This question was made and I asked the usual:

You should provide more info: What have you tried? What are the definitions? What book are you reading?

The user replied me by saying that he tried to do something about it - but he was unable to understand. I tried to help by suggesting some heuristics that could be interesting in posing questions but I believe that the competence of guiding people on how to make useful/interesting questions is lacking in me.

When I was new in the site, I remember of not having the skill to isolate my problem in a precise way - I'm not a professional at it today, but I believe I got a little better with time.

So is there a official guide made by MSE to help people to formulate their questions a little better? If this guide does not exist, shouldn't we make it? For the time being I guess I should suggest this webpage on Math Overflow. Although the MO guide seems to be complete:

  • It's not official on MSE;

  • Some users shouldn't even know about the existence of MO. I guess it's counter intuitive to think about searching for how to make a nice question in another website, we can't expect them to think: I want to make a good question, I'll search the technique for it on MO!

  • We would have to repost the link for every new question that isn't following the given criteria. As it is the case with the PSQ's - the community should always repeat: Welcome to MSE! Do not post PSQ's! Live long and prosper!

  • $\begingroup$ +1 The MO is certainly a good starting point. I'm all for having something similar. $\endgroup$ Commented May 18, 2013 at 16:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ +1 to the question, but I'll bring up another reason we can't just adopt the MO guide. It is written with a different audience in mind: MO audience is mostly mathematicians, graduate students and truly outstanding undergraduates. A Math.SE guide would need to be something that a non-precocious 13-year-old can read and understand. $\endgroup$
    – 75064
    Commented May 18, 2013 at 20:14

1 Answer 1



For now, there is the good homework question thread. But it's limited, and we don't really want to imply that every question that needs some reworking is a homework question.

I brought up this point in the cursive remark following my PSQ template here but nobody has gotten round to creating such a thread.

There has been an initiative for collecting snippets in the past, here. But it hasn't been put into one, coherent policy yet.


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