Copy-pastable comment text for common problems with questions?

Mark Booth always has some boilerplate comments (which are great) that he applies to any questions that aren't quite up to the standards of the site. Those comments usually include links and other helpful stuff, so if I want to borrow that text, it's not as easy as copy-pasting the displayed comment.

Can we post the source of that comment markup in this thread? At a minimum I'm thinking of the following canned responses:

1. "Welcome to R.SE, Can you make this more of an answerable question?"
2. "I've edited your question [to take advantage of feature X], does it look OK?"
3. "I've removed your pre-emptive thank you, or other superfluous conversational text you had in there"

(...and any other ones that you as reviewers have needed to say, and wanted to phrase in a nice way.)

3 Answers

Apparently there are userscripts to help with generating boilerplate, but I've never got around to working out how to use them or setting them up.

Below are a set of templates for common problems with posts.

Note:

• Comments below which are too long for a single comment should be edited down by removing the least relevant points rather than being split over multiple comments.
• Many of the templates below are deliberately longer than a single comment, as it is easier to remove irrelevant text from a longer template than have multiple comments all saying almost but not quite the same thing in several variations.

Closed questions

Shopping questions (Opinion-based)

This is a good comment to help explain why a shopping question has been closed as "Opinion-based":

Welcome to Robotics XXX, but I'm afraid that shopping questions really aren't a good fit for a stack exchange site. We prefer practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Take a look at How to Ask, about and the Robotics question checklist for more information on how stack exchange works.

This has the source text of:

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX, but I'm afraid that *[shopping questions](http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/qa-is-hard-lets-go-shopping/)* really aren't a good fit for a stack exchange site. We prefer *[practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask)*. Take a look at [ask] and [about] for more information on how stack exchange works, and the [*Robotics* question checklist](https://robotics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1302/37) for details of how to write a good question.

In addition, for questions which pre-suppose a solution, it might be good to add

In general it is better ask *How do I solve this problem?* than *What do I need to buy to solve my problem in this way?* as you may preclude answers providing better solutions.

Life Questions (Opinion-based)

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX, but I'm afraid that *Life Questions* are off-topic. Choosing how to spend your time (books to read, classes to take, projects to construct, career to pursue etc.) may be difficult, but it's specific to you, so unlikely to help future visitors. Questions like this are welcome in [chat] when you have the [privilege](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/privileges/chat). We prefer *[practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask)*, see [ask] & [about].

Polling Questions (Opinion-based)

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX, but I'm afraid that questions which ask about the Pros/cons or Advantages/disadvantages are effectively opinion polls, which are [discouraged on stack exchange](https://stackoverflow.blog/2011/01/17/real-questions-have-answers/). We prefer *[practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask)*, so questions which ask for a list of advantages & disadvantages for different options are off-topic. Please take a look at [ask] & [about] for more information on how stack exchange works.

Unbounded Design Questions (Needs more focus/Opinion-based)

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX, but I'm afraid that *Unbounded Design Questions* are off-topic because there are many ways to solve any given design problem. We prefer *[practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask)*, so questions which ask for a list of approaches or a subjective recommendation on a method (for how to build something, how to accomplish something, what something is capable of, etc.) are off-topic. Please take a look at [ask] & [about] for more information on how stack exchange works.

Show your working (Needs details or clarity)

This comes in two forms, use whichever is most appropriate

Problems with what you want to achieve

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX, but I'm afraid that it is not clear what you are asking. We prefer *[practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask)*, so it's a good idea to include details of what you want to achieve, what you tried, what you saw & what you expected to see. Please take a look at [ask] & [about] for more information on how stack exchange works and work through the [*Robotics* question checklist](https://robotics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1302/37) to edit your question to make it clearer.

Problems with what you want to understand

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX, but I'm afraid that it is not clear what you are asking. We prefer *[practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask)*, so it's a good idea to include details of what you want to understand, what you've researched so far, what you found & what you expected to find. Please take a look at [ask] & [about] for more information on how stack exchange works and work through the [*Robotics* question checklist](https://robotics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1302/37) to edit your question to make it clearer.

I can haz codes? questions. (Needs more focus/Needs details or clarity)

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX, but I'm afraid that questions asking for code are off-topic because there are many ways to solve any given coding problem. We prefer *[practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face](http://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask)*, so please try to include what you want to achieve, what you tried, what you saw & what you expected to see. Please take a look at [ask], [about] and the [*Robotics* question checklist](https://robotics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1302/37) for advice on writing a good question.

Questions which would require a book to answer (Needs more focus)

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX, but I'm afraid that questions which are as broad as this are off-topic because answers would need to be too long. As it says in [ask] *If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much*. We prefer *[practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face](http://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask)*, so please take a look at [ask], [about] and the [*Robotics* question checklist](https://robotics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1302/37) for advice on writing a good question.

Pre-sales or technical support questions

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX, but I'm afraid that questions which can only be answered by the pre-sales or technical support team for a specific manufacturer or supplier aren't a good fit for a stack exchange site. *[Practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask)* are always welcome here though, so if you edit your question to fit our community guidelines we can reopen it for you. Please take a look at [ask] and [about] for more information on how stack exchange works.

Questions by new users for closed for other reasons

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX, but I'm afraid that questions like this really aren't a good fit for a stack exchange site. We prefer *[practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask)*. Take a look at [ask] and [about] for more information on how stack exchange works. Also, the [*Robotics* question checklist](https://robotics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1302/37) has good advice on how to write a good question. If you edit your question to fit our community guidelines we can reopen it for you.

Prefer edits to comments

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX. On stack exchange, it is better to edit your question to add information requested in comments, rather than adding more comments. Comments are for helping to improve questions and answers, and are distracting, so we try to keep them to a minimum. If all of the information needed to answer the question is contained within it, the comments can be tidied up (deleted).

Homework questions

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX. This looks like a homework question, and on stack exchange, questions asking for homework help must include a summary of the work you've done so far to solve/understand the problem, and a description of the difficulty you are having solving/understanding it. Please edit your question to add this information and take a look at [ask] and [about] for more information on how stack exchange works. For advice on how to write a good question, see the [*Robotics* question checklist](https://robotics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1302/37).

Behaviour advice

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX, but please *[be honest|be nice|don't use signature, taglines, or greetings|avoid overt self promotion](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/behavior)*. For specific guidelines, see our [Code of Conduct](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/conduct).

Please remember that expletives are not acceptable on Stack Exchange except when the subject of the question is the expletive itself. [Rudeness and belittling language are not okay](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/be-nice), and that includes the use of derogatory expletives, even in an obfuscated form, see [Are expletives (cursing, swear words or vulgar language) allowed on SE sites?](https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/22233/138432)

Cross-posting

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX, but I'm afraid that [cross-posting the same question to multiple sites is not allowed](https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/64069/138432). If you find a better place to ask your question, please do not just ask your question a second time, instead flag it for the attention of a moderator who can migrate the question for you. Questions which are not considered on topic on the target site will have their migration rejected.

Thanks and other superfluous distractions

Adding a 'thanks in advance' section to a question is not required, we all tend to be thankful for the people helping us, and expect other people to be thankful too, so saying it just adds noise to the question and distracts people from the problem posed. It may seem counter intuitive, but excessive politeness can itself be impolite, as giving people extra text to read, even if they ignore it, is disrespectful of their time.

Answers

Answers need to answer the question (Questions)

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX. I'm afraid that on Stack exchange *answers* need to answer the question. If you have a related question, it should be asked as a new question (ideally referencing this one). We prefer *[practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask)*. Please take a look at [ask] and [about] for more information on how stack exchange works. For advice on how to write a good question, see the [*Robotics* question checklist](https://robotics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1302/37).

Answers need to answer the question (Discussions)

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX. I'm afraid that on StackExchange *answers* need to answer the question, we are not a discussion forum, we are a place to ask questions and get answers. If you wish to discuss a question or answer you can use [chat], when you have [chat privileges](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/privileges/chat). If you have an idea for how a question or answer can be improved, you can comment when you have [comment privileges](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/privileges/comment). If there is a serious problem with a question or answer you can flag it for moderator review. Please review [ask] and [about] for more information on how StackExchange works.

This will need editing down to remove irrelevant parts each time

Link only answers

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX. Thanks for your answer but we prefer answers to be self contained where possible. Links [tend to rot](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Link_rot) so answers which rely on a link can be rendered useless if the linked content disappears. If you add more context from the link, it is more likely that people will find your answer useful. See [answer] for more info.

Very short or one-line answers

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX. Thanks for your answer but we are looking for comprehensive answers that provide some explanation and context. Very short answers cannot do this, so please edit your answer to explain why it is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed. See [answer] for more info.

Prefer edits to comments

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX. On stack exchange, it is better to edit your answer to add information requested in comments, rather than adding more comments. Comments are for helping to improve questions and answers, and are distracting, so we try to keep them to a minimum. If all of the information needed to answer the question is contained within it, the comments can be tidied up (deleted).

Comments

Extended discussions.

On stack exchange, comments are not intended for extended discussions, they are for helping to improve questions and answers. Comments are distracting, so we try to keep them to a minimum. They should be considered ephemeral, any comment which no longer actively helps to improve a question or answer may be deleted at any time to *tidy up* a post. For extended discussion on a question or answer, please use [chat] when you have [chat privileges](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/privileges/chat).

Thanks and me too comments.

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX. Comments are for helping to improve questions and answers, and are distracting, so we try to keep them to a minimum. While it may seem nice to thank people for their questions or answers, *thanks* and *me too* comments are just noise. A better way to show your thanks would be to vote up the question or answer, which rewards the poster with a reputation boost. Comments should be considered ephemeral, any comment which no longer actively helps to improve a question or answer may be deleted at any time to *tidy up* a post.

Answers

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX. Comments are for helping to improve questions and answers, and are distracting, so we try to keep them to a minimum. Partial answers, or answers you aren't confident about should still be posted as answers, since they can be improved by future edits. Comments should be considered ephemeral, any comment which no longer actively helps to improve a question or answer may be deleted at any time to *tidy up* a post.

General

Duplicate accounts

It looks like you may have accidentally created two accounts (XXX & YYY). Stack Exchange only allows an individual to actively use one account, so please follow the instructions at [I accidentally created two accounts; how do I merge them?](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/merging-accounts) Note that moderators [can't merge accounts](https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/272251) for you, but may delete accounts they believe to be [sock puppets](https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/57685/138432).

MathJax availability

On *Robotics* we are fortunate enough to have MathJax support enabled, allowing you to easily create subscripts, superscripts, fractions, square roots, greek letters and more. This allows you to add both inline and block element mathematical expressions in *robotics* questions and answers. For a quick tutorial, take a look at [How can I format mathematical expressions here, using MathJax?](https://robotics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/130/37)

Overt self promotion

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX. The way this was written, it looks like you may be associated with the product being promoted, so please read [What kind of behavior is expected of users?](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/behavior) and [How not to be a spammer](https://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/promotion). The community here tends to vote down overt self-promotion and flag it as spam, but if you post good, relevant answers, then even if some (but not all) happen to be about your product, website or company, that’s okay. However, you *must* disclose any affiliation in your answers.

Edited links should provide context

When editing a question or answer to make bare URLs into links, please try to avoid using *here* or similar as the link text. Links [tend to rot](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Link_rot) and if this happens, *here* doesn't help anyone find the page. Often missing pages haven't been removed, they have just been moved to another location. If you give the page title as the link text then a search for that text will often find the new location.

English language site

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX but I'm afraid that Robotics Stack Exchange is an English Language site. Please translate your answer/question title.

Magic links

Comments have support for a variety of magic links, for the source of my first comment to this answer is:

... [ask], [answer], [about], meta [meta-about], [main], [meta], , [faq], meta [meta-faq], (e.g. [faq#dont-ask] dont-ask), [chat], [electronics.se], tag [tag:pid] and meta-tag [meta-tag:featured] ...

References

See also: Proposals for new Close reasons

Recording mine for future reference.

Don't shop

Hi XXX, and welcome to *robotics*.  Unfortunately *[shopping questions]
(http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/qa-is-hard-lets-go-shopping/)*
aren't something that a stack exchange site is good for. We prefer *[practical,
answerable questions based on actual problems that you
face](http://robotics.stackexchange.com/faq#dontask)*. Take a look at [ask] and
[about] for more information on how stack exchange works, and hopefully we can
modify this question into something a bit more answerable.


Edit vs comment

It is better to add information requested in comments by editing your question, that way the comments can be tidied up (deleted) and stop distracting people from the question.

Don't ask "what resources should I read to learn X"

This type of question would be great for [our chat
rooms](http://chat.stackexchange.com/), but for Q&A it's generally regarded as [not
constructive](http://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask): **"As it currently
stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to
be supported by facts, references, or specific expertise, but this question will
likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.**  There is a
[relevant discussion on this topic at our meta
site](http://meta.robotics.stackexchange.com/q/29/350)


One I just wrote to close a question as off-topic. I'm kind of surprised a blunt "this is just completely off topic" reason didn't already exist.

Welcome to *Robotics* XXX, but I'm afraid that this questions is
off-topic as it is not related to robotics. Please take a moment
to look at what is [on-topic](http://robotics.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic)
for this particular stack exchange site, along with [ask] and [about]
for more information on how stack exchange works, and the
[*Robotics* question checklist](https://robotics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1302/37)
for details of how to write a good question for this site.


So, after the question posted by hauptmech, I decided it would be best to add a follow-on comment to the canned text (this comment also being canned text) that simply reiterates that the question is not being closed forever, we're simply waiting for the appropriate edits to be made before re-opening the question. The text is as follows:

Finally, to reiterate, I am *not* permanently closing or
deleting this question yet, I'm putting it **on hold**
until you edit the question to address the points I've
made above. This ensures the question doesn't get flooded
with speculative answers that may try to guess at your
meaning.  If, after considerable time, it appears that you
have abandoned this question, then the question may be
automatically deleted by the Community auto-moderator.
*Please edit your question in a timely manner and, when you
are done, leave a comment with @Chuck in it to ping me and
I'll reopen it.*

• So, as a comment on this answer, I'd say that I will be using the copy-paste texts as [Generic closing reason] - [Comment that highlights what specifically needs to be addressed] - [Follow-on comment]. This means that I'll be adding three comments to every answer that I close, highlighting the general reason it's being closed, what specifically needs to be changed, and a reminder that it's not permanent - just make the edits and it'll be re-opened. – Chuck Jul 26 '16 at 12:56