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A lot of people are using the "answer" part of an already existing question to ask a new question instead of creating a new one.

They probably find the question with google and post their question here, thinking Stack Exchange is a regular forum.

How to make sure they understand how SE works before asking a new question ? Should we make "taking a tour" a mandatory step, with a few (3 or 4?) questions at the end to make sure they read it ?

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    Related Meta.SO: Let's improve Stack Overflow's “Ask a Question” page! – Roflo Jul 5 '16 at 20:38
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    At the end of the day, it really requires coding changes to the application to facilitate. It would be great if reading that info gave you the base minimum to ask or answer, but that would be a departure from current norms. – John Cavan Jul 5 '16 at 21:48
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    @Roflo the redesigned ask a question page is not going to solve the mis-understanding that Q/A is different from a (threaded) forum. Which is probably where most of the common internet crowd is used to. They are trained to continue a discussion directly under the last post... – rene Jul 6 '16 at 6:50
  • @rene Depends on how you redesign the /ask page. Many answers are proposing a way to teach users that SE is about before hitting the "Post" button. From the linked post above: And granted, it won't fix everything. Everyone knows that users don't read, but even if we just reach a minute percentage of askers this way, that can still make a big difference, given the site's scale. – Roflo Jul 6 '16 at 14:17
  • @Roflo my wizard proposal has the best score so far but I don't have high hopes in fixing much ;) – rene Jul 6 '16 at 14:37
  • @rene Huh.. I didn't realize that was your answer. Not only does it have the best score, but it doubles the second place. – Roflo Jul 6 '16 at 14:46
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Having just started using this community, I think this might be a UX issue. The "ask question" link is surprisingly hard to find. It's obvious when you know where it is (on every page, at the bottom of the list of links next to the example photo) but for some reason my eyes never quite landed on it, and I didn't find it until I pressed CMD-F and searched for "ask".

If this is happening to other new users and not just me, it might explain new users posting in the wrong place instead of asking a question. A possible solution would be to re-locate the "ask question" link to the top-right of the page, where it lives on most other Stack Exchange sites, or alternatively move it up so that it's the first or second link in the list instead of the last one.

  • This might be a real problem, but I'd want to collect some data first and not make a change based on one person's experience. Questions posed in answers to other questions are a problem on all Stack Exchange sites, so unless we have a significantly greater problem than other sites I'd assume that the problem is not the Photo.SE layout. – Caleb Dec 7 '16 at 18:39
  • Agreed, my answer is an anecdote that hints at a possible reason, but you would need to collect data to know for sure. – Nathaniel Dec 8 '16 at 0:19
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This is a problem that affects all Stack Exchange sites, not just Photography, so it's better to pose it in the Stack Exchange Meta site. Do some searching before you post, though, as there's been a lot of work on this issue already. For example:

Explicitly warn new users not to ask follow-up questions in the answer space

Warn new mobile users not to ask questions as answers

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I think a lot of us find that certain questions might be 'related' but the answers might not fit exactly what we're looking for. Knowing those who are reading and responding are providing information, the 'question within an answer' might just be a way to find a solution to a problem that doesn't quite 'fit' into the original question. Sometimes I have even found my solution by reading someone else's question. If you start being that particular about limiting reader's ability to ask, you will send people elsewhere to get solutions.

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    [...] find a solution to a problem that doesn't quite 'fit' into the original question => that is exactly what a new question should be ! – Olivier Jul 6 '16 at 16:33
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    Sometimes I have even found my solution by reading someone else's question => that is exactly why duplicate questions are closed. – scottbb Jul 9 '16 at 2:27
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    If you start being that particular about limiting reader's ability to ask, you will send people elsewhere to get solutions. => We're already that particular because if we're not, the quality of the site will decrease and everyone will go elsewhere. Questions and answers should serve not just the person asking, but everyone who comes after them. Hiding questions in answers to other questions makes them harder to find and less useful for everyone else. – Caleb Dec 7 '16 at 18:34

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