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Request

Can we have a 'guide to wonderland' meta.

'Wonderland' is all our rules which mostly consists of lots of different rabbit holes.

Rationale

When I started on Code Review I spent a good couple of months looking up and exploring various rabbit holes. Whilst it was nice to don the name Alice, it was a lot of work. Even now there are undiscovered rabbit holes, and I have to ask other people on the site for links to basic rules.

To me this screams that there's a massive problem. If I, one of the top 25 on CR main and 11 on meta, don't know the rules or how to find them, what hope do any of our users have?

Existing solutions

Currently we have:

  • Our close reasons.
    A friendly and basic overview of our close reason meta thread.
  • Our close reason meta thread.
    This is the most in-depth explanation of our rules, but it lacks edge cases.
    Also a lot of our rules are based off the wording in this and so I think changing it would lead to confusion.
  • Our help center.
    I don't use it much, and as far as I can tell provides no more information than our close reason meta thread does. It also doesn't have a history, making some meta posts confusing. And also is only editable by moderators.

The closest thing to what I'm requesting is the close reason meta thread, but a lot of different things rely on that thread, and I think this is sufficiently different.

In-depth Request

When answering posts on meta I base my answers off of the close reason meta thread, and use other meta posts when it doesn't fulfill my needs. This has highlighted to me that it's hard to know what all the rules are on Code Review as they're all on meta, but not really in the same place. This means that it is easy for me to inaccurately say that something is on/off-topic as I forgot that a specific meta post exists.

At minimum I think we should create a 'guide to wonderland' post that lists all of our rules in categories, with their exceptions also listed.

We could do more in-depth things such as provide descriptions in the post, but I'm unsure what extent people would want this guide to be.

It should be noted that this post would need to be updated as time goes on, however since our close reasons don't change much it would be rare. It should be noted that determining if closure/reopening is correct or not wouldn't be in this list, but would be related.

Question

Should we have a 'guide to wonderland'?

What should the content be? (A list/short descriptions)

Starting version

I've produced a starting version we can build off. It's best if you preview the file in Stack Overflow. So answer this question and paste the raw file as the answer. But don't post it :)

I think it'd be good to get some feedback on if it's missing anything important.

Currently I think the sections under code and review type work pretty well. A couple of the leaf categories are quite large, like broken code and comparative review. This may be because we don't have an FAQ for these to close similar questions as duplicates of.

I'm not sure if I like how the format works for 'general' site policies.

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  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Just pointing out that the faq is also a significant information resource \$\endgroup\$ – rolfl Apr 5 at 0:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @rolfl True, the starting version I've got has a bit over 200 links so I think that's a bit past FAQ teritory. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Peilonrayz Apr 7 at 1:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Here's a 1.5. \$\endgroup\$ – Peilonrayz Apr 17 at 9:55
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I appreciate that you've spent a lot of time working on this, but I have to say that frankly in my opinion a solid block of links is not very useful.

  1. I see myself as a reasonably engaged member of the community, and that list almost scares me off participating in the site: I can't imagine that it would encourage a new participant.
  2. Because it only gives the titles, it's not very searchable.
  3. I don't see any indication of relative importance.

There may be some value in a restructured version of this guide which uses an answer per section, and starts each section with a summary and links to the most important two or three relevant meta threads. The question might incorporate an index to the answers.

But I think that the most effective way of helping people to find the rules which they need to know about is to work with the site's search functionality, by tagging questions which need them with the and tags.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ IMO our tags are broken right now, and this at least serves as a band-aid. A lot of the questions are tagged [scope], and a few aren't tagged with any of: faq, site-policy or scope. And a lot of the questions aren't categorized, meaning all you can really do is search for all of the tags, or some 'big' problems like broken-code or answer-invalidation. Also those tags come back with ~350 questions vs ~200 as we have a lot of questions like "why is my question closed?" which is more 'scary', and probably isn't going to change. \$\endgroup\$ – Peilonrayz Apr 8 at 16:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ The full list of all questions in the tags may well be longer, but I can search for [site-policy] my-other-search-terms and have the full benefit of a search database which includes the full text of posts in addition to specific metadata. To me your list of links seems more valuable as a list of questions which might need retagging than anything else. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Apr 8 at 16:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough, this dump to helps me. Either way I think this highlights that our rules are complex and all over the place. And so making a couple of new FAQs would be good. Reducing 'code format' into one question would remove 33 links! Code Purpose can mostly be ignored (21/25). And adding a couple more (12) FAQs could remove upto 38 links. Taking this all into account nearly 100 links I think should be removed/ignored. Not sure how to change general or if we could wipe some more categories like with 'code format'. I mostly want to get things categorized first, then simplify. \$\endgroup\$ – Peilonrayz Apr 8 at 16:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe consider splitting it into a "rules" and "community discussion creating rules" posts? Most of those meta posts are about creating rules, not the definitive version of them. \$\endgroup\$ – Hosch250 Apr 10 at 20:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Hosch250 I think faq are the only source of these 'definitive rules'. And not all of my initial categories have them. I will be posting an updated version of the code section soon, that will be wordy and more definitive. (What I want this guide to be more like) \$\endgroup\$ – Peilonrayz Apr 11 at 1:33

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