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In the Stack Overflow Ask Question Wizard, when the asker chooses "I have a question about some code", they are taken through a guide that helps them choose tags, write a good title, search through similar questions, and finally write a good question with clearly defined sections. Here are screenshots of all steps:

A. Choosing tags

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B. Writing the question title

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C. Writing the question body

Guide: question sections

D. Reviewing before posting

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Adapting to Software Recommendations

Such a guide would spare us a part of the enormous workload we have since the Ask Wizard was introduced.

But most of the labels need to be adapted. In C we need entirely different sections.

Once we have the blueprint for a solid guide, we can approach our overlords and ask them to implement it.

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This is a community wiki answer, feel free to improve it.

A. Choosing tags

What is the genre and pricing of the software you are looking for? In what environment will it be used?

Tags help the right people find and answer your question.

Identify your tags by completing the sentence, “My question is about…”

For example:


B. Writing the question title

What’s your question title?

Your title helps people quickly understand what your question is about so they can answer it.

Include your most specific requirements, long titles are OK.

For example:

✔ Open source screen-recording GIF recorder for Mac OS X
✗ I need a screen recorder

✔ Free Java library to perform offline Greek speech recognition
✗ Alternative to GrSpx2000

C. Writing the question body

While most questions on our site are in the context/environment/requirements/price order, for new users the requirements/environment/price/context order will lead to better questions. Letting new users start with the context would be a sure way to lose all structure ("I have already written everything in the context so I can leave the requirements section empty").

Tell us more about your question

Your description gives people the information they need to help you answer your question.

Want more help? Check out these examples of great question descriptions: Example 1, Example 2

Guided mode

1. List all of your requirements
Include all features that the software must have, as a bullet list.

✔ - Must be able to split Excel 2016 files by sheet
- Must be able to process all Excel files in a folder
- Must have a graphical user interface with a progress bar
✗ I want to split Excel files.
✗ Like SpEx2000.

2. What environment should the software be able to run in?
Operating systems, or programming language if you are looking for a library.

✔ Windows
✔ Online (SaaS)
✔ Either Linux or macOS or Android or VMS
✗ Any OS is fine

3. Budget, license
Indicate the kind of contract you are ready to accept.

✔ Gratis
✔ Open source (GNU GPL license or equivalent)
✔ Either a flat fee of maximum 100 EUR, or 10 EUR maximum per month, or 0.1 EUR per request
✗ Cheap

4. Context
Help us understand why you need the software.

✔ I am a civil engineer and I need to perform simulations before building a bridge.

5. Non-solutions (optional)
If you have tried some software and it did not fit your requirements, please say why.

✔ GrEx2000 is not a valid answer because it does not run on Linux.

D. Reviewing before posting

Review your question

Almost there! Let’s give your question one more look. And don’t worry—you can edit your question after it’s posted, too.

Check for typos, slang, and ambiguous terms.

For example:
✔ The software must be able to read SAP Advantage Database Server definitions from .CDX (Compound inDeX) files
✗ The software must be able to read Advantage definitions from .CDX files

  • While software recs' very highest-voted questions seem to specify an OS with remarkable consistency, after a little digging one can still find highly-upvoted, non-closed questions that do not specify an OS, like softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/q/3588/7477 and softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/q/171/7477. Your guidance here would seem to suggest that such questions are disallowed. I'm not active here so I'm not sure, but is that really true and what you want to say? – Mark Amery May 29 at 13:09
  • @MarkAmery Some historical question are not considered good, even if they attracted a lot of upvotes. We close them when we have time, but now we are pretty busy with new questions ^_^ I have edited the two you linked to, though. – Nicolas Raoul May 30 at 8:31

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