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There are many questions where users post an initial, incomplete question, which can not be answered without more information. For example, they post a question about a error/issue with their code/query/... but do not include their code, or it's missing relevant parts.

The newest example: https://drupal.stackexchange.com/questions/11947/how-can-i-construct-an-entityfieldquery-to-retrieve-taxonomy-having-a-certain-nam

In the issue queue on Drupal.org, we have a status called "postponed (maintainer needs more info)". I use that often because it allows me to move issues which are impossible to resolve with the given information out of my way.

I think something similar might make sense too here. It could save a lot of time for those which are browsing through unanswered questions looking for something they can answer.

The easiest way to do this would be a new tag, called "needs more info" or similar. When seeing that tag in the question lists, you know that you don't need to look at it. However, AFAIK, it is not allowed to use tags for meta-information like this. And it doesn't allow advanced functionality like informing the question asker (by sending them a mail or a on-site notification) about the problem, auto-closing such questions after n days or hiding such issues from lists by default.

The downside is that it could possibly be used incorrectly, e.g. when question is flagged for this incorrectly and then nobody looks at it again. But it might be possible to solve that by automatically removing that meta-information when the question asker edits his question.

Thoughts?

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    I agree, I use that on d.o all the time. Leaving a comment asking for more information is currently the best option. – tim.plunkett Sep 24 '11 at 14:50
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This is pretty much what closing is for. Ever notice how you can still comment and edit a question thta's been closed? This is why.

Close it ("Not a real question" fits most of them), leave a comment detailing specifically what's missing, and when the asker edits and responds, re-open.

There is full support in the system for searching closed questions, and they can be deleted after a period of time if no response is forthcoming.

  • Hm, closing such question seems kinda harsh to me, but ok. – Berdir Sep 24 '11 at 18:31
  • @Berdir I would move to close if it is missing a lot. If it is missing just a little, I would leave a comment. – Jeff Atwood Sep 25 '11 at 8:23
  • @Berdir Closing a question is not permanent; if a question has been closed as "not a real question", the OP can still edit it to make it a "real question." Who can vote to close a question is able to vote to re-open it. The "motto" is then, close early, close often. – kiamlaluno Sep 25 '11 at 15:53
  • I guess it is, then :) I wasn't aware that closing is the recommended way to deal with such questions and have never seen that being done in the wild. I guess something that we're not getting with this is some kind of reminder/notification for the question asker that his question needs more info, but if he really needs an answer, he will probaly look into it anyway... – Berdir Sep 25 '11 at 18:49
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    @Berdir, the crucial part of this is communication. If you have users showing up, posting questions, and then never coming back it doesn't really matter what you do... But assuming the asker does actually need an answer, leaving a comment describing what's missing is critical to guiding him in the right direction. Closing backs this up (for questions that absolutely cannot be answered without editing) by preventing half-assed answers, "me too" non-answers, etc. as well as providing a path for deletion (thus avoiding "I found my problem on Drupal.SE, but no one had an answer"). – Shog9 Sep 25 '11 at 18:57

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