Today, I tested posting a question from unregistered, 0-rep account: the link that I hope soon will be deleted and remain visible only to moderators and 10K users.

Here is how it went:

  1. I filled the title

    test a question from unregistered, 0-score account

  2. I filled the text:

    test a question from unregistered, 0-score account

    For more details, refer MSO: https://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/252061/what-effect-would-introducing-a-small-barrier-for-new-users-to-ask-a-question-ha/254278?noredirect=1#comment37307_254278

  3. I added the tag as system didn't let me ask without it
    I have chosen in case if that matters
  4. I added (totally phony) email as system didn't let me ask without it: [email protected]

After that, I was able to post. Nice? Not! I was expecting to see at least the How To Ask page.

All I can say is WTF. Totally new users are literally invited to drop anything at the site without even a hint to help them understand what it is about and how it works.

  • 1
    I was thinking of voting to reopen in order to keep the problem visible... Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 21:26
  • 2
    Now deleted. (And wow, that's more flags than I've seen in one place before!) Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 22:59

1 Answer 1


Looks like Server Fault is the only site that redirects to the full How to Ask page. Stack Overflow, Super User, Ask Ubuntu, Programmers SE, and Stack Apps, for instance, all require creating an account (and most likely show the full How to Ask page prior to allowing the user to post).

All other sites I've looked at appear to only mention How to Ask as a brief aside in the top right sidebar of the Ask Question page.

I honestly can't remember at the moment if it was like this a few years ago. I do know you don't need to create an account to post on most of the Stack Exchange sites, but that's a separate issue from not showing the How to Ask page, which seems like something that should potentially be enabled, assuming it would actually help.

One thing is that new users who hit the main page, they do see the Take the 2-minute tour button, which takes them through the About page.

On the smaller sites, I believe the idea is that, since they get less traffic than Stack Overflow, there's not as much of a disincentive to prevent people from posting, since the community can help users fix problems with their posts, or close, flag, and delete.

  • 4
    We get enough bad questions from new users that I can not see how it would hurt to have them see the how to ask page. Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 13:39
  • 2
    There's a story behind this. SF asked for unregistered users to be banned from asking, and Stack Exchange refused and put up that interstitial page instead. It is, as far as I know, unique across the network. Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 16:48

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