In the Ask Question Wizard, there are 6 options:
- 3 of these options make a customized message appear. For instance, the "I have a question about some code" option's message is a custom message about code, including the tip "Make sure to have any code handy - including this will help you get fast, quality answers."
- 3 of the options have a generic message "Stack Overflow is mainly for code questions, but <SITE NAME> is a good place for questions like yours."
In particular, here is what people see after selecting the "I need a software recommendation" option:
The current wording makes it sound like any software recommendation question is OK, thus everyday we get tons of off-topic questions like:
- "I want to concatenate two strings in Java, I can use
concat, what is your recommendation?"
- "What protocol do you recommend to send multicast packets?"
- "Which is best, ImageMagick or GIMP?"
- "Please recommend a tutorial for Spring MVC"
This vague wording has lead to an explosion of off-topic questions.
The Ask Question Wizard has been active from December 20 to February 19, then inactive, then active since March 23. Whenever it is active, very consistently, we get an explosion of off-topic questions. The analytics show that we get +1900% of closed questions when the wizard is active.
We moderators and close-voters are totally overwhelmed:
- We are struggling to do the impossible, but we are close to burnout.
- We used to be friendly and comment on off-topic questions, making many of the new users understand the site and become great users. We don't have time to do this anymore.
- The worse is, even though we do our best, many off-topic questions get through, so the +1900% figure above does not even show how bad the situation is.
The Ask Question wizard's wording can be improved, a lot. I suggest we:
- Brainstorm here about what are good wordings.
- Decide on a particular wording that sounds good to most people.
- Propose the change to our Stack Exchange overlords.
Please post your suggestions below.