While I doubt the people who ask bad question read the help shown on the side when asking a question:

How to Ask

Is your question about managing information technology systems in a business environment?

Review our list of allowed topics. We prefer questions that can be answered, not just discussed.

Provide details. Share your research.

If your question is about this website, ask it on meta instead.

This help does not actually explains "How to Ask".

I think a little text that explains what "Provide details" means. Or a short "dos and don'ts".

For example https://serverfault.com/questions/662704/changed-the-dns-settigs-a-name-records-a-week-ago-still-resolving-to-old-server

In this post, the person does not provide any data. Sure he wrote some text in his question, but there is no data provided.

I explain:

Data is not a conclusion. In this case, all the person wrote about is the conclusion that "it still resolves to the old server and not the new server."

That's not data, but rather a conclusion. He provides some hints as to what he might have done: "I have refreshed the cache, and checked the hosts file for the computer."

But does it give us data? We don't know what he did to "refreshed the cache" (Firefox cache for all I know since there is not many program that I know of that actually refreshes the cache - most clear the cache so it can build a new one...).

So I think the "How to Ask" text should at least include a line that reads, in bold:

Provide details on what you did, exact commands and their results.

  • 4
    Whether or not they read it, it might be useful in case we want to link to the page as an explanation as to why their question is bad. For instance "A conclusion is not data." is something I would very much like to reuse in a lot of questions that don't actually show the users process for reaching their conclusions.
    – Reaces
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 15:47

1 Answer 1


We already have lots of information to help people ask a better question perhaps they can be linked to in the text of the close reason. For example there is

We can provide close reasons with rich linked text but sadly, no one who needs to ever reads anything. You can lead a horse to water ...

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