I'm talking about questions like:

  • What tool should I use for x

  • What language should I learn next

  • What is the future of technology x

  • What will be the next big thing in technology x

These questions when they pop up often have the same basic format. It seems to me that it would be better if a warning could be posted at the time to discourage the user from submitting such questions. This would reduce the number of duff questions on the site and avoid them having to be immediately closed or put on hold.

Gnat and others do a superb job keeping on top of these but I'm just wondering if the site could be a little smarter about it.

  • if they get blocked at source by pattern matching than they'll just reword and ask again Mar 25, 2014 at 10:02
  • I'm not talking about blocking it, I'm thinking more like the box that pops up if the site believes a similar question has been posted. Perhaps in a different colour though.
    – Robbie Dee
    Mar 25, 2014 at 10:05
  • 1
    related: Add a “Magic 8-Ball” feature to the Ask a Question page: "I propose a simple system whereby a web cam is aimed at an ordinary Mattel Magic 8-Ball device, long recognized as one of the most accessible and accurate fortune-telling mechanisms available to modern society..."
    – gnat
    Mar 25, 2014 at 11:03

1 Answer 1


There is a warning that pops up when the system sees certain words or phrases in the title:

enter image description here

We don't block those, though, because it's just not advanced enough to be as certain as a few human beings. It's also hard to train on titles that might actually contain somewhat misguided but definitely on-topic and interesting questions.

I'd agree that 'the future of' or 'should I learn' are probably safe enough to show the warning on as well, but as you can see, people basically ignore the warning anyway if they're intent on asking something. Most won't care what happens after asking as long as they get an answer. If we outright block it, it's just simple to write even more horrible titles and text that manages to evade the block.

What I'd love is smarter just in time help that helps people write better questions based on what they've got in the text box - but that's a pretty big want :)

  • I have seen that pop up on occasion but it seems rather sporadic...
    – Robbie Dee
    Mar 25, 2014 at 12:34
  • In fact I've just tried all four of my question types and no dice... :(
    – Robbie Dee
    Mar 25, 2014 at 13:10

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