Questions that begin with a bunch of code are not useful for readers when they are listed on the Question List.

The following screenshot shows an example of question that begins with code. Does it look useful at a glance?

enter image description here

Should we forbid people to make a question that begins with a bunch of code?

At least the first two line should not contain codes because these two lines will appear on the Question List.


Good idea. However, I don't think we can forbid people to do it, just discourage them. If the question would get summarized in the first two lines than the overview page would be much more useful. We should add this to our guidelines how to wrote posts. (There should also be one that says that edits shouldn't be marked with bold "Update" headlines but simply be merged with the existing text. ;-) )

  • +1 I see. I will update my post to conform to this guide.
    – xport
    Jun 7 '11 at 9:54
  • I disagree about clearly marked updates. I think it's helpful to quickly see what has changed in response to comments. Otherwise you get a question and a bunch of no longer meaningful comments.
    – TH.
    Jun 9 '11 at 12:31
  • @TH.: There might be cases where an update marking is good, but it is definitively overused by some. I remember a post which was edited three times in the first 15min of its creation and had three fat level-1 "Update n" headlines at his end. All of some adding one line or so. Also some answer change quite a bit and then they have an outdated solution first, then an update line and then the new solution, which is quite messy.
    – Martin Scharrer Mod
    Jun 9 '11 at 12:47

I wouldn't edit a question specifically to deal with the first two lines (though I would if neither the title nor these two lines gave any indication as to what the question was about) but if I were editing it anyway for some other reason then making these two lines more focussed is clearly a good thing to do.


It's a great idea, but I'd say forbid probably is a strong word. =) Sometimes (and I include myself on that list), users face questions that should be built from the ground, starting from a basic code which is relevant to the context. As an example, one of my questions started with "Consider the following code" mainly because I couldn't simply tell what I'd like to achieve before providing some background. The question description, when listed in the front page, was not useful at all, but I managed to give it a good title, so the question was somehow saved. IMHO the problem raises when both title and body are not descriptive. If the title is good enough, I'd probably say to leave the question as it is. Besides, some non-native english speakers (like me) have difficulties on providing a good summary. =)

PS: I'd like to write this text as a comment, but it exceeded the maximum lenght for that.

  • 1
    Here on meta the distinction between comment and answer is more fluid than on the main site. This sort of thing is fine as an "answer". Jun 7 '11 at 18:05

I would definitely encourage people to have excellent titles to their questions first and foremost. If the title is great, it might be OK for the post to start with code.

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