The level of "how to" questions is hitting new lows. From pick a color for me (2) (3) to teach me app basics (2) to make up my mind.

I proposed a new close reason perhaps....

Titled similar to "low quality question" or "basic how to question", with an explanation comment along the lines of:

It might be helpful to review the types of questions which should and should not be asked. Specifically what to avoid asking. Simple "how to" and "suggestions please" questions are customarily not desirable.

I'm not always the most personable guy, so that comment could probably be made a bit more friendly for new users.

It's good we're getting more questions, but the quality is really, really poor much of the time.

As JohnB pointed out, it seems to be an issue network wide. Perhaps a new close reason would curtail some of these overly poor questions.

Would this new close reason be helpful?

The point of adding this is more about the auto-comment than actually closing questions quickly. Users seems to notice comments quickly, a specific welcoming comment, directed at improving their question, may help.

  • lack of effort is a good name
    – joojaa
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 10:41
  • 1
    For what its worth, StackOverflow used to have a "lack of effort" close reason, but it was sacked because people were "abusing" it. Not sure what the close options here are, but "Unclear what you're asking" might be a good fit (eg. we know that you want to do X, but what part of doing X do you not understand?).
    – cimmanon
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 12:09
  • 1
    @MrE.Upvoter Sounds like you need the design equivalent to this: Questions seeking debugging help ("why isn't this code working?") must include the desired behavior, a specific problem or error and the shortest code necessary to reproduce it in the question itself. Questions without a clear problem statement are not useful to other readers.
    – cimmanon
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 13:43
  • @cimmanon Yes. We need something which is equivalent to "why isn't this code working?" Great comparison.
    – Scott
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 18:26

3 Answers 3


I am in two minds.

I share your frustration over really low quality questions lately.

But I also think that having too easy close reasons will make us lazy. It will certainly make me lazy, and too easy to not ask specifically for what information that is needed; bad questions will automatically go directly into "close: poor question".

It is a nice way of getting rid of annoying questions, but I feel perhaps a little too convenient.

Some of those bad questions might hide interesting things, if the OP could expand a little, with a little guidance.

What I do, is ask for more information, preferably I will ask exactly for the info we need. I will give the poor sod a "reasonable time" to better the question. If this does not happen I will happily close it with no further ado. This is what I do with newbies. For people that "should know better" I will vote to close with no personal interference.


We already have ways to interact with this: the downvote button.

Firstly, I'm with Bente on this one—I'm afraid that a too-easy close reason will make us really lazy and scare newcomers away too quickly.

Yes, I agree that the amount of really bad questions is increasing rapidly, and that the quality is incidentally abysmal, but I don't think that warrants a new close reason: this is what the downvote button was made for.

Personally, I try to refrain from downvoting bad posts by new users, instead opting for a personable, welcoming comment inviting them to improve their Q and nudging them towards learning this site's ropes. But if they fail to improve (sufficiently), then a downvote is the way to go.

  • 2
    It is good to see the down vote button being used a bit more lately, but there's still a trend to up vote every single new user regardless of question quality. Bad questions receiving up votes is an issue as well.
    – Scott
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 12:02
  • Actually, @Scott, if that is the case, that any rubbish gets upvotes because the user is new, that is seriously worrying. That, I would say, is a far worse problems. Maybe a meta-post expanding on that would be good.
    – benteh
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 22:22
  • It has always been the case here @Benteh. New users are 99% assured of getting an up vote regardless of what they post.
    – Scott
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 22:26
  • Huh, @Scott - never observed it consciously, I will have to pay more attention. Not aware of that. I suppose a vote or two does little harm, as long as this misunderstood welcome-ness does not go too far.
    – benteh
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 22:32
  • 1
    It's customarily just a single vote so it's not a huge problem. And for poor questions/answers I generally just zero it out :)
    – Scott
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 22:36
  • @MrE.Upvoter shouldn't upvoted Q's be at the top?
    – Vincent
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 9:50

I really feel a "basic software use" close reason is perhaps in order:

How to export groups to separate PNG files?

Make Lines of .EPS Graphic Bolder or Thicker


Unable to ungroup objects in Adobe Illustrator

How to separate clusters of different vector objects in a purchased stock image?



Rounded Polygons in Photoshop CS6

If any of the above have anything to do with design, then I may as well post questions about how to level my desk, sharpen my pencil, or how to read a ruler.

I realize everyone needs to learn. But I question whether GD.SE wants to become the go-to place for the most basic "how to" questions.

These software 101 questions are becoming more and more prevalent and lowering the overall value of the site in my opinion.

All of these questions are instantly answered via a Google search (probably better answered via the google search than they will be here) or review of the software help files.

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