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Last time we tweaked the custom close reason below was at Tweaking custom close reason for poorly framed code debugging/writing/improving questions?

Questions seeking help to debug/write/improve code must include the desired behavior, a specific problem or error and the shortest code necessary to reproduce it in the question itself. Providing a clear problem statement and evidence of a code attempt will help others to help you. See: How to create a Minimal, Complete, and Verifiable example.

Frequently, we see questions where that code attempt is presented as a picture rather than formatted text e.g. How to edit attribute with my result from the count

Pictures of code cannot be searched, and cannot be copy/pasted for testing, which often leads to such questions being downvoted.

Is there another tweak we can make to the custom close reason that will enable us to place such questions On Hold until their askers have learned how to format code using the Format button ({})?

This should also help to bring new users up to speed about the SE model being as much or more about our Q&As being designed to help future visitors thousands of times as they are about helping the asker this one time.

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    @AndreSilva Status has been set now. The order is difficult to control. Not impossible but not worth the effort to do I think. It involves deactivating all and then re-adding them all with another mod ready to approve so we don't have a period with no custom close reasons. I think data on how often each is used is available - just need to remember where. – PolyGeo Jun 3 '18 at 19:58
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    @AndreSilva I was wrong, it is actually very easy to rearrange the order of the Custom Off-topic Close Reasons - we are able to just drag them into any order we want, and it appears a single mod can do this. I had a quick look yesterday for the stats on how often each is used but have not yet found it. – PolyGeo Jun 4 '18 at 22:04
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    @AndreSilva You need 10K rep to see it but gis.stackexchange.com/tools/question-close-stats shows that the order I just set matches the frequency each is used. – PolyGeo Jun 4 '18 at 22:10
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    I appreciate your time to investigate and provide feedback for us here. I had the impression (based on my votes) that the current order (which matches the previous one) was the one with most votes cast top to bottom. About the link, maybe I will get there one day :). Thanks again. – Andre Silva Jun 5 '18 at 0:18
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I sympathise with Joseph's answer; however I have another suggestion:

Questions seeking help to debug/write/improve code must include the desired behavior, a specific problem or error and the shortest code (as formatted text, not pictures) necessary to reproduce it in the question itself. Providing a clear problem statement and evidence of a code attempt will help others to help you. See: How to create a Minimal, Complete, and Verifiable example.

By hyperlinking formatted text to a Meta Stack Exchange question How do I format my code blocks?, we would have two possible benefits:

  • keep the close-reason message concise;
  • provide information beyond the formatting button {} existence.

As per PolyGeo's feedback, we have a character maximum limitation of 400 (including spaces) in the close-reason message. Hence, the following 390 character revision was suggested which I agree with because it keeps the former info and still adds the new one.

When seeking help to debug/write/improve code always provide the desired behavior, a specific problem/error and the shortest code (as formatted text, not pictures) needed to reproduce it in the question body. Providing a clear problem statement and a code attempt helps others to help you.

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    +1, I agree with this answer :) – Joseph May 25 '18 at 11:25
  • I just tried to propose this wording for another mod to approve (it takes two) and even after I cut the new link to stop at 22186 (the question number) it said that it was too long by 81 characters. A character count in Word of that text shows that the limit is 400 characters (including spaces) so we'll need to try and be more succinct. – PolyGeo May 27 '18 at 23:29
  • @PolyGeo, would it work if we use a google url (goo.gl/gLZVHw) and remove the 'not pictures' part? – Andre Silva May 27 '18 at 23:43
  • Perhaps check out the new wording I just proposed in my question. Using a URL shortener may be OK to do but that only uses SE links. – PolyGeo May 27 '18 at 23:47
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    @PolyGeo, I think your edit works well. Only remark is that I would remove the bold format from 'shortest code' as it will be highlighted with the MCVE link. The reason is that I think it is too much for the eyes both types of formatting (also, it is not commonly used by others as well). See my edit (roll it back if you want to, no problem). – Andre Silva May 28 '18 at 0:16
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    No need for me to roll back - it sounds like we are in agreement. How about you copy our agreed wording from my question into your answer, and then I can cut it from my question and make a cleaner Q&A? – PolyGeo May 28 '18 at 0:43
  • @PolyGeo, done. Tks. – Andre Silva May 28 '18 at 1:10
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    I think the Q&A looks smoother now. I'll give it a few days before implementing to give the rest of the community a chance to raise any objections. – PolyGeo May 28 '18 at 1:26
  • @PolyGeo, another one with code as picture (gis.stackexchange.com/questions/284738/…). I believe we are safe now to carry on with this. – Andre Silva May 31 '18 at 14:37
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    I've proposed this change now - it just needs another moderator to approve it - and will be appearing in their inbox so I think that should not take long. – PolyGeo May 31 '18 at 23:31
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    I just approved the change. Should be live now. – Fezter Jun 1 '18 at 7:32
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We should perhaps mention the format button specifically within the text so that the asker can be immediately told how to format their code text. E.g.:

"..., a specific problem or error and the shortest code (as preformatted text using the { } button - do not include images) necessary to reproduce..."

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    +1 for using the { } button, however I believe that the do not include images gives a slightly different message than @PolyGeo is trying to get across – Midavalo May 24 '18 at 14:04
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    @Midavalo - Hmm perhaps "do not include images of code"? – Joseph May 24 '18 at 14:08
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    That would work for me – Midavalo May 24 '18 at 14:09

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