We get a lot of questions that fall into some common themes, like BSOD, network issues, USB issues, flash drive issues, laptop battery/power pack issues, etc. Often, the person will be clueless about what information would be needed for someone to help, or how to get it. Over and over, the first many comments explain how to obtain the needed information.

It would be useful to have some help topics that we can immediately point them to; sort of like the "how to ask a question" help, but guidance specific to classes of questions that explain not just what information to supply, but how to get it. Often, the diagnostic steps, or common fixes to try that could be included in the information, solve the problem.

Here is an example of such a link on the Windows Forum: How To Ask For Help With a BSOD Problem. They incorporated a tool they borrowed from the Windows 7 Forums to capture the essential information. However, it doesn't need to be that sophisticated for every class of problem. It can be as simple as a list of basic information needed and the steps to obtain it. Where appropriate, it could include simple diagnostics to perform. Here is a similar example from the Windows 7 Forums: How to get BSOD and crash debugging assistance.

Has there been any discussion of this in the past? Is there a readily available mechanism to support it? If not, could it be done as community wiki questions on Meta?

  • meta.superuser.com/questions/6801/… this is what I did. Could have sworn I had gotten a more positive response ;p
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Feb 15, 2015 at 12:22
  • @JourneymanGeek - That's more in the vein of standard answers. What I'm suggesting could contain some common fixes to try as part of the diagnostics, which might solve the problem, but the purpose is to help the OP ask the question with enough information provided that it can be answered.
    – fixer1234
    Feb 15, 2015 at 17:20
  • How about an up-and-running flag for posts which could be upped for generic answers which aren't speific to the user but give them a few pointers so their eventual question will be a bit better informed?
    – Hektor
    Feb 15, 2015 at 23:56


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