Sorry that I've been inactive for awhile but I've been going through the unanswered questions. I started noticing a pattern. A lot of the unanswered questions are only two to three sentences long and are usually from a new user below 200 points. Would there be someway to try to limit these by either setting a minimum length to a question or a threshold for inactivity on user account below 200. Many times there is no response after the first question. Like I've said it's been awhile so do these get purged eventually?

Obviously we wouldn't want to discourage new users but I feel a lack of answers to their question is probably just as discouraging as having to do a few extra steps to post a question. Also I feel these weak questions as I call them lead to more bad questions or from people not investing in this site.

Let's read some thoughts on the matter.

Examples: High rated user two sentence question. https://movies.stackexchange.com/questions/11935/why-does-he-kidnap-women

This one shows what I'm talking about a bit better. It's not a bad question but it's one sentence and kind of leads to a yes no answer. Where did all the furniture that was in the villa come from?


  • 1
    Can you maybe give an example of a question you deem too short to be answerable?
    – magnattic
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 21:11
  • It's not that questions are unanswerable exactly it's that they haven't been answered. Attempts to answer usually haven't even been made. Commented May 21, 2014 at 21:55
  • The problem is that this isn't easily fixable with as strict/technical a rule as minimum question length. It's about a detailed and explanative question. If that is doable with 10 words (exaggeration intended), then be it so. Rather than imposing such hard limits, we should encourage people to, well, write good questions. But of course I know that we're already doing this and this doesn't change anything. But I also don't think a hard minimum question length would change much at all. Either it's too big and you can't write proper short questions, or it's too small and of no use at all.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 3:19
  • And in fact all the examples you provide seem to be reasonable questions, where an artificial elongation wouldn't add so much (even if it wouldn't hurt either, I guess). We had much worse and longer stuff than that. While it might be that shorter questions tend to be worse, those examples don't look as if their lack of answers is really caused by the shortness and they are IMHO quite poorly chosen to underline your point, I think.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 9:58
  • They do seem like reasonable questions especially when viewed one at a time. It was only when going through all of the unanswered questions that I noticed a common theme of short length questions and low score users. Then I thought well is there a way to improve this without discouraging new users. This is just my suggestion that's why I just put it up for discussion. These aren't the worst questions I ran across but I thought they were typical and showed what I meant well enough. Also noticed not a lot of upvoting for decently asked questions or answers but that just needs to be encouraged. Commented May 22, 2014 at 13:38

2 Answers 2


I doubt that technical restrictions will force an unwilling user to write more elaborate questions.

They are more likely to just bypass the restriction (e.g. by adding useless text until the minimum of characters is reached).

It would be more useful to show a text to the user asking him to elaborate, if his text is very short. And if he does not want to, he could ignore it and submit anyway.

There are certain cases where there just is not more to say and the question in itself is succinct and clear. It should be possible to ask those short questions without adding noise.

For questions that are too short to be answered clearly, we already have a review queue: enter image description here

Very short posts get listed there automatically, and this allows us to ask the op to add more information or close the question, if he is unwilling to.

  • +1 - Much better answer to the deeper question hidden behind the technical query.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 17:19
  • My biggest gripe with questions on this site is only to do with the identify-this questions. Although it would be a site-only action and thus will never happen, it would be helpful to have a mechanism to only allow submission of questions if they included an approximate year, country of filming etc. It's ridiculous how many of the questions provide basic details and are only answered after further prompting. Commented May 23, 2014 at 11:23
  • Should be no problem to enforce this as a policy ourselves. Just put a sample form of minimum information needed to a vote on meta, we can put it in the FAQ/Help and questions not including this basic information will get closed after a grace period. With some luck new users will take an example of the form of similar questions and include the info from the start. If we don't enforce it on questions, of course the next user won't know about it either.
    – magnattic
    Commented May 23, 2014 at 11:51

So there is a minimal requirement to all the fields in a question.

Below, I attempted to post a question to Meta without much in it at all:

enter image description here


  • Title -> 15 Char min

  • Body -> 30 Char min

  • Tags -> At least 1

These are defaults Network Wide.

As far as increasing them. I'm not sure if that is something that can be done on a site-by-site basis, but regardless this is a dev issue and I'll push it up to some that can provide that kind of info :)

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