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We're probably all familiar with the problems that the "identify-this-x" tags cause (low quality, rambling posts often with little to no information on the thing to be identified). We also know that many people posting these questions don't read the suggestions that we already have for how to write them well. I'm wondering if it would be possible to do some automated checking of questions to help improve them before they get posted?

For example, if you enter a question title or an answer that is too short, when you attempt to post, you'll see a warnings saying that you need to enter more information:

Title is too short

I see some common problems with "identify this" posts:

  1. Common titles that have no information in them, like "Need help finding movie". A search of past original titles for these questions may point out some patterns.
  2. No dates at all in a post, or worse, vague phrases like "when I was a kid" or "several years ago"
  3. Rambling run-on sentences with no punctuation (or only commas, no periods)
  4. No mention of language or country of origin or viewing

If we could detect some of these things are missing, it should be possible to make a warning similar to the above one asking the user for specific information that's missing. Is something like that possible? And do you think it would be useful to implement?

  • There is already a popup appearing and asking if the OP has included all required details. – A J May 15 '17 at 6:37
  • Interesting! I don't recall seeing it before. Is it triggered by them being missing or does it appear for all "identify-this" posts? – user1118321 May 15 '17 at 6:49
  • @AJ however that check is (to my knowledge) done only if the user has used the correct tag which the mods can set up. doing a check via the question body is something SE Programmers probably will need to do and i would assume that effort goes towards SO (ie, the check for mostly code questions or fiddle links) – Memor-X May 15 '17 at 6:49
  • @Memor-X Yes. It appears only when one has tagged the question with one of Identify-this-X tags. – A J May 15 '17 at 6:54
  • It's definitely not optimal that the users need to use the right tag to trigger said popup in the first place, but on the other hand it's not that easy to check if something is an ID question just from text analysis of the question body alone. (Or at least I don't think it's something the SE people really feel like investing much work into, especially when it's just treating the symptoms rather than the disease itself.) Interesting question nevertheless, even if it might just be wishful thinking. – Napoleon Wilson May 15 '17 at 8:46
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    Testing for good grammar is a bad idea. There is no way to tell if someone is being lazy with grammar and spelling versus someone who is struggling to participate when English is not their native tongue. As a person who is somewhat of a stickler on grammar, I also have a high order of sympathy for those who are trying. And it's not just for ID questions. – John May 15 '17 at 15:03
  • @NapoleonWilson There are actually two pop-ups... there's one if the title of the question has "movie" in it (I think that's how it was set up, anyway) and there's a second one if you use any of the identify tags... – Catija May 15 '17 at 19:52

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