Very often we get questions which reference
TeX code without any code being present.
In many cases, the answer requires a MWE for the answerer to continue on, but it hasn't got a MWE.
However, if one could review questions into requiring a MWE for obviously trivial things, would that be a good idea?
Her are my thoughts about how it could be implemented:
- A possible answerer see a question which would benefit from a MWE. In that case he flags it as "MWE required" and it gets to the review process.
- If it succeeds in the review (i.e. flag accepted) the question will be closed for answers until an edit has been made. Also an automatic comment will be attached linking to "What is an MWE?", "How to generate a good MWE?", "Why is a MWE required?". Furthermore, if the questioneer, adds a comment below his question, the reviewers who made the decision will get notified so as to take action on any requests, etc.
Now there are two possibilities after the edit:
- It is re-opened for answers (I lend towards this, as it lessens the burden for the reviewers)
- It gets back in the review pile (to ensure a suitable MWE).
- If it succeeds, there will be a bar under the questions which is there to inform other answeres about the request for a MWE. Then they can decide whether they wish to answer or not.
This review process has a couple of drawbacks:
- The burden of the community increases, as a lot more reviewing takes place.
- It might frighten some people away from this Q&A, if they keep getting "Needs an MWE" when they dont know about to create one. (however, this will be leveraged through comments with the user)
- This will only work if the review process goes faster than any answerers post an answer, but just as a close(x) flag is apparent on the question frame, so could MWE required(x) /MWE(x) be.
- A flood of MWE required could pose a potential stall for any answers on the site.
- The quality of the questions will be raised, as they will be more specific, with examples.
- Newcomers will immediately be introduced about how to ask questions via SE standards (or at least TeX.SE).
- Will increase quality of answers as it already introduces some code which should be explained (instead of just one-line answers with no or limited explanation) (also please elaborate on this opinion)
- Very simple questions could receive extra attention as it leads to more detailed discussion about the inner-workings of TeX (often a MWE example shows what the person was thinking rather than what the person would want). This is a future benefit for other having the same problem.
- Also in regards of
TikZ(which is a heavily active question topic) it will be clearer for answerers to see what the questioneer actually is doing (
TikZis so complicated that any drawing has nearly unlimited number of possibilities).
Even if the review was wrongly justified, a simple edit would bring it to an active state again.
I am very much in doubt whether this is a good idea or not, but at least I would like to hear your opinion on this.
I also think that the community on this site would not stall due to the above method. People are nice about things here (and of course the way it is presented to the questioneer should not be "DO THIS YOU ...", but more like "Users xxx,xxx,xx,xx and xx suggests that you provide a MWE. This will show them exactly what your question is about as there could be ambiguities... etc. "