To continue the 'attempt to get bad answers converted to questions' front ...

Why isn't there some sort of simple test for first time users to look at their 'answer' and check to see if it looks like it might be a question?

See for instance https://cooking.stackexchange.com/a/51623/67 :

What can I use as a binder then I will put all and mix the binder mix it togeater and bake again?

What do U think of that?? Willie

Three question marks in two lines of text ... at the very least for something like that, prompt them when it's their first post, asking them if it's an answer to the question, or if they should post it as a new question.

  • 2
    That's a good idea
    – Jolenealaska Mod
    Dec 16, 2014 at 19:35
  • Hasn't that been implemented?
    – Jolenealaska Mod
    Jan 30, 2016 at 9:04

1 Answer 1


Simple, naive checks like simply looking for question marks, for referenced here, are very hit-or-miss between not catching people who do ask questions and just fail to use the punctuation, while catching legitimate answerers who just like particular turns of phrase. That said, the answer you provided was actually placed in two review queues prior to getting flagged (which ultimately led to action being taken).

So here's a funny thing though.

This question speaks to the general idea of trying to detect questions in answers from new users. The short of it is, we do in fact try to detect when a user is posting a question as an answer and either try to tell them right then, or toss it into the review queue.

But we literally don't have this turned on here. And after asking about it internally, none of us have any idea why it's not turned on. So now it's on. And hopefully this should start making it much easier to deal with these kinds of problem "answers".

  • I know it's prone to problems ... that's why I was suggesting an extra prompt they'd have to click through, not necessarily banning it outright. I would assume that guiding people when they have a chance to fix it would be loads better than immediately deleting their question because they failed to follow some norm that they hadn't been told about.
    – Joe
    Feb 3, 2016 at 17:35
  • That being said ... thank you for turning it on. Are there any other special things like that which are currently disabled here?
    – Joe
    Feb 3, 2016 at 17:36
  • We certainly had some kind of low quality heuristic turned on, I have handled many flags produced by it. But an additional one is probably a good thing. Thanks for enabling it.
    – rumtscho Mod
    Feb 3, 2016 at 18:35
  • 1
    I wonder if this is why everyone else seemed to think this wasn't a real problem (and all the questions as answers were super low quality) while we seem to keep running into it?
    – Cascabel Mod
    Feb 3, 2016 at 22:59
  • 2
    So... it just shows them the "how to answer" page? I can't help but notice that there's nothing there that links to or even mentions "ask a question". That's understandable, since it's a "how to answer" page not a "how to answer or ask" page but... maybe it is not the best response specifically for the question-as-answer case? (Autoflagging for review is nice, but that ultimately leads to deletion, since we can't convert answers to questions.)
    – Cascabel Mod
    Feb 3, 2016 at 23:05
  • @Jefromi : yeah, I was hoping to have their submission redirected as a question ... just telling 'em how to answer a question is kinda useless if you don't tell the people where they're supposed to go. (and now downvoting this answer, as it didn't do what I wanted)
    – Joe
    Feb 3, 2016 at 23:14
  • I see an autoflagged low quality answer in the queue now that says they were shown "how to answer" - good to know they're seeing that page now, even if they skip it. Thank you!
    – Cascabel Mod
    Feb 4, 2016 at 3:26

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