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72 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 ...
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 ...
  • 24.5k
36 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 ...
  • 50.4k
26 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, ...
  • 41.1k
23 votes

Editing someone else's question to add context

To edit posts to improve them is appropriate. However, one should make sure to respect the author's intent. Moreover, I recommend to focus such activities on questions that one actually finds ...
  • 41.1k
22 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 ...
  • 41.1k
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 ...
  • 6,168
21 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)}...
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 ...
  • 41.1k
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) ...
  • 41.1k
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 ...
  • 32.5k
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 ...
17 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 ...
16 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-...
  • 16k
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/...
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 ...
  • 6,168
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 ...
14 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 ...
  • 9,778
13 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 ...
  • 23.3k
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 ...
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 ...
  • 32.5k
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 ...
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 ...
  • 32.5k
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 ...
  • 25.7k
10 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 ...
  • 2,864
10 votes
Accepted

Overemphasis of context?

Firstly, I would say that you probably did not read the FAQ called How to Ask a Good Question. It basically tells you what "context" means as well as how to provide it. It is also shown to ...
  • 54.2k
10 votes

Strange demands for re-adding context

As Asaf alludes to in his comments, the question is closed because enough users have voted to close it. It's rather like trial-by-jury: if a sufficient number of people are convinced, a verdict is ...
  • 6,168
10 votes

Why is my question deleted as "missing context"?

[Promoted from comment to answer, by popular demand] It means that teachers like to formulate their answers to meet the needs of individual students, and can't do that if we don't know anything about ...
9 votes
Accepted

Why was this question downvoted?

Reading the question it is entirely unclear what the asker knows and does not know. For instance: do they know what $\mathbb{Z}/3\mathbb{Z}$ is? If you read the comments under your answer, it would ...
  • 25.7k
9 votes

How to ask a good question.

One question per post Limit yourself to one question per post (according to the general StackExchange guidelines). Maybe (but this should be an exception rather than a rule) two closely related ...
  • 85.4k

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