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Allow me to start this discussion off by saying that though the requirements of this site are a bit relaxed, there are still some rules that posters need to follow. New users tend to post low-quality questions and answers on this site, often because they don't know the site rules outlined at How to ask and answer software recommendation questions - aka 'The Ground Rules'.

On all Stack Exchange sites, there used to be the pages /questions/ask-advice and /questions/how-to-answer that would outline the site's requirements to new users just about to post on the website, but they were only used on Stack Overflow. Basically, when a new user attempted to post, he/she would be directed to these pages and would have to "agree" to follow the site rules before reaching the form.

I was previously going to write a request to require new users to see these pages (and tailor them to our needs) that were on this site before they could post, but unfortunately, because I have delayed for far too long, the SE team got rid of them and redirected the old links to Help Center articles. Now, there is no page that can be shown before a user attempts to post, and thus possibly more low-quality posts than if we had them and they were being used.

On SE sites other than Stack Overflow, the pages existed, but were never linked from anywhere.

My proposal is to both reinstate those pages and require new (< 10 rep) and unregistered users to see those pages and "agree" to the site rules before attempting to post, like Stack Overflow has done in the past.

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  • FWIW, that long interstitial does not, in its current implementation appear to improve question quality. Having tested it on a site other than SO, we concluded that it reduces overall question volume, but that it reduced good and bad questions equally. I DO agree that we can do more to give askers some short, specific guidelines (possibly more visibly, and shorter on the "Ask" page), that interstitial with all the text probably isn't the answer. – Jaydles Jul 16 '14 at 13:44
  • @Jaydles That page will need a heavy face-lift in order to fit with this site. Maybe we can wait for some amount of time (e.g. 30 seconds to a minute) before allowing the user to click on. What you are saying probably means that certain users just check the box and proceed without reading them at all, and a timed wait before allowing the user to proceed could alleviate that. – gparyani Jul 16 '14 at 18:08
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Fun fact: we had around 4 different versions of the same pages, so we just cleaned things up a little. No features are lost in doing this.

The content of these pages was literally identical (give or take a search box), so feel free to link users to the help center where before you'd link them to either of those routes.

My proposal is to both reinstate those pages and require new (< 10 rep) and unregistered users to see those pages and "agree" to the site rules before attempting to post, like Stack Overflow has done in the past.

The first part of this is addressed above - no pages need to be reinstated. They still exist where needed.

As for the second part, that feature is currently disabled here on SR and enabling it is a separate issue. It can be done, of course... but you gotta make an argument for how it would benefit this site. For example, are you seeing a lot of low quality questions that aren't otherwise managed?

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  • Are users still shown those pages? With the old system, we had forced new users to at least glance at the rules on Stack Overflow. – gparyani Jul 15 '14 at 22:43
  • @damryfbfnetsi Don't confuse Stack Overflow with SR. Yes, the exact same pages are shown to new users on SO as before. Like I said, nothing changed in terms of actually useful functionality. As far as I know, that has never been enabled here on SR, so you need to make a separate argument for turning that on. – Adam Lear Jul 15 '14 at 22:45
  • Really? With a checkbox and all in the new system? – gparyani Jul 15 '14 at 22:45
  • I can't test this because Stack Overflow doesn't allow unregistered users to post questions, and I don't want to create a sockpuppet. – gparyani Jul 15 '14 at 22:46
  • @damryfbfnetsi Then you're gonna have to take my word for it. Yes. With the checkbox and all... That page is a different route, anyway, and it hasn't gone anywhere. – Adam Lear Jul 15 '14 at 22:47
  • Updated the question; will add examples in a moment – gparyani Jul 15 '14 at 22:54
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    I'd say we should enable it, we do see a lot of low quality questions from users who don't understand that we aren't just their "recommend me anything" site. – Seth Jul 15 '14 at 22:59
  • FYI, @damryfbfnetsi, the page you're thinking of lives at softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/ask/advice - as you can see, it's still alive and well, but isn't currently used here anywhere because interstitial pages are disabled for nearly all sites (off the top of my head, SO, SF, AU and Math require new users to click through it). – Shog9 Jul 15 '14 at 23:01
  • @Shog9 Then you should update the MSE answer that says that only Stack Overflow uses it. – gparyani Jul 15 '14 at 23:05
  • What should go into an interstitial page: meta.softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/a/352 – gparyani Jul 17 '14 at 16:24
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    @AnnaLear Here's the separate request for enabling the interstitial: meta.softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/983/… – gparyani Sep 29 '14 at 18:39
  • @damryfbfnetsi I'll pass it along to the community team. – Adam Lear Sep 29 '14 at 18:41
  • @AnnaLear Yep, I've had a couple CMs respond to my question. – gparyani Sep 29 '14 at 20:32

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