# How to encourage better questions?

Many questions on this site are things like this:

This code is giving me a problem because it keeps saying \$ERROR. What's wrong?

Ridiculously long dump of code that doesn't help anyone see the actual problem.


Those are bad questions because they will get fewer answers, and will help fewer people in the future. No one will search for this other person's code, and no one wants to read through a bunch of poorly-indented, poorly-written, mostly-irrelevant code to diagnose a problem.

Aside from not upvoting these questions, how do we encourage these people to trim their code down to the essential bits and ask better questions now and in the future? Fundamentally, how do we create a culture of good questions here at SFSE?

Should we have a standard comment to post to encourage better questions?

Should we go ahead and trim the fat for them?

Should we do both?

Is there something else?

• I think in SO this is called "plz-send-me-codez" – Charles Koppelman Nov 25 '14 at 19:15

Most of these questions come from new members of SF.SE. We've had discussions for some time now on how to encourage new users to be "good citizens" in a way that encourages them to come back and stick around. Because you don't yet have the reputation to access the review queue, you wouldn't necessarily be aware that "First Posts" by users along with "Low Quality Posts" which have been flagged by the system and automatically sent for review are looked at and edited by Users who have at least 500 reputation.

Any community member can edit posts to improve them for readability and appropriate content (remove sig lines, etc). If you don't have the reputation to approve your own edits (2000 rep), those posts will go into the Suggested Edits queue for someone with sufficient points to approve those edits, thus spreading the work of managing the forum around to more people and improving the overall quality of it's content.

Many new users don't know how to properly use our editor to format their code. In fact, you'll often find upon editing a post, that code was included which then became hidden because it wasn't formatted. So, by all means, when you see a post that needs help, jump in and do what you can if you have the knowledge to edit the post.

Finally, one of the things that was suggested months ago to be welcoming to new users while also teaching them how to use the forum, was to comment as appropriate beneath problematic posts with something along these lines:

Welcome to SF.SE (user name). Please take the time to visit [Help] and take our [Tour] to better understand how this forum works, including How do I ask a good question. We want your experience here to be a positive one where you'll be able to receive the answers you need and contribute to the community if you choose to. Thank you.

I use variations on the above as appropriate. Another one you'll see me use includes:

"Your question is asking for other people to write code for you, without presenting a real question or issue. SFSE is a Q&A forum where we look to help each other by asking and answering questions that are real problems or errors. If you need assistance learning the Salesforce technical environment," I'll then add references that link to appropriate training resources relevant to the question.

Needless to say, there are many ways of handling these issues that are in place. I hope you see them being used. As you gain reputation, I suspect you'll get the opportunity to utilize and see more of them. Don't forget, you also have the ability to flag posts that need moderation.