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This might be related to Very poor quality questions everywhere (like panels everywhere but without the magical feeling...) But I do not believe to be exactly the same.


I believe that I am recently seeing a lot of users that do not really put research effort in their questions, but it might be a wording issue as well.

Take for instance this post: How to make hidden field not required? (one of many.)

I read this as "Here is my code so far and I need you to fix it, so it does X".

So I commented:

Please be aware that we do not provide tutorials or step-by-step instructions as explained in the help center. Instead explain your attempt(s), and be as complete as possible. What have you tried, what did you expect, what actually happened? If you have any code to include in the question, please add it. The more complete you are, the better we can formulate an answer.

User replied that code was provided (but I believe no research effort).

But then Clive provided an answer, making my doubt myself (hence this meta post). I too sometimes do understand an answer a question form the "unclear" review queue, and if you feel like answering I suppose it is good (after all the goal is to help others).

But on the other hand, the first line from the help center literally reads:

Search, and research

Have you thoroughly searched for an answer before asking your question? Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and above all, it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer!

So, I guess my question is: "Is a question that shows no research effort, a bad question?" And should it be flagged as such?

Or is just leaving a comment enough and do we hope users will learn?


Another example: Show admin toolbar to only drupal admin pages

  • It's tricky, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer for this. I read between the lines a bit when I read the question you're talking about; I saw the use of visibility in states and the #required key, and just happened to know immediately what the problem area was. I probably should've fleshed out the question (or asked the OP to do it) so it has better targeted keywords for search, but I guess I would ask: what could the OP have shown in that case as their research, other than the code they've written? – Clive Jul 27 '17 at 12:37
  • Also I would take ever so small of an issue with the phrase after all the goal is to help others - the goal is actually to build a repository of knowledge, if the OP gets helped along the way, great, but if not, we're not losing sleep over it..it will benefit more than that one person in the future if it's done right. That's what we're ultimately striving for. I don't have an easy/satisfying way to answer your actual question though, sorry – Clive Jul 27 '17 at 12:37
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    @Clive, the problem of that specific question was indeed easy to spot, but I suppose that by answering these questions, users will not learn how to ask appropriately? A small mention along the lines "I searched how to conditionally do this, I have tried wrapping the #required in an if-statement" would have helped... Just include something that shows that they do not expect us to do the work for them. – Neograph734 Jul 27 '17 at 12:44
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    Yeah I don't disagree in principle. Down votes are supposed to be used to mark content that's been badly researched, rather than flags, but that doesn't really address the underlying theme of what you're asking. I guess all I can say is that at a quick glance at the question-in-question I thought there was enough for future visitors to understand what was being asked, but not too much that it warranted a tutorial-style answer. So I threw a few hint-style lines into an answer. It's not the best QA pair there'll ever be, but it's not the worst. Still don't know how to give you a proper answer :) – Clive Jul 27 '17 at 12:56
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The question you take as first example has an issue: It shows the code, it says what the OP wants to achieve, but it doesn't say what the OP is obtaining from that code. Since it's not clear if that is code written from the OP, this could lead users to think the OP just found some code on Internet and wants to be sure it works for the purpose they have, or they want to adapt existing code for their own purpose.

Commenting and making users understand what we expect from a question is the correct thing to do.
Flagging should be reserved for very specific cases, for example a user who keeps asking the same kind of questions. For different users asking low quality questions, or showing a lack of research, flags should not be used, if you don't think there is the same user behind those accounts. If that is not the case, a question on meta pointing out a possible problem is perfectly acceptable.
Voting to close is the correct action to do, if you think the question suits one of the closing reasons, for example (talking of questions not showing any research effort) the question lacks so much details to be too broad, it is a request for tutorials, or it is subjective.

Keep in mind that it could also be the OP comes from different software, and what the OP doesn't describe is something the OP thinks implicit or obvious; the lack of description, in this case, doesn't mean lack of research. When possible, we should guide the users to make them better understand Drupal and its terminology.

  • Thanks, I like the different opinions. I wrote flagging, but maybe nominating for closure (tutorial request) fits my idea better (or is that the same to you as well?). For now I guess I will formulate some standard reply, referencing the tour and help center (some users do not even have the tour badge and seem to have no idea what is expected from them). – Neograph734 Jul 27 '17 at 22:34
  • Voting is perfectly acceptable, if the question suits one of the closing reasons. We don't have a closing reason expressly for questions not showing any effort, but the existing reasons could fit. – kiamlaluno Jul 28 '17 at 7:34

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