This question is triggered by comments on the question Measuring tool shows different measurements for same building in two different map documents?; and is:
Why is it important to have the software (often version too) details included when asking most (but not all) questions at GIS SE?
In your answers to the above question, please make clear whether you agree (it is important) or disagree (it is NOT important).
The case I will make below is that I think it is very important.
My reasoning is underpinned by this answer to Framing (asking) good Questions for GIS Stack Exchange?, and is purely related to what goes into the body of a question - titles and tags are two ways to summarize the body and I think it will be better for them not to be drawn into this discussion, and thereby risk muddying it.
I am a GIS Professional without high school, undergraduate or postgraduate qualifications in GIS or Geography. However, as someone with undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in Zoology, I am extremely interested in GIS as a tool. Conversely, my interest in formal learning of Geography (and Surveying) topics is minimal. Nevertheless, by getting involved in Q&As on Main, I often learn about aspects of them in bite size pieces, which I like to do.
Irrespective of whether I am reading a question with a view to answering it as a GIS Professional proficient in its subject matter, or as someone hoping to try and understand the question (and possibly attempting an answer), my approach is a "hands-on" one, and I start to think about how I can test what is being asked.
If I am going to test, then knowing the software used by the asker means that I do not have to guess that detail, and thus risk wasting my time and the dissatisfaction of downvotes, by writing an answer to an unspecified requirement.
Knowing the version is not as important, but GIS software evolves quickly, so that detail often provides clues as to the constraints the asker is working within, and any constraints I need to place on how I can answer.
For example, using ArcGIS for Desktop, because it is the GIS product with which I am more familiar:
- we have had over 2,000 questions tagged arcpy and at ArcGIS 10.1 for Desktop many new ArcPy capabilities were introduced (arcpy.da, Python toolboxes, Python AddIns, etc) so a pre-10.1 ArcPy question is often answered very differently to one at 10.1+.
- we have had over 6,000 questions tagged
arcgis-desktop or arcmapand at ArcGIS Desktop 10.0 the ArcMap GUI was overhauled so an ArcMap 9.x question is often answered very differently to one at 10.0+.
- we have had over 625 questions tagged modelbuilder and at ArcGIS Desktop 10.0 many new ModelBuilder capabilities were introduced (Model Only tools, Iterators) so a pre-10.0 ModelBuilder question is often answered very differently to one at 10.0+.
There are a significant number of questions for which the GIS software being used appears irrelevant to me, and there are many other questions which I have no interest in answering, so for those I do NOT seek clarification of software being used via a comment.
However, when I am attracted to a question, the first detail I take in before deciding whether to try and answer it is whether I can test. If I am going to test I need to know whether the question uses software I have access to, and it is often also helpful for me to know the version of that software.