment requesting the necessary information to be added in
    4. If it is, retract CV and upvote
    5. DO NOT ANSWER low-quality questions -- everybody can cast close votes, please do!
  • Basically Zach's answer, simplified.
    – Shokhet
    Dec 11, 2014 at 15:20
  • 1
    I disagree with #3 - show your research. See this meta post Dec 11, 2014 at 15:22
  • @ZachSaucier Fair point (+1). Will edit to clarify.
    – Shokhet
    Dec 11, 2014 at 17:00
  • @ZachSaucier What do you think now?
    – Shokhet
    Dec 11, 2014 at 17:02
  • 1
    On point 3: My speech teacher said that you should add research even if you know something. It shows effort and tells people "You can trust me, I am not the only person with this opinion".
    – Pobrecita
    Dec 11, 2014 at 17:09
  • @iliveunderawesomerock A question isn't an opinion. Dec 11, 2014 at 17:12
  • @ZachSaucier I am saying that add research so it basically says that you researched it and that adds credibility to your statement, thus.
    – Pobrecita
    Dec 11, 2014 at 17:21

My take is that the questions being asked the first few days here are mostly made up questions. They are not sincere and the quality of the questions and answers reflect that.

We can and need to require questions to be of a high quality regardless of whether or not they are within the scope of this Q&A.

At this time when this site is in private beta adhering to high standards with the questions is critical to the long term quality of the site. The first steps taken here are the steps that determine the direction that this site goes.

  • This seems more like a comment on my answer rather than a separate answer :P Dec 11, 2014 at 14:27
  • @ZachSaucier yeah got a little long to fit in the comment.
    – Jon
    Dec 11, 2014 at 17:12

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