The goal of Math StackExchange is to serve people studying maths at every level. However, being able to ask a good question is a skill in and of itself.

In order to ask a good question, you need both access to a base level of terminology and a clarity of understanding sufficient to word that question in a way that others understand your intent.

For people who are starting off in studying mathematics, these skills have not yet developed. At the moment, we can downvote and flag bad questions. These are important tools for improving the quality of MSE Q&A in total, but it is a poor tool for improving a single user's question making skills.

So, how do we assist the question askers to improve their question making skills?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ We already have a pretty detailed guide about asking good questions. Do you suggest something specific for the newcomers, rather than recommending such guide? $\endgroup$ – Jack D'Aurizio Mar 20 '18 at 1:35
  • $\begingroup$ The guide is a good one but misses the chicken and egg problem that is a core of my question. Asking a good question requires mathmatical knowledge in order to articlulate your question in a meaningful way. $\endgroup$ – Q the Platypus Mar 20 '18 at 2:28
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Of course, but we (this community, and teachers in general) cannot implant mathematical knowledge, we can only provide pointers to (hopefully) useful material and describe our experience with details and honesty. The learning process is a very personal process. $\endgroup$ – Jack D'Aurizio Mar 20 '18 at 2:38
  • $\begingroup$ @QthePlatypus I for one, and I'm sure there are many other users that can say the same, am happy whenever a new user makes an effort to articulate the question as best they can, who do not just copy and paste a problem, or worse yet, provide a link to another website or an image that displays their homework problem; when a new user is responsive to comments asking for clarification or offering suggestions or hints, when a new user makes an effort to articulate what they don't understand, specifically, (as oppose to using the generic "I have no clue")..... etc. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 20 '18 at 22:10
  • $\begingroup$ Any website worth its name needs to set an objective, which invariably has boundaries. This site has never promised and still is not, being a "do-my-home/work-for-me service". It is a Q & A site, not a forum for tutoring every single student in all that they don't understand, or what they missed by failing to read their text, to attend lectures, who may have waited to the last minute to ask a homework problem, but is no where near prepared to do anything more with help except copy an answer, word for word, and submit as their own. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 20 '18 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy I totally agree and that is the core of what I'm asking. At the moment all we can do with poor quality questions like your 'I'll just dump my homework question' is reject them and perhaps give a comment trying to encourage a better question. What I'm looking for is better ways to encourage those people who are asking poor questions to ask better questions. $\endgroup$ – Q the Platypus Mar 21 '18 at 0:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .