5

As mentioned by Monica in another Meta question, there's an Ask a Question Wizard Prototype in the works that looks a bit like this:

enter image description here

To support this, we'll need some kind of a template set of questions or points to cover.

Things like:

  • What kind of question is this?
  • Can you summarize your problem in one sentence?
  • What is your role?
  • What is your industry type?
  • What have you tried before and why didn't this work?

In effect, we're wanting to guide people toward providing the necessary details into their question and lead them to being a little more structured in the way they ask. At the same time, we want to be welcoming and not scare people off by wordy workflow if at all possible.

There is a prototype of the Wizard on Stack Overflow that will give you the gist of how this looks (go take a look at it). Be aware, however, that completing the Wizard will post a new question on Stack Overflow (which you can of course delete).

Currently, the workflow is:

  • What kind of question is this (bullet-pointed list)?
  • Add tags
  • Question title (then gives list of suggested questions with similar titles)
  • The question itself
  • Review

Each of these stages have yellow information blocks that helps guide the user toward the most appropriate level of detail.

Your comments here will be welcome

13

Can we add in something to ask for a location? So many of the questions asked here are massively dependent upon the asker's locale and so few actually add it in, at least on initial posting.

  • definitely this. Ideally if it somehow translated it to the corresponding tag for that location (although that is handled in first post queue and manual edits) – DarkCygnus Jul 11 '18 at 18:44
7

This looks like an excellent way to drive away new users from the site, especially non-native English users. Asking users to specify "tags" right off the bat might work for the Stack Overflow wizard because users generally have questions about a specific language/framework/technology, and the problem in terms of the expected code behaviour against the actual one is rather clear in their minds.

We are not Stack Overflow. Asking new users to "categorize" their question (into our rather messy tags) even before they have got a chance to "pen their thoughts" (if you will) is likely to be followed by getting confused and giving up.

Additionally, for non-native English users, interrogating them with more rounds of questions (and asking them to read more "information blocks") before they can even describe their actual problem would be making them jump through unnecessary hoops.

Moreover, what about mobile browsers? Many of our next billion million thousand users will probably come from the developing world, who usually join the internet bandwagon through smartphones. On the mobile browser, the so-called wizard presents the user with one question, one "Great!", and then takes them directly to the current page for asking questions. In other words, two additional steps that achieve nothing useful.screenshots below

We are not Stack Overflow. I would like to see this site being equally welcoming to everyone, regardless of their English proficiency or their ability to afford a laptop/desktop. So I am in favour of scrapping this wizard entirely at least until these issues are fixed.


Screenshots of the so-called Wizard on mobile browsers

  • Step 1: What type of question do you have?

    Step 1

  • Step 2: Great!

    Great!

  • Step 3: End of Wizard (!?)

    End of Wizard

  • Do we know exactly how the wizard page would be implemented? I wouldn't expect it to be required to write a question, even for new users. I would more expect something like "Would you like to use our step-by-step wizard to help write your question?" with the option to use it or not. I never use the mobile site, so I don't know how the process normally looks, but I would expect this tool would either have a mobile-compatible version or not be offered on mobile. If that's not the case, then I think that's a separate addressable issue. – David K Jul 11 '18 at 12:16
  • 2
    As to your points about the order of prompting for tags, I agree that that doesn't work for us. Tags should come after the question is written, maybe suggesting some of the most common ones. The first question in the wizard appears to be used to weed out off-topic questions. While that's useful, I'm not sure what specific questions we would ask that would actually achieve that goal. – David K Jul 11 '18 at 12:23
  • @DavidK Going by the recent ch ch ch ch, this wizard is going to end up with "what works for Stack Overflow works for the rest", so I want to avoid taking this site down that route in the first place. Also, it is bad UX to throw lots of options and questions in a new user's face, and that usually leads to people just going away from the site. For example, try creating a new account on Quora, and you will get a glimpse of what I mean. – Masked Man Jul 11 '18 at 13:40
  • I don't see anything in that link that explicitly talks about the Wizard. While the SE staff can make some changes that are automatically implemented across the network, the Wizard is not one of them. A left nav bar is built the same and generally looks the same on every site. The Wizard requires specific input and questions tailored to each site that our own mods will have to build. If they don't build it, it can't be used. That's assuming the SE staff doesn't create a generic Wizard that simply prompts users to write a question, title, and tags, but there has been zero mention of that. – David K Jul 11 '18 at 14:23
  • @DavidK The ch ch ch ch has got rid of the site-specific theme customization and "standardized" several other things. Anyway, the point is, that meta post clearly indicates this will be the direction SE will take from now on, because site-specific support "increases costs". The link doesn't specifically talk about the Wizard, that is true, but this is more or less how it would turn out. If we ask for a Wizard where the tags is asked for at the end (or entirely absent), or maybe we want some more steps in the Wizard, it will most certainly be shot down to "cut costs". – Masked Man Jul 11 '18 at 14:43
  • Perhaps we don't need a wizard, but a question template instead? – DarkCygnus Jul 11 '18 at 18:48

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