6

I've been here for a while and I often see drivers requests here. I took a look at this question and it's basically it. OP just asks drivers for his printer.

A quick search on Google for it pops up the HP page (not quite, that specific printer latest drivers are for Windows XP, so it will be more difficult to install that printer on a newer system) for the drivers. It's pretty straightforward, isn't it? Then, to help him, we just copy the link that we got from the search and paste into a comment.

I think it's kinda useless (these questions) because:

  1. It will only be useful for those who have the exact same printer model.
  2. It can be outdated because OS have updates (e.g. Windows 7 to 10) and the current driver given can not work on a newer OS.

For me, these questions should be closed. Maybe we could create a custom close flag for this (where, in the description, will be given a quick explanation on how to search for drivers).

It also helps the user this way because in the next time the user knows how to search for drivers.

Any opinions?

Update: Found this answer by harrymc that I found very useful (it's basically a guide) to this topic. Maybe we could create a Q&A topic here and link it when a question like this pops out?

  • 1
    Question should be closed. The proper action is to fla for moderator attention or vote to close the question as being out of scope. The driver shouldn’t be supplied, and if a potentially harmful link is provided, it should be flagged. – Ramhound May 8 '18 at 22:32
  • @Ramhound I agree on you, but atleast, when we close the question try to somehow help him to try it himself and explain why drivers shouldn't be supplied by us. – CaldeiraG May 10 '18 at 11:52
  • 1
    Could you pretty please edit the title to say ‘requests for hardware drivers’? – can-ned_food May 21 '18 at 17:45
  • @can-ned_food Done. – CaldeiraG May 22 '18 at 14:44
11

My biggest issue with those questions:

1. lack of effort

"How to ask a good question" is quite clear on it:

Have you thoroughly searched for an answer before asking your question? Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers

I know sometimes even phrasing the question well is already difficult, however in this case anybody finds superuser and can type a question should also be able to google for "printer xy driver OS z".

  • I think majority of OPs requesting driver just don't take the effort to look for it
  • other case can be that OP finds too many pages and doesn't have the time to read through them. Asking for the driver this case means OP expect us to do their job, clearly off-topic here.
  • sometimes - as you mentioned too - there is no driver for the specific OS, multiple version ... If the OP has already searched then all these information can be included in the question, and the question won't be off-topic anymore. Instead it'll be a well-written, on-topic question.

2. link-only

Link only answers are not preferred here and for good reasons. For driver recommendations we can only give link only answers, so the site can't even contain the answer (driver itself)

3. product recommendation

What should you do?

  • When I see an off-topic question my first action is to vote for closing it.
    In my opinion the quicker a question is closed the sooner low-quality answers are prevented and its author is warned that question has an issue. Also close explanation always contains a link to help center, so OP can learn how to improve.
  • you can always write a comment suggesting to google for it (or just a link to this question:) ). Anyway if really keen to find the answer then OP can also write a comment asking for further support and we can help finding the direction.

Maybe we could create a custom close flag for this (where, in the description, will be given a quick explanation on how to search for drivers).

Unfortunately there are a lot of types of off-topic questions which occurs frequently, there is just no place to add a custom flag for all of them.

Also, I don't think one user would ask driver recommendation several times, they are different users asking for it once. As they don't google for the driver itself, they will also not browse previous driver recommendation questions. So I don't think having a custom close flag would help to decrease the number of such questions.

  • 3
    This answer raises a good point (actually several). If the answer is just a link to a driver, it's a bad question. I agree that it's an on-topic question in cases where an actual solution is required. For example, there is no driver available, but the driver for a different printer might work, or the OP didn't properly install the driver and the solution is instructions on how to do it right, or there is some other workaround to explain. But the OP needs to include a good explanation of why it isn't just a request for a link. – fixer1234 May 10 '18 at 23:19
  • 1
    @fixer1234 I agree: Good example are the numerous existing questions on USB-serial drivers (e.g. FTDI and Prolific). In many cases finding the correct driver for one of those is very problematic for the average user as there are a gazillion drivers and versions out there. In some cases the user has (unwittingly) a knock-off product that will only work with a very specific (older) version of a given driver. To consider those off-topic... That's not nice. For the general "I'm to lazy to Google" we can always close for "not enough research". – Tonny May 12 '18 at 9:57
1

There is no doubt that those question should be closed to maintain the quality of community. I am 100% agree about them.

But as OP requests, creating custom flag(where, in the description, will be given a quick explanation on how to search for drivers) is good to help them.

According to Mate those questions are "lack of effort". Yes they are.

But my opinion is they simple don't know how to search on Google or they don't know they can find the drivers just searching on Google.

If they know it, they never ask those questions in forum wasting their time. So I think adding custom flag is good. Or adding automatic comment like "You can simply find answer just searching this on Google" when closing questions.

  • 2
    We are not a forum, nor should we be responsible to teach other people, how to use Google. If the question cannot be modified to be within the scope, then the question should be asked and answered, in a different community other then Superuser. There are only so many close reasons we can have, that is a hard limit, and questions seeking drivers are not common enough to warrant their own close reason. – Ramhound May 22 '18 at 17:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .