I've only been active (again) on the site for the past couple of weeks, and an awful lot of the programming questions I see contain:
- an explanation of what someone's doing, possibly making vague references to some troubles they're having along the way
- some code
- a question of "any ideas?" or "thoughts?"
The problem is: these questions don't state what problem they're asking us for assistance with. This site isn't intended to work like code review (I think) where we look for arbitrary things to point out — we need to be pointed in the direction of what kinds of answers we should be providing. It's not clear if the troubles they're describing are what they currently need help with, especially when they describe multiple.
I've recently been casting close votes of these as Unclear. Some examples:
- How do I duplicate the Candy Crush level menu in Objective-C or Swift?
- Quaternion.LookRotation on z-up gameEngine
- C++ Class to Void Pointer, Data Lost?
- Determining If a Point is Within Bounds
- Accelerometer for x at any angle
- Insert 3d text to the front face of a cube GameObject (I think)
Many of these don't seem to get closed as unclear or get much attention at all. I've had mixed success leaving comments trying to get them improved. I think questions like this lower the apparent quality of the site, and at least for me it's frustrating because it makes it harder to find pearls among the sand. (An overabundance of poor quality programming questions was, in fact, why I previously went inactive.)
Is there something we can do to improve close rates & handling of these questions? Would we benefit from a version of Stack Overflow's "no clear problem statement" off topic close reason to succinctly state our requirements to people?
(This is a genuine question, since I'm relatively new back to the site after a while & I will not have as good an overall picture of the site's circumstances as all of you reading this. I'm open to the idea I might be concerned over nothing serious, or that the close reason will be a poor way to go about handling this.)
The text of Stack Overflow's "no clear problem statement" close reason:
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. See: How to create a Minimal, Complete, and Verifiable example.
We don't need the "reproduceable code" portion of this since we have the following close reason already:
Questions about debugging a problem must provide a minimal, complete, verifiable example of the issue so that readers can diagnose it without needing to guess, read all of your code, or engage in extensive back-and-forth dialog. For more information, see this meta thread.