This meta-questions is about the balance that should be found between info in the questions. In order to address the question, I use a concrete recent example of mine.

Specific Question: Is there a way to improve this question to make it more readable/appealing?

Already in the past I wrote a rather long question (where I put a considerable bounty), and it did not really get any audience, or interest. In the end, after I also wrote a meta-question (now deleted) asking a question fairly similar to the one I am asking now, a user came up with an amazing answer, but I have the feeling that in that occasion I somewhat got lucky in getting an answer.

Interestingly, in that meta-question I did not recive any concrete advice to improve my questions (that one in particular as well). Still, I have the feeling that in general my questions (the linked one here is a specific example), when not completely idiotic (unfortunately it happens), have a lot of information, which could maybe force readers to just get away. Still, if I don’t add those info, I don’t see how I can signal that I actually worked on the question.

Thus, the problem is:

GENERAL QUESTION: what is the right amount of info we should put in a question to let people be interested, and show that we actually worked on it?

[I think that the reputation of a user (in various forms) can be relevant here]

Any feedback as always most welcome.
Thank you for your time.

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    $\begingroup$ Why are you hiding part of your question? $\endgroup$ Jan 14, 2016 at 3:45
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    $\begingroup$ As a rule, always get to your question as quickly as possible. Long questions when it isn't clear what the question is going to be will (1) lose people who might be able to help but don't want to wade deep into your question to find out (2) waste the time of people who can't help you, but do wade several paragraphs in. In particular, never ever start with an edit note. That is not the question. In ten years time, it still won't be the question, but the question will still be on the site. Put edit notes at the end if you have to, but you probably don't have to. $\endgroup$ Jan 14, 2016 at 3:48
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    $\begingroup$ I see you have text explaining why you've hidden part of your text. Do you realize how counter-productive that is? Explaining something about your formatting takes the reader away from the question. $\endgroup$ Jan 14, 2016 at 4:01
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    $\begingroup$ I find that the format of asking your question briefly using the markdown > to highlight and separate it at or near the start of the post is a good format. That is, ask the question in the briefest way such that someone who read only that part of the post could write an answer. Then, whatever else you want to say can be put in after that. (And if there's a lot of context, it's good to explicitly mark off the less relevant parts). Nearly all of my questions, especially the highly upvoted ones, are of this form. $\endgroup$ Jan 14, 2016 at 5:33
  • $\begingroup$ @MiloBrandt: Thanks a lot for the comment! I will take a look at the format of your highly update questions. $\endgroup$
    – Kolmin
    Jan 14, 2016 at 13:11

1 Answer 1


I keep telling people: Get to your question quickly. It's the easiest way to ensure the people who read it are the people who can help.

Start with something like:

I am having problems with the section on product spaces in Billingsley’s “Convergence of Probability Measures."

He writes:

(insert quote - leave in your bolded text)

I don't see how that is obvious.

For completeness, here is the notation used here:

Include notation snippet


Stop explaining your formatting. It is noise in your question. If you need to explain your formatting of non-math stuff, you are stepping away from your question. Ask your question.

Just keep it simple. Your question has so much noise in it that has nothing to do with the question. It's an inherently complicated question. Don't make it more complicated.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot! This is extremely helpful, both how I should have written it, and your comment concerning the noise. $\endgroup$
    – Kolmin
    Jan 14, 2016 at 13:08

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