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As you may or may not have noticed, the new ask page is now live on the network. Go and have a look! Some of the new features are only visible to new users, but it still looks noticeably different even from old accounts.

Now, the new design of the Ask page allows for a fair amount of per-site customizable content, at least some of which is new (and at least some of which was already present? But I can't quite tell which is which). So:

  • Which of these features should we take advantage of to make the site work better?
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For one, we should implement a tag warning for homework questions:

  • Tag-related error messages and warnings, regex-based (seen with custom error text in screenshot 4, with the default text on screenshot 5, and with a tag warning here).

We had a round of proposals for tag warnings last year two years ago three years ago (bloody hell, time flies) five years ago, but they don't seem to be in effect as of now.

For the specific case of homework, I would propose something along the lines of

Is your question homework, or about a specific exercise?

  • This is not a homework-help site
  • Please read these guidelines carefully
  • Homework questions should focus on the concepts that you don't understand

but this is maybe something to be worked out on a separate thread.

The same should probably be true of the rest of the proposed tag warnings from the previous round -- there's plenty of important stuff there, but the wordings for the warnings themselves are maybe not going to be as effective at communicating "STOP and please read" to new users as we would want them to be.

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    $\begingroup$ One of the problem is that most of the new users don't put the homework-and-exercises tag themselves. Rather this has to be done by the old users while editing their texts. $\endgroup$ – Johan Liebert Mar 6 at 2:42
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The old ask page used to explicitly and clearly provide a link to this standard MathJax tutorial:

Image taken from Emilio's question


But the new ask page does not explicitly provide a link to the MathJax tutorial. Often beginners don't even know that MathJax exists so they don't use it in their questions. Having a MathJax tutorial link easily visible on the main answer page itself will help new users to learn and use MathJax. My suggestions:

  1. A MathJax tutorial link in top bar after HTML and before More. (In my opinion, we should replace that HTML with MathJax because we don't need HTML formatting on PSE, do we?)

    Top Bar

  2. Or we can add a MathJax tutorial link in the Helpful Links section:

    Use MathJax for writing math equations and symbols.

    Or,

    Use MathJax for typesetting math equations and symbols.

    Now the post on Mother Meta informs us that we can't probably customize the above two sections, so the third proposal (which is not the best way, but mother meta allows us to customize this section):

  3. We can add a similar message (like the one above) in the Draft your question section.

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  • $\begingroup$ Shall I make my answer a Community Wiki? $\endgroup$ – user255835 Mar 6 at 5:18
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    $\begingroup$ Asked as a feature request on the main thread on the mother meta, including some mockups of what this might look like. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Mar 6 at 15:10
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    $\begingroup$ Suggestion: Don't use exclusively "MathJax". People won't know what that is. Make it very clear that this means "use Latex" or "you can use latex on this website (and please do so)", or the like. $\endgroup$ – Norbert Schuch Mar 6 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ @NorbertSchuch Feel free to edit the answer and please do edit the answer if you think your edit will improve the value of this answer. $\endgroup$ – FakeMod Mar 30 at 13:25
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We should make proper use of the "Welcome modal for new askers" which in its uncustomised form looks as follows:

And here is a customised one:

We can edit it along the following lines:

  • Introduction about the the site

  • A warning that we don't answer blunt homework questions and provide some appropriate resources.

  • A link to the topics which are on-topic on PSE.

  • Giving links to some exemplary posts. (So that a new user can check if their post maybe on-topic or off-topic.)

  • Add other things that you wish should be necessary part of the welcome model.

You can give the suggestion for the Welcome Modal over here.

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Also, a quick-latex reference could help a lot including the most used in equations and formula. This stops users from laziness. Regarding the question, I see some users don't provide resources to their questions which leaves doubt to answer and force the comments to be full of resource request.

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