I've been to so many forums on computers over the years an one thing always stands out.

The Lack of information.

Take this recent question for example: https://superuser.com/questions/750311/how-can-i-decrease-the-boot-time-in-my-laptop

The person is obviously not a computer enthusiast so did not include basic info about the computer. It would have been lovely if there was a picture or even a iPhone video of the system booting up.

Usually there is two paths leading to a solution:

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  • 3
    SuperUser is not a forum. Commented May 6, 2014 at 13:20
  • It may be rejected for being too general but.. it can be answered IMO. I used a great program to analyze a slowdown in booting XP. It's a reasonable answer to say "The following program works for XP, and may work for Windows 7. " You can just answer with answers as good as you know for some popular operating systems. They may well be a HUGE enthusiast, that isn't just interested in their particular laptop. If they want something very specific, then tough, they ask a general question, they don't get an answer just for one specific thing.
    – barlop
    Commented May 6, 2014 at 13:53
  • You can use the word 'if' in an answer. If you have this. If you have that. For some reasonably common situations, or if you want, all variations of general case. Though indeed.. they don't like general questions here that much and such a general question may be rejected or clarification requested. I've sure i've answered a general question before and had an answer accepted while others are moaning for more information. Sometimes a general answer is all they need and they can fill in the blanks for their specific case. Remember that too specific can be rejected too.
    – barlop
    Commented May 6, 2014 at 13:55
  • Ok so you have questions with pretty pictures instead of actual textual information, therefore stymieing searches, leading to people posting dupes. Commented May 6, 2014 at 18:28
  • Excellent observation. +1
    – user1061912
    Commented May 10, 2020 at 21:00

2 Answers 2


Hey, here's an interesting idea.

  • 1
    Sorry, you must have less than 1000 words in an answer at any given time Commented May 6, 2014 at 15:53
  • 1
    They say "A picture is worth a thousand words". This one is only worth one. Commented May 6, 2014 at 21:36

The status quo:

  1. User posts bad question.
  2. Flow-chart occurs as in your first image.
  3. Sadness.

With picture promotion:

  1. User posts bad question, ignoring the helpful neon lights and <blink> tags pushing for a picture of the problem. ("Take a moment to lear--Reading? What is this outlandish concept? I don't want to read. I WNAT ASNWER!!11shiftone!")
  2. Flow-chart occurs as in your first image.
  3. Sadness.

Being serious (well, slightly more so,) what makes you think that a user who already ignores all the tremendously helpful information about how to ask that they are already given will suddenly pull up short and take notice of yet one more thing in the interface? This is the Internet. It doesn't work that way.

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