We get questions like this all the time, where someone wants us to draw something for them in TikZ or some other graphics package, without providing a minimal working example. I'm wondering whether there could be an automated notification encouraging to provide an MWE while entering such a question. I would propose the following:

If a user tries to submit a question containing an image and no block of code, they should receive some feedback explaining that they should provide a MWE and possibly linking to some further information about this issue. This could be an error message that returns them to the editing window or an "Are you sure? Your question is not likely to be answered."-Yes/No-dialog.

  • +1 for a reasonable request. However, I'm not 100%. We're a small site and we seem to manage to handle things smoothly. I can't say I like do-it-for-me questions, so if it really aimed at lowering their number, then maybe. But I get the feeling that it won't really have the effect...
    – yo'
    Feb 23, 2015 at 22:46

2 Answers 2


This is going to be difficult, since it doesn't fall within the generic realm of StackExchange - site-specific features.

Instead I propose we create a generic question that has a flavour and answer it in a generic way, pointing to some FAQs about usages for packages, other SE sites and even third-party applications. That way one can close the question as a duplicate and move on.

If the OP feels that it isn't a duplicate, they will be forced to update their post before anything else can be suggested answer-wise, making it cycle through the "Reopen review queue" and be eligible to be answered.

The above does fit within the SE model and is community-driven.

So, what happens when someone tags a question for which the person voting to close has a gold tag badge? Well then, the dupehammer will close the post instantly, making it less of a community-effort, right? In those instances, one would assume that the one wielding the dupehammer will at least take the effort to make sure that it's a duplicate. I doubt whether that will be a problem though.

  • Fair point, although it still doesn't prevent from people asking these questions.
    – Turion
    Feb 23, 2015 at 23:49
  • 8
    @Turion: You can't prevent people from asking questions, regardless of how lame they are. That's just it... users with 1 rep can ask a question or answer a question, and always will.
    – Werner Mod
    Feb 23, 2015 at 23:54
  • A prime example of lame posts are spam, which happens all the time; across the entire network. Typically they come from users with rep 1. These things are swiftly dealt with by community members.
    – Werner Mod
    Feb 24, 2015 at 0:02
  • No, for example you can't ask a question with too short a title or no tags. A question with an image and no code could be handled the same way.
    – Turion
    Feb 24, 2015 at 14:15
  • @Turion It could not be handled the same way, because short title is always bad. A question with an image and no code need not be bad. We've had couple of these for identification of a symbol that can't be found anywhere by default, for instance. So it has to be a warning only, and then the people tend to quite ignore it anyways.
    – yo'
    Feb 24, 2015 at 21:36
  • Although it doesn't prevent people from asking minimal effort questions, this idea does allow us to quickly vote it as a duplicate, rather than dithering over whether it's 'too broad', etc.
    – ChrisS
    Feb 26, 2015 at 6:46

Too long for a comment

I’m not very active in the moment on TeX.sx (to be slightly euphemistic), so I may have missed something, but you could add a comment below the question. You can already find some suggestions in the “Text building blocks” question – in current version you can find:

I want to do something very complicated: "Just do it for me"

Minimal effort / homework questions

"Just do it for me" graphics questions

No one is forced to use them at all, and can also use them partially or only as basic template for own words.

Though, in the past there was often the issue, that someone added one of these blocks, but nethertheless others gave valuable answers, what looks in my opinion later rather ridiculous – the comment could on the other hand still be deleted.

(Well, sh*t happens. Again and again.)


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