TL;DR - I see a lot of "What's my problem" questions that lack needed information. I expected questions like "How do I do $x procedure on $y vehicle" or "I'm stuck trying to do $x and $y is what is happening"

  • Is this site for people to get their cars fixed without consulting a mechanic in real life or is this site for hobbyist / professional mechanics?
  • How are "undiagnosable" questions to be addressed?
  • Are random guesses allowed as answers?

I haven't used this site much (I am not a newcomer to SE though). I'm seeing a lot of undiagnosable questions. What I mean by this is I'm seeing things like this question -

At slow speed one of my front tires on my 2000 Grand Am SE 4 door wobble, but feels fine at a higher rate of speed. Was told by a person at a tire store my tread is breaking loose and I need a new tire. Do you think this is the answer?

This user went to a tire store with a problem that absolutely needs to be visually confirmed, the store gave the user an answer "tread is breaking loose and I need a new tire" and the user came here to ask this question and did not provide a photo of the tread in question. In my eyes there is absolutely nothing anyone can say to this user other than "show us" and that seems to be grounds to flag the question to be closed. Am I correct in this thought?

Here's a similarly unanswerable quesiton -

I had the oil changed on my Kia Sedona 2006 about 8 weeks ago . After I left the repair shop the check engine light came on. They rest it but it came back on. I tried to DEQ my Sedona and it would not pass. I am told it is due to a vacuum leak! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

This user hasn't provided any worthwhile information like the actual code being thrown.

Here's another unanswerable question - This user had a noise of some sort and asked here about it, no one here is capable of determining anything at all from the description given.

Here's another - This user says "my car drives fine but when i come to a stop light or any stop it acts like it will stall but never does" and that's about the extent of the information provided. No vehicle make, model, year, nothing.

Here's a really bad one

Here's another unanswerable question

Here's another one

EDIT: Here's a really good example of my underlying point -

What are some part numbers that I can cross reference for the compliance bushings (control arm bushing) for a 2007 Honda Odyssey?

The user is asking for information that is certainly not something any of us (even the most seasoned mechanic here) will have. It's simply something that needs to be researched. The user is essentially saying "Please Google around and compile a list of part numbers for me so that I don't have to spend my time doing it". The user is asking for someone else to spend time for them, not to share knowledge with them.

This -to me- seems absolutely unacceptable, I don't think it would fly on any community in all of StackExchange. But of course someone has answered it with an incomplete answer.

A lot of these questions have very useless answers on them. People are answering anyway with a totally speculative guess. Speculation and guessing are obviously required in this work but when you are essentially shooting in the dark you are doing something wrong.

  • 1
    Yes, I've seen quite a bit of it too. It seems as though some of these questions should be able to be deleted but the site success is based around being awarded an answer. If the user asks and never interacts an answer can't be awarded and it then messes with the stats which reflect what 'success' for the site might mean. I definitely can't answer your question but am just as curious as your regarding the answer.....as well, any 'is' statements I made in this comment should be fact check. It's simply what I believe which may not be fact. Feb 27, 2015 at 20:33
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    @DucatiKiller thanks for the input. I forgot this site is a beta pending success. To be more blunt my opinion is that these questions are exemplary of users asking for their one specific problem to be fixed without having to visit/pay a mechanic, not users trying to learn about mechanics.
    – DJSpud
    Feb 27, 2015 at 21:34
  • I would tend to agree with you regarding your assessment of the end users of this site. It seems correct. Feb 27, 2015 at 21:37
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    Actually this site seems to have been open since 2011. So I'm not sure I understand the beta part. Maybe there is a Meta post that explains the entire site
    – DJSpud
    Feb 27, 2015 at 21:43
  • I'd like to comment on many of these as well as many answers and point out that they should be comments or removed altogether but I feel like I should determine what this site is actually about before I go trying to fix anything at all.
    – DJSpud
    Feb 27, 2015 at 21:56
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    Bit of a bummer no one has attempted to answer...... Mar 2, 2015 at 6:12
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    I think that what you're expecting is what we want - a site for hobbyist and pro mechanics to ask questions and share tips, however we do seem to end up with a lot of the poor questions you refer to (and plenty more that get closed or deleted for being even worse...). Part of the problem, I think, is that we need more questions to get out of beta, so we're probably more lax with those types of questions than we ought to be - there simply don't seem to be enough people asking proper questions!
    – Nick C Mod
    Mar 2, 2015 at 11:18
  • How long has this site been in beta? Seems to be years.
    – DJSpud
    Mar 2, 2015 at 18:38
  • 1456 days - nearly 4 years. We sat for ages with about 4-4.5 questions/day, with 5-10 being the target...
    – Nick C Mod
    Mar 3, 2015 at 9:11
  • To have 12 views and no attempted answers on a well worded Meta question in 5 days says something about the site to me.. I want to contribute here but I guess I don't see the point. This seems to be a failed beta.
    – DJSpud
    Mar 3, 2015 at 16:21
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    I was going to post an answer explaining the procedure to downvote questions and/or flag as "unclear what you're asking" or "too broad", which seem to me to be appropriate responses to the types of questions you describe. I can post that answer if you want, but it appears you have considerable experience on other SE sites, so you probably already know about it - in which case, what are you really looking for? Mar 3, 2015 at 19:30
  • @NateEldredge I'm asking if/what they should be flagged as. In my experience on SO flags are very specific and are denied if for the wrong reason. So I should flag as "unclear what you're asking"?
    – DJSpud
    Mar 3, 2015 at 19:58
  • I think your question reflects the fact you haven't looked through the scope questions here on the Meta, or if you have, I don't think you've either read them very well or comprehended them. Besides, it comes down to what "we" as the community wants to do and answer, which includes you. If you feel questions aren't good enough, then vote to close them. If you feel answers aren't up to snuff, then by all means down vote them. Mar 7, 2015 at 21:02
  • @Paulster2 I actually have read the scope questions. This question doesn't reflect my lack of comprehension or any other inadequacies. If you have an answer please post it, if you have something to discuss lets talk about but you aren't bringing anything to the conversation but mild abrasiveness and a "just go with it" answer here.
    – DJSpud
    Mar 8, 2015 at 2:57
  • @Jhawins ... To the contrary. All of this you ask has been hashed already. As with all SE sites, if you feel the Q&A's are not up to snuff, then by all means down vote them or vote to close them. If enough of this SE agrees with you, then it will be reacted upon. I disagree with your approach, though, as teaching others how to write good Q&A's is much more valuable to all then the alternative. I do this through leading questions. That is not a "just go with it" attitude, but one in which the community can grow on. Mar 8, 2015 at 3:48

1 Answer 1


I think other Stack Exchange sites often face such problems, and the usual procedure is as follows:

  • If the question is unanswerable because it is missing crucial information, leave a comment suggesting what information should be added, and flag as "unclear what you're asking". The question can be placed on hold until it is edited to add the necessary details.

  • If the question asks for an excessive amount of information, essentially asking someone to write an article for them, flag as "too broad". If you think it will help, you can leave a comment explaining the question guidelines and why theirs is not appropriate.

  • If the question is answerable, but you think the asker hasn't put in a reasonable amount of effort to answer for themselves, downvote. Leave a constructive comment if you think it will help the asker better understand the best way to use the site.

  • Awesome answer.
    – DJSpud
    Mar 3, 2015 at 23:55

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