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I've noticed a lot of new users come in and ask reasonable-but-actually-off-topic questions.... and asked:

Can we find a way make sure that new users acknowledge the on-topic page before being able to post?

Over on Music.SE, when a new user asks a question, there is a 'How to Ask' sidebar that says

Is your question about music practice, performance, composition, technique, theory, or history?

We prefer questions that can be answered, not just discussed.

Provide details. Share your research.

If your question is about this website, ask it on meta instead.

The problem is that we get lots of new users asking perfectly sensible questions that are within the scope mentioned above, but fall foul of particular off-topic rules we have there that are outlined on https://music.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic.

This leads to the following happening:

  • new user wastes time posting off-topic question
  • existing users waste time explaining why the question is off-topic
  • possibly, more time is wasted editing the question to get it on-topic
  • ill-feeling sometimes ensues, partly due to the wasted time.

...and this happens repeatedly, and it's happening more often as the site gains prominence and user base. I can see that in the future it may start to really become a drain on energy that could be spent adding useful content.

Can we find a way make sure that new users acknowledge the on-topic page before being able to post? Something like being directed through it and having to tick an 'I understand!' box.

Would this be a good idea?

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  • Won't help, who reads the terms and conditions before clicking accept. And even if you do unxerstand the rules, most people will still take a change. Just take for example, if you ask a question, the system identifies possible duplicates according to your question's title, who goes and actually follow those links in order to find a possible answer before posting a new question
    – rock-on
    Feb 9 '17 at 13:05
  • @rock-on That's certaintly a pessimistic viewpoint... When asking questions, I always check those (or at least read the titles to cull any possible dupes). But I do agree that the fact that this issue exists does lend credit to the need for a better solution.
    – user45266
    Jan 14 '19 at 5:52

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