Like was said in the comments, what really helps a question prosper is context. At least on MSE, context serves two purposes :
It localizes or generalizes the question at hand appropriately by placing it in a scenario where it is useful to future visitors as well.
It provides tools that answerers can use to attack the questions, and helps them fit into the shoes of the asker (and future askers) so that they can understand the problem in a more nuanced way and provide a more high-quality answer.
Let's think of what the various forms of context present in the help page do. A source is an excellent reference for all the background material that an answerer might need. Background and motivation are localizers/generalizers of the question, because knowing where it naturally came from would mean that we'd need to tackle it from that point of view, or with the tools presented from that point of view. Ditto definitions which provide basic tools to understand and then attack the question.
What does effort , or work do? Ideally, effort/work can do the following : OP follows a particular line of reasoning, and expects the others to finish off with the tools they used : that is context, even if it isn't explicitly stated. Similarly, seeing the nature of the work, one can glean the OP's background , at least somewhat.
The problem comes when effort doesn't come off as any of these : it appears to be a last-resort attempt hoping that someone can feed off what's been written. It comes off as directionless and a way to circumvent the context requirement. That doesn't contribute to the question, which is then effectively devoid of context.
There are two very clear-cut cases (other than solution-verification questions) in which I believe that effort is the best form of context.
When the OP was instructed to use a certain proof method, and uses it in their effort. Once the OP makes it clear that the proof method was part of instruction, then the effort can be seen as part of the tool needed to attack the question.
When one can use OP effort to probe a question (for example, a well-drawn diagram for a geometry question, or well-written code for a conjecture on the convergence/divergence of some sequence). This kind of effort is extremely helpful because experts may not be able to code or draw the best diagram in one go.
What about the question given in the original post? It's really awkward because it doesn't seem like one can add any context. There are arguments that it results from a thought process that is rudimentary, yet natural : hence the up votes. On the other hand, one can also argue that the topic isn't worth debating or that the thinking preceding the question is shallow (see the first comment under the question) , hence the down votes. There's a reason the question split so much opinion, with 39 downvotes to 156 up votes. It did not receive enough close votes within three days of posting it (it may have got some which aged away) and was eventually protected because someone felt it had useful answers.
There is some context that could have been added but I'm not sure that it would have made the question any better. This one is a hair-splitter as far as I'm concerned, I'd probably leave it alone in a review queue.
Having said that, there is an overemphasis on effort/work since day one and that occurs when answerers just want to make sure that the poster isn't making others do their work and has done some work of their own. I call this an overemphasis because, in my opinion, looking merely for effort as a honesty certificate lowers the quality of questions. One should aim for a slightly higher ceiling, namely an effort to advertise the question and make it interesting and attractive to answer, which is one of the roles that context should play.
There are two problems with overemphasis :
Effort is presented when , in fact, something better should have been presented as context.
Effort is demanded even when it cannot visibly be presented, and the demand is irrationally forced in the comments.
An example of the first question is when people attempt to solve contest questions using token amounts of effort. Most of that effort could be in vain, just give me a list of what you think are similar questions and a source to ensure that it isn't from an ongoing contest, and that's good enough.
An example of the second kind is the situation where one does exactly what I say above for a contest question , only to be greeted with "what have you tried?" which isn't required because there is alternate context. Another example is when people are asking for clarifications (what does author mean in ... part of ... book?), asking for effort is clearly not possible.
I would seriously ask users to consider de-emphasizing effort as context and asking them to mention actually what is useful : a source, a list of similar questions from a search, a motivation of any sort, background level (e.g. for the question in the original post, "I'm a grade 6 student" may have been helpful) are all useful and very much so. In fact, I see users that don't mention these because they believe they could be extraneous, but they are far more useful than effort on many occasions.
My conclusion would be : there are some clear situations where effort is the best form of context, but I sincerely believe that it is overemphasized as context over the other forms, and would like to reduce its demand and instead increase the demand for other forms of context. On the question in the original post, I find it difficult to comment on because it is a real outlier, and would skip it if it came in my review queue tomorrow.