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There has been a lot of focus on answers on Lifehacks meta, with many discussions related to multiple solutions in an answer, are conventional solutions approved/disapproved, how to avoid polls, and how to answer a question which doesn't neccessarily require a lifehack, and so on.

I seem to find a general concept, that if only the question was better, it would be easier to provide a good answer. And this leads be to my question on How to improve the question quality?

My concern especially applies to all the questions which are borderline howto-questions, and might show little (or no effort) in searching for solutions, or might not require lifehacks at all.

Are these options from an answer to "Why is the quality of questions and answers not great right now?" the best we can do:

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

Will newcomers/one-time askers understand this, and help us raise the quality on questions? Are these the best options to enforce the scope of Lifehacks? Do we have other alternatives?

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The only way to improve question quality is:

  • Properly and frequently use upvotes and downvotes: Upvote good questions and downvote bad ones. This demonstrates to anyone visiting our site the level of quality we expect, as well as provides examples of how to form a good question. Using both types of votes is really important: Upvotes ensure good questions are easily visible, and downvotes ensure poor questions are hidden away.
  • Commenting: Leave comments explaining the problems with a question (i.e. not enough detail), and what can be done to improve it (i.e. provide more detail). This can help to improve both the current question and future question, since it helps the asker to understand how to make better questions in the future.
  • Close Votes: Close votes keep questions we can't properly answer off the site, and prevent the site from being flooded with these questions. Additionally, we should be closing questions quickly. If a question meets the criteria for being closed then we should close it fast, and then try to fix it. Closing quickly prevents users from posting answers which could become obsolete if/when the question is fixed and reopened, makes it harder for questions to slip through the cracks (due to being forgotten), and ensures consistency (if we don't close questions immediately then we're essentially just choosing an arbitrary limit of when a question should be closed, which will just cause confusion and frustration for our users).
  • Well Defined Scope: A well defined scope is very important to ensuring question quality. A poorly defined scope (which we currently have) just results in folks not knowing what they can and can't ask. Not only can this result in a rise in terrible questions, but it can only result in a decrease good questions. If users have no idea what is and isn't on-topic they'll just get frustrated and not bother with the site. A strong user base is very to the success and quality of a site, and a well defined scope is the only way to draw that user base in.
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My concern especially applies to all the questions which are borderline howto-questions, and might show little (or no effort) in searching for solutions, or might not require lifehacks at all.

The only "How to..." questions that are off-topic, according to the help center page, are those "about skills that can commonly be learned elsewhere". Questions such as this that may appear to be a common "how to...", are perfectly welcome.

Questions that show little or no research effort should be closed as "unclear what you're asking" or "too broad", when applicable. This is up to the community. Also, if you're unsure, feel free to flag it for moderator attention. We can take a consistent action, as well as provide feedback.

Are these options from an answer to "Why is the quality of questions and answers not great right now?" the best we can do:

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

This is (almost) correct. Anything that falls squarely under a close reason -- not about a physical problem, too broad, etc. -- should be closed. Close votes can be retracted and questions can be reopened. But this must come with a strong warning, which I will borrow from this answer:

[W]hen you have a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.

That's what close reasons do.

Some questions should be closed, many shouldn't. In the early stages, I will reiterate the following: "When in doubt, ask a mod." I, for one, can often be pinged in the Lifehacks general chat room, The Junk Drawer.

Will newcomers/one-time askers understand this, and help us raise the quality on questions?

Unfortunately, newcomers probably won't read context. On larger sites such as Stack Overflow, hundreds if not thousands of questions are closed each day for being blatantly off-topic. What we can do, however, through community moderation, is build a site that is better than the rest of the internet.

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To me the guidelines I've quoted above, and partly repeated by the answers of Mooseman and Wipqozn doesn't quite cut it, and/or seems to be enough. So I've been thinking about whether it would be good to change initial handling of questions, in an attempt to enforce more work on the questions:

  • Force review of questions to ensure quality. Possibly either based on length, OP's experience, or other factors, send new questions to an approval queue so that questions are not even visible on the main site for most people before being approved. In other words, filter the quality of questions before they enter the site

  • Change timing before a question is put on hold. Quite a few questions doesn't seem to require a life hack, or is badly researched, or unclear regarding what has been tried. These are sometimes commented upon, but then some eager (or misguided or ...) helper(s) answers the questions with some conventional answer(s) and we have both a living question and multiple answers which we are not according to scope. Could an answer to this be to temporarily close questions at a much earlier stage? Or add a variant of the "what-have-you-done" close reason, which automagically would put the question on hold?

  • Add more guidance when entering a question, so that we make sure that they've read the guidelines and/or scope. Possibly through the use of text in front of the question form, or check boxes with links, or something along those lines. Maybe related to experience and number of questions already asked on this site.

If either of the above, or a similar mechanism could be implemented, then I do believe the question quality would go up. This of course in addition to the already suggested guidelines.

Maybe these changes could also allow for a slight broadening of the scope, as the questions would indicate more what has been tried and why that doesn't work. Which in turn, would allow for answers which for some is regarded as a conventional approach, but which the OP never had heard of.

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