Since March 2020, a modal window with some basic information is shown to a user who is asking their first question, see here: The new ask page is now live on the network! This replaced the older /ask/advice page, which was shown to such users: Show “how to ask” advice before a new user asks a question.

It is great, that Mathematics Stack Exchange already has a customized version rather than the generic text used on most sites:

To improve chances of your question getting an answer make sure that it:

Before you post, search the site to make sure your question hasn’t been answered

  • Summarize the problem
  • Provide details and any research
  • When appropriate, describe what you’ve tried

Suggestion. The link in the text "search the site" goes to the built-in search. I would suggest to replace it with link to this post: How to search on this site?

One reason why I think it might be useful is that searching for mathematical expressions is often a bit different from a generic search on Internet (or on a Stack Exchange site). Moreover, since we already have a community-maintained FAQ on searching, it might be useful to link to it in various places, to make it more visible to users of the site. (I will add that it is already linked in the help center.)

I will add a screenshot showing this modal window. (The screenshot was taken a few month ago, but it seems unlikely that the text has been changed since then.)


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    $\begingroup$ I was a bit hesitant whether (search) belongs here - but it can be removed if at some point in the future a moderator (or a CM) wants to add (status-review) or (status-completed). $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 4, 2021 at 10:15
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    $\begingroup$ Very good suggestion. To use the site effectively, searching techniques need to be understood as well. Also when we start typing question title there is a drop down shown for questions with similar titles. That list is much more relevant than the usual search. $\endgroup$
    – Paramanand Singh Mod
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 4:43
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    $\begingroup$ maybe we should also say something in the modal window about how bad answers/questions count against you, even if deleted (given how this is recurrent on meta) $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 1:07
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    $\begingroup$ Since based on what a CM mentioned in chat it seems that this part is not customizable, I have added this feature request on Meta Stack Exchange: Could the search link in the modal window be customizable? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 24, 2021 at 11:29

1 Answer 1


While parts of the modal can be customized per site, this link is not one of the things that can be customized, so I've declined this request. It looks like Martin has requested that it be customizable but I think the easier ask would be for us to find a better network-wide option, such as the help center article about searching. It seems like it makes sense to link someone to the how to search guidance rather than just dropping them on a search page if we're really hoping they find some success.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the response! I have accepted this answer - it seems that it can be considered as an official confirmation that this part is currently not customizable. We'll see what happens with the feature request on Meta Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 6:26

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