Related to this discussion about creating some specific guidance on what is on-topic here and what is not, when a user hits "Ask a question" (on main) he or she sees

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To the right, the question "Is your question about economics?" is I believe sufficiently visible. But then, functionality deteriorates: some vague phrases and then a link to the help center.

Proposal: Immediately below "Is your question about economics?" a link with the text "See what is on-topic in economics.se" (or similar) sending the user to the FAQ / welcome page, where we are discussing inserting a text with focused on-topic guidance.

RESPONSE TO @Ana's comment-question:
A new user finds this site. She decides to ask a question and clicks "Ask Question". There are good chances that "Is your question about economics?" will catch her eye. The problem is, she honestly believes that already - so why loose time searching further into the pink box and its links?

We need to alert the user to the fact that her existing belief (that her question is on topic here), may not be true after all. And making people questioning even the smallest of their beliefs requires a strong message.

So if immediately below "Is your question about economics?" there is the message "See what is on-topic in economics.se", her eye will catch that too. It is only now that she receives a clear message that there are some rules and guidelines here that may make her question off-topic after all. If it is clickable, the chances are visibly increased that she will click the link, and go directly to the place where what is on-topic/off-topic is detailed.

In my (professional and private) experiences from on-line user behavior, such "blink-of-the-eye" optimization of signalling and communication brings results: the user may end up not asking a question after all, or she will attempt to modify the question according to the guidance given.

I expect that statistically, this will reduce the noise created by questions that are off-topic, low-quality, too-broad, opinion-requests, it will increase the quality of on-topic questions, and that it will also help new users feel more at home from the beginning.

ALSO: Even "How to Ask" at the top of the pink box is confusing the message. Perhaps it would be better to headline the pink box with "Is your question about economics?"

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting idea. What do you expect, or hope, the result of that change to be? $\endgroup$
    – Ana
    Jul 29, 2015 at 14:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Ana Hi Ana. I added an argument backing my proposal. $\endgroup$ Jul 29, 2015 at 15:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Ana Hi Ana. Any news on this proposal? $\endgroup$ Sep 7, 2015 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ Thank for you bringing this to my attention again. These are some excellent points, I'm aiming to get back to you with a solid 'yay' or 'nay' in the next day or two. $\endgroup$
    – Ana
    Sep 9, 2015 at 22:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Ana Thanks, Ana. $\endgroup$ Sep 9, 2015 at 22:54
  • $\begingroup$ a followup question: have there been systemic problems with folks not understanding site scope? You reasoning in general makes a lot of sense, but I'm wondering how this has played out on Econ.SE specifically. My goal here isn't to be a stickler, but we try hard to remain consistent in the text in the "How to Ask" box, and not change it willy-nilly. In order to make this happen for you, I'm trying to tease out how it would alleviate problems for this community specifically. :) $\endgroup$
    – Ana
    Sep 9, 2015 at 23:04
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Ana Yes. A lot of questions that should go to Personal Finance site, a lot of questions that ask ridiculously broad questions, a lot of questions that can only get opinion-based answers. Economics interests everybody because they understand how much the economy affects their lives, and they try to make some sense. But this is hopeless, will turn the site into -at best- a philosophical ranting place. And this, while our traffic is low. (CONTD) $\endgroup$ Sep 10, 2015 at 1:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Ana CONTD My essential request is "please find a way to send people to the FAQ page whether they want it or not" (so to speak). The more specific proposals is just my attempt to facilitate this, you can perfectly ignore it, if it spoils network-wide homogeneity that SE wishes to maintain. But, please, find a way. $\endgroup$ Sep 10, 2015 at 1:29


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