What are the most common first steps that a user can take to make progress on a question?

This question is of the spirit of this one but I would like it to focus on actionable suggestions for a questioner who seems to have put forth less than the standard of effort we deem M.S.E worthy. I often feel that we might use the expression "What have you tried? When we really mean something much more direct but don't have the energy to type it out. For example, compare

"What have you tried?" which is not really actionable with $(1), (2), \dots, (n)$ below. If we can collect these actionable items into a relatively small list we can use this list later. I want to have a nice copyable text to use in these instances: Something like

Thanks for asking a question on M.S.E. Do any of the steps on this list seem like it might help us make progress?

  1. "Here's what you can do: Compute the first 7 numbers in that sequence you asked about and plug it into OEIS. Let us know what numbers you get and any hits you thought might be a helpful lead."

  2. "Can you take that expression and throw it in Wolfram Alpha and see what comes back. If it's helpful post a link in the comments. If it isn't let us know."

  3. Try and search for clues to this question at some other places as well: What comes back when you look for results at CS.SE, MO, CS.Theory, etc?

  4. Try the techniques offered on this answer. These are common sense methods to make progress on a problem you feel you have "no clue about."

  • $\begingroup$ What is the "Try turning it off and then on again" of MSE? $\endgroup$ – Mason Jul 15 '18 at 6:44
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    $\begingroup$ The How to ask a good question topic already has quite a lot of advice for asking good questions, specifically the answer titled Avoid "no-clue" questions. It should also be noted that the person asking the question is the one who requires a solution; the rest of us are donating our time. If you want to invest more time than the OP, good on ya, but if you want others to join you, I think you are fighting an uphill battle. $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Jul 15 '18 at 15:02
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    $\begingroup$ example of what usually happens when I say try this: math.stackexchange.com/questions/2852071/… $\endgroup$ – Will Jagy Jul 15 '18 at 15:07
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    $\begingroup$ "But only after I witnessed the OP badgered with "What have you tried?"" looks to me like an unfair characterisation, unless some comments have been deleted. What I see is a comment "Welcome to MSE! Your question will likely be better received if you show what you have tried to resolve the problem, and/or the context of the problem" which is actionable in multiple ways. It's not the fault of the commenter that the asker chose a really bad way to act on it. $\endgroup$ – Peter Taylor Jul 15 '18 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterTaylor. You are seeing the same comments. The comment before the one you quoted is of the same nature. "Badgered" may be an unfair characterization. My point is that the well-intentioned commentors are using a technique which they have learned from the culture of this site: "What have you tried?" but this technique is too heavy handed and has the impact of making the site worse and not better when it is implemented poorly. No one likes reading defensively written text that the OP wrote trying to prove that they tried something. $\endgroup$ – Mason Jul 15 '18 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson. +1. Links are helpful thanks. That is something like what I want but maybe I can spend some energy making it more accessible. The end goal should be to place the burden of investigation back on to the OP with as little effort required. "Check out : math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9959/… and get back to us after implementing a few" is going to be a tad intimidating for OP. $\endgroup$ – Mason Jul 15 '18 at 17:52
  • $\begingroup$ Also my motivation for this is to combat TLDR which I think may merit it's own meta post at some point. $\endgroup$ – Mason Jul 31 '18 at 17:31

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