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93 votes

How to ask a good question.

Avoid "no clue" questions Too many questions begin or end with "I don't even know how to begin with this problem". While this may be true (you may genuinely have no idea how to ...
41 votes

Is it a "rule" of Math Stack Exchange that when asking a question, it's **never** good just to state the question?

In my opinion it is virtually always better to have some context provided for the question. In the cases you mentioned, a reasonable form of context can be a short explanation why the question is ...
quid's user avatar
  • 42.3k
39 votes
Accepted

Why are clumsily formulated questions downvoted & closed so much?

Isn't this just a form of gatekeeping, where you only get to ask a question about mathematics if you've already learnt enough of mathematics to rigorously formulate your problem? This question seems ...
Xander Henderson's user avatar
38 votes

Can we stop the "Show your work craze"?

I largely agree with this sentiment. The "work" done by an asker generally detracts from questions in numerous ways. It obfuscates what the asked question actually is. It prompts users to not answer ...
user642796's user avatar
  • 52.3k
37 votes

Is it a "rule" of Math Stack Exchange that when asking a question, it's **never** good just to state the question?

This is a controversial topic in the math.SE internal politics, and on the meta site many words were minced on the subject of "context" or "problem statement questions" (PSQs) in ...
Asaf Karagila's user avatar
  • 396k
29 votes

How to ask a good question.

Pare question to its basics Pare your problem down to the minimum core problem. Instead of asking for $$\frac{\sin 2 k \sqrt{3 + q^3}}{b! (b-2)!} \int\limits_{x=0}^{\infty} \frac{e^{-x^2/(2 \sigma^2)}...
David G. Stork's user avatar
29 votes
Accepted

What should be acceptable as "context"?

For the specific question, the context seems completely clear. The question reads: How deep is the liquid in a half-full hemisphere? I have a baking recipe that calls for 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract, ...
quid's user avatar
  • 42.3k
22 votes

How to ask a good question.

If the question you want to ask appeared in a Math contest (or contest training), then You should make it clear that the question is from a contest. Adding the contest-math tag is a good way of ...
Jyrki Lahtonen's user avatar
22 votes

How could this question be improved?

"Missing context" is a bit of a catch-all term, but basically it's a request for you to motivate the question (why do you want to solve this? Why is it interesting for you, and for people who might ...
postmortes's user avatar
  • 6,323
21 votes

How to ask a good question.

Include source / motivation for your question According to recent discussions on this Meta post-Is it a good idea to include source from where a question is taken? , and by the responses of many ...
Soham's user avatar
  • 10k
21 votes

How to ask a good question.

Use Approach0 Use Approach0 to search for any possible duplicates of your question before asking. We get hundreds of questions every day. If your question is about arithmetic, geometry, algebra-...
Toby Mak's user avatar
  • 16.9k
21 votes

Can we stop the "Show your work craze"?

It is considered, by not few though certainly not all, as a requirement for a questioner to provide context for the question asked. This context can take many forms, one of them is their work on the ...
quid's user avatar
  • 42.3k
21 votes

Is it a "rule" of Math Stack Exchange that when asking a question, it's **never** good just to state the question?

I agree with the other two answers regarding the general importance of providing context for a question. However, my own reasons for that have not quite been captured by either of the other answers. ...
Lee Mosher's user avatar
  • 123k
21 votes
Accepted

Was this question a “problem statement question”?

I think there are two separate issues: The complaint about your edit is of course unsubstantiated. If you face such a situation, please feel free to flag. (Flagging the post can be preferable to ...
quid's user avatar
  • 42.3k
20 votes
Accepted

Is self-answer considered as adding sufficient context?

It can be taken into account but in general it is not sufficient. For example, if the question is difficult to understand due to missing explanations of the notation, then this is not (usually) ...
quid's user avatar
  • 42.3k
19 votes

Improving other's questions via adding solution attempts in the question

(What follows is my personal opinion. The mod team has not discussed this internally at length.) You say that "[you]'d like to explicate our community norms/policies about what sort of edits to ...
Aloizio Macedo's user avatar
  • 34.4k
18 votes

A feature requested for the purpose of avoiding unintentional newbie-biting

Sorry about being late to weigh in - I was busy last weekend. Why I support this feature-request? The norm re context that we have developed means that new questions at varying levels of ...
Jyrki Lahtonen's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

Clarification on Including Solution Attempts in Questions

I have noted in the past that I, personally, do not believe that "an attempt" to solve a problem is a very good form of context. It is the minimal level of context which the community has ...
Xander Henderson's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

Is it appropriate to close every question that doesn't show efforts and/or lacks of context?

I think I understand your concern, but I feel like adding a few words of consolation. I am quite content with the way the processes available to our core users work in cases like these. The close/...
Jyrki Lahtonen's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

How can I make this question better.

Actually, apart from the fact that you don't make the question clear in the title, it's well phrased and I disagree with the commentor. According to the question's edit history the context has been ...
postmortes's user avatar
  • 6,323
15 votes
Accepted

Allow question to be closed for low effort

About the first part of your question (about low effort posts) - this is exactly what the "missing context" close reason is for. (Of course, context is wider than just effort - there are ...
Martin Sleziak's user avatar
13 votes

Is it a "rule" of Math Stack Exchange that when asking a question, it's **never** good just to state the question?

Sometimes the same question can be answered at very different levels of sophistication. Sometimes the answer can be a trivial consequence of a general theorem - can the theorem be assumed? Sometimes ...
Mark Bennet's user avatar
12 votes

Is it a "rule" of Math Stack Exchange that when asking a question, it's **never** good just to state the question?

I'm going to add a separate issue here. Maybe your question is a homework question. In that case, there are two issues. First (what the answerer cares about) - if you're just coming here to avoid ...
Joel's user avatar
  • 485
12 votes

Can we stop the "Show your work craze"?

The problem (most of) those comments are addressing are not related to posts from people who have interesting problems that they can't solve, but rather students who copy-and-paste their homework ...
anomaly's user avatar
  • 25.5k
12 votes

How to ask a good question.

Avoid confusing abbreviations and notation Try to limit the usage of abbreviations that are uncommon restricted to certain contexts, or may cause confusion. For example, not every user of the forum ...
David's user avatar
  • 3,039
12 votes

"... including any attempts you have made to solve it."

I will repeat that the full text of the banner displayed after the question is put on hold looks like this: This question is missing context or other details: Please improve the question by ...
Martin Sleziak's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Is asking for a specific reference to an article mentioned in an MSE question unacceptable?

No, it is not unreasonable. In fact, it is recommended to do so. Countless times a question has been made comprehensible/answerable even for simple matters such as correcting typos. The above is the ...
Aloizio Macedo's user avatar
  • 34.4k
11 votes

Two announcements: new "FAQ" and new "closure rules"

After some discussion among the mod team, we've come to the proposal of changing the wording of the "off-topic: missing context" close reason. We plan to update the message to: This question is ...
Aloizio Macedo's user avatar
  • 34.4k
11 votes

Should "background" be deleted from a question if it is not logically necessary?

I would say as long as you make the question easily discoverable and self-contained, extra background (within reason) is harmless and usually helpful. In general, I would recommend putting the ...
Derek Elkins left SE's user avatar
11 votes

Do questions have to be "good questions" to not be put on-hold/closed?

I believe that this issue of what and what's not on-topic, or what counts as a question deserving closure has cropped up too many times in MSE. Is it the standing policy of this community to allow ...
TheSimpliFire's user avatar
  • 27.1k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible