Edit: As of June 12th, we have retired the 'brainstorming / idea gathering' close reason in favour of a 'please show more effort' reason.

I would like to request the community and the powers at be if we could add a close reason of "What have you tried?". Lately we have been getting several questions that become harder to answer and show hardly any effort at all. I do not mind helping people but I know this has been discussed with others in chat but lately I feel we are doing other people's work for them and that's not the intentions of stack. I would feel better knowing I helped someone that wanted to help themselves by learning how and not looking for a quick fix because they were to lazy to use Google.


6 Answers 6


Stack Overflow has a similar close reason:

Questions asking for code must demonstrate a minimal understanding of the problem being solved. Include attempted solutions, why they didn't work, and the expected results.

Stack Overflow also gets thousands of questions per day, so it's not reasonable to expect the community to be able to coach each new user individually, or to assume that every question can be saved. Thus, they get a close reason.

Graphic Design averages nine new questions per day. If you want to ask new users "what have you tried", go ahead and leave that as a comment - I see no reason to automate it into a close reason at this time. Scott is right: these questions should be downvoted and commented on to help the askers learn how to write better questions.

  • 1
    besides in conding you can ask what have you tried and get a better response than in graphic desing. Due to inherently abstract nature. In coding you could say i have tried doing this y way using x function that is in w. Than answer can be like do it using z in p. But here it's often how to or concept which does require paragraphs to explain. Even at SO this is abused, when Question is odd, you get what have you tried and what are you asking comments and close votes when both are clear or unnecessary.
    – user8795
    Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 19:38
  • 1
    Hi Abby, this question is being revisited in 2015 now that the questions per day has doubled from 9-ish to 18-ish. Still very low compared to SO, but many users are feeling like lazy askers are becoming a demotivating problem. I definitely agreed with your answer in 2013 but I'm not so sure now. Can you update this? Commented May 21, 2015 at 16:59
  • 3
    My thoughts, @user56: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/210840/…
    – Shog9
    Commented May 23, 2015 at 10:26

In 2013 -----

I think a downvote and comment are better than a close vote, similar to how Stack Overflow handles it (although "what have you tried" is no longer permitted at SO).

Today (2015) ----

A down vote and comment is no longer sufficient. Many users are posting the "What have you tried?" comments only to get lazy replies, replies such as "nothing!", or no reply at all. I'm beginning to think a "lack of effort" close reason has some merit today.

  • +1 for downvote AND comment. A link to "although "what have you tried" is no longer permitted at SO" would be nice too.
    – Kromster
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 7:40
  • Do you still feel this way? I would like a Close Vote.
    – Ryan
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 2:11
  • 2
    @Ryan No I do not still feel this way. I think we need a "Lack of effort" close reason. The last 2 years as seen lazy question become more and more of a problem and I don't anticipate it resolving without some interaction. A comment and down vote are no longer sufficient.
    – Scott
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 2:12
  • Upvoted for 2015
    – Ryan
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 3:34
  • Drat. I'd like to upvote it for 2015, but I already did so in '13. Retracting and re-casting my upvote won't count, I suppose? :/
    – Vincent
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 10:34
  • @Vincent an upvote for 2015 is an upvote for freedom. You love freedom don't you?
    – Ryan
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 13:05
  • 1
    Retracted and re-cast :)
    – Vincent
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 13:22
  • I probably should have split this to two answers.
    – Scott
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 17:08
  • 1
    Just to explicitly note since there's no public way of checking...we've doubled our questions per day since this was first brought up. As Abby points out it was 9, today it's 18.
    – JohnB
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 15:01
  • 2
    You can see at stackexchange.com/sites#questionsperday then either scrolling down, or ctrl-f to us. We're in the top 30% but still very low compared to the big sites - lots of sites have >50 per day Commented May 21, 2015 at 17:03

I'd like to bump this idea in light of our growth and the direction the site has been going. Additionally as a few of us were discussing in chat today a lot of these poor questions never get answered and then get bumped by Community reducing the quality of the front page and making it even more difficult for us to promote higher quality questions.

A close vote would give us a proper reason to reject many of those questions, help with the technical support discussion, and elevate the overall quality of the site.


I'd like to get this implemented as I think it would help improve the quality of questions overall. As such, we need to phrase it:

Questions asking for help with implementation must demonstrate a minimal understanding of the problem being solved. Include attempted solutions (and resources searched, if applicable), why they didn't work, and the expected results. See this meta post for discussion.

As SO only allows 3 custom close reasons per site, this one would have to replace a current one. I vote for it to replace the least used CV reason regarding brainstorming/idea gathering as the new close reason and "too broad" can close those types of questions.

Some examples:

  • I need to design a logo for a Pet Store, any ideas? - Closed with "too broad".
  • I need the background removed from this photo, can someone do it for me? - Closed with the reason listed above.
  • 1
    I prefer the personal approach, as in "Your question..". It's more friendly and directed towards the question poster. That "must" and the orders to "include" are too strong and no attempt is given towards explaining why this stuff is requested.
    – Dom
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 15:46
  • Problem - agitate - solution : Your question is currently lacking some key elements. For professional solutions to be produced and duplication of unsuccessful attempts to be avoided, we need to know what you've tried and why the result is not what you intended. Please elaborate on the issue and include screenshots if possible, so that your question can be answered.
    – Dom
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 15:52
  • @Dom That sounds more like a comment than a close reason to me though :P Commented May 21, 2015 at 16:26
  • In essence, a close reason is a comment on why you're voting to close.
    – Dom
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 17:12
  • Gee, @Dom, that's awfully formal. How's about 'Please provide us with more information. For a professional and accurate answer, we need to know what you've tried and why the result is not what you intended. If possible, please post screenshots. You can edit your question to provide more information.'?
    – Vincent
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 12:21
  • @Vincent yeah I wasn't a fan of it either, too long-winded etc. it was a draft/example. Based on that and your one, I've had another shot, as I think there are elements of both that work, however yours is maybe too friendly /unsure of itself now :P (I know make up your mind right):
    – Dom
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 20:04
  • "Your question is currently lacking some vital information. For accurate solutions to be found as quickly as possible, we need to know what you've tried and why the result is not what you intended. Including images often helps. Please edit your question with additional information so that we can assist you."
    – Dom
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 20:05

The mods have removed the previous brainstorming question and request for free work based on the stats and have added:

enter image description here


Focus on serving those asking questions will grow/improve the community

The community may benefit more overall by avoiding this close option. We do not like poor questions because they go unanswered but I believe that is the function of community editing and a question can become useful weather an author takes the initiative or not. If someone (like myself) particularly enjoys editing questions to make them more useful before providing them with great tutorial like answers, doing so makes Google more effective for the future because our answers would show up every time. Eventually it will be more and more obvious that we are an undeniably useful community and so we will get more questions allowing more experts to participate and so on. Closing the question is not friendly and with that kind of interaction we are never going to see this thing be as great as it could be, because people like to be treated nice.

They don't know how, thats why they're asking.

I also think we should recognize that graphic design is becoming more accessible, so many people are getting involved but don't know where to start. If they knew what to try they would have probably achieved it. But, not having a clue isn't a bad thing, because this is a place for people who have questions to meet people who like giving answers. I would be ok with an action that required "someone" to improve the question, thus improving the front page. But the author might not be able to prove attempt, and his question shouldn't have to die if someone happens to have a good answer for it anyways.

When we close a question it can't be fixed and no one benefits, but if the question is left open, we can encourage others to improve the poor questions and the result is more desirable and leads to a larger more effective community.

  • I guess it all comes down to how one wishes to contribute. I don't mind spending time answering questions and providing solutions. However, I'm not here to teach people how to communicate their issue effectively or provide full tutorials to basic software usage questions. Google already has thousands upon thousands of hits to answer practically any software construction issue and software manufacturers offer online resources. Most of the "lazy" questions can quickly be answered by typing the exact same question into Google's search bar. It's these which I feel deserve closed.
    – Scott
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 9:43
  • Your last paragraph isn't accurate. Edits are capable of happening on Closed Questions. In Fact the close dialog asks for the person to edit the question with what they've tried. You can already edit Closed Questions. Once at 3,000 rep you can vote to Close AND vote to Reopen. Moderators can instantly reopen questions if we see they went back and shown effort.
    – Ryan
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 12:50
  • As for the rest, I for one don't agree with the assessment that some people "might not be able to prove attempt." Anyone can make effort on their own first. There are enough self-taught designers from days long before it was easy to get tutorials, myself included, that figured things out through trial and error. Being scared to press a button isn't justification IMO
    – Ryan
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 12:51
  • I didn't down vote... and I think it's fine if someone wants to spend their time coaching and coddling new users to help them communicate. I was just pointing out that is not how I wish to spend my time. And Ryan is, obviously, correct. Even questions place don hold can be edited and reopened. So closing only really prevents bad answers to bad questions.
    – Scott
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 18:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .