This is a hard one, and I think every SE site struggles with it. When a site is so large that it has a broad user base and gets many questions a day, closing and downvoting occur quickly enough to encourage better questions in the culture of that community (on SO, they don't accept "gimme teh codez" questions (or so I'm told; I only understand spoken languages); on EL&U, we quickly close questions where basic resources haven't been consulted, etc. Questions like that tend to exasperate a significant proportion of the regular users and decrease morale on the site.
There are questions here that, although I'm very certain that they are being asked for good reasons and with good intentions (one of them being to provide questions), are not particularly good for this site.
Examples I would consider to belong to that group:
- What is Dengue Fever? (too basic)
- How many Scabies mites do I need to come into contact with before I become infected? (This is much less useful information than, say, can I get scabies from shaking hands with someone who has it? In other words, it might be interesting, but it's esoteric.)
- I just noticed a red rash on my back (I don't look at my back that often, so I have no idea how long it's been there.) What can it be? (We need a whole lot more info, and it's probably OT for being personal medical question.)
Does anyone have any suggestions on how we can encourage better questions at this early stage without also discouraging people?
One suggestion I made on another post about answering the wrong question was to ask people to define what they are asking about before they state the question. I think that would help.
For example, in the above examples, they would need to state
Dengue Fever is virus transmitted by mosquitoes in the tropics. (Can't ask the original question.)
The second one does not meet the criteria of "Focus on questions about an actual problem you have faced." No one that I know has actually had to choose between exposing themselves to 5 or 50 scabies mites.
If someone googles "what is a rash", the first page of the first hit already states numerous possible causes after it defines a rash.
Having said all this, I don't know how to implement this unless many of us commit to one thing or another, comment requesting further information, and respect the comment under the OP's question. Is this even possible?
Does anyone else feel that the quality of the questions can use some improvement?