@Sempahore and I did some chat which started today (24th June 2015 about 11:18 CET), here is the link to full conversation http://chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/22353368#22353368.

As I can see, I am not able to ask clear questions. On the chat I tried to explain my reasons to Semaphore, but also failed.

Many of my questions seem to be unclear and require comments to clarify. I try to write a long question because I want to show my research effort, so the question would be interesting (we spoke about this one, so I will be referring to it, but for other questions remarks also apply). All this citations are taken directly from the question body.

  • I performed a research and found out, that English kings used the title "King of France" for a long time (since Hunred-Years war until 1800).
  • The research revealed to me, that (some) French had problems with it, when French delegates demanded that the King of Great Britain abandon the title of King of France as a condition of peace. This was the first citation, from Wikipedia.
  • Then I showed that I understand that this was a ceremonial title (Even if using the title "King of France" was only a part of some tradition, this should have been some problem for the French as after the Revolution they demanded to cancel using it.), however, Mark C. Wallace and JMVanPelt wanted to explain me that this was ceremonial.
  • Because I had found out it could be some problem for (some) French, so maybe before revolutionary delegates somebody beg/ask/demand the English to cease it?. However, this was also not clear, because CGCampbell said, that delegates did. So again, this was not clear and I had to explain once more.
  • Because I expected that the the title "King of France" is ceremonial, I showed an example in the question (I understand that when two kings met on some occasion (or an ambassador was introduced to a king) there was confusing presentation of two "kings of France".), why this could have been a problem for the French.
  • Then, Tyler Durden asked What exactly is your question?.
  • The question is stated in the title and it reads "What was the reaction to English monarchs using the title “King of France”?"
  • The Did she beg/ask/demand the English to cease it? subquestion is a possibility of a reaction of French Kings or French governments. I ask this subquestion to show, that I was thinking about the problem and I know some possibilities and answers, but I don't know if they are true.
  • The How did other countries take/recognise this title (the largest/most important, like Spain, Holy Roman Empire, Austria, Poland/Lithuania, the Pope, Ottoman Empire maybe)? means, that I am not only interested in what the French did, but also how other European powers considered the situation. I'd wish that answer will not focus on the France only. The question title does not use the word "France" in this context.
  • The Was it just taken "it's just a children's play, let the English perform it, if it's fun for them"? is another possibility to show that I did something before asking
  • The Has anyone tried to clear this situation? question is a summary.

I don't know what was unclear here and why Semaphore says "You write a lot of things".

This question is an example, but I had similar issues and comment-discussions in the question about UK bonds for Napoleon wars which ended in a conclusion, that this is not a historical question, and some others.

So, ok, I can write short questions. This is an alternative:

What was the reaction to English monarchs using the title “King of France”?

The English kings used the title "King of France". Did anybody else respect it?

Expected comments:

  1. Have you made some research? Go, google it! First link, from Wikipedia, man! French delegates demanded that the King of Great Britain abandon the title of King of France as a condition of peace.
  2. Which kings of England?
  3. Why do you think that this was a problem for France?
  4. @2 I would say that also kings of Great Britain. But saying "kings of England" may also mean Alfred the Great. The question is too broad, I'm voting to close.
  5. -1. The question shows lack of minimal research effort [3 up-votes]
  6. This was a ceremonial title, you know? Check Wikipedia before asking: The seven monarchs of this period [1603-1707] continued to use the style King/Queen of France, though their claim was merely nominal. None of them was willing to engage in military campaigns for France against the actual Kings of France Henry IV, Louis XIII and Louis XIV of France.
  7. This question is off-topic because it asks for a list of French diplomatic actions.

I don't know how to improve my questions. What do I do wrong? Why are my questions not clear?

PS. Today I asked a question, which again led to the discussion in comments. I deleted it because I had performed too few research and were eventually able to find the answer myself. But anyway I also think that I just wanted to be precise.

  • 5
    There is in my (second hand) experience a bad culture on this SE for shutting down questions... My friend who is an actual historian stopped using it because you weren't allowed to ask reference requests and so the site became irrelevant. Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 13:23
  • 1
    @EivindDahl We do allow requests for source materials, which was what you were asking for last time. What is generally rejected is requests for reference recommendations. Also, as I keep noting in the chat, Voitcus' questions were not closed. Commenting on a question is hardly shutting it down.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 15:39
  • 3
    @Semaphore I don't say that I am against. I see there are lots of comments from which it seems nobody understands me. I don't think my English is that bad, so the problem can be with the question itself. So I ask why people do not understand me here. They do on physics, Lego, SO and other sites. So what is wrong with my history questions? Again, this very comment is the proof of what I say
    – Voitcus
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 16:05
  • 1
    @Semaphore Reference requests to reference recommendations seems like an incredibly artificial distinction when the angle should be "is this question helpful or relevant to historians?" If there is a culture for questioning the validity of almost every single question, and for shutting down a great deal of them, then that makes this page unfriendly, stressful to use, and finally irrelevant. I know admins here want to do everything right and have all the best intentions, but to be quite frank, this is what Kafka writes about and it's ungood. Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 0:08
  • 3
    @Semaphore By the way, commenting on a question questioning its appropriateness for the site is very often tantamount to shutting it down and should be done sparingly. Nobody wants to write a good answer with three admins saying they're considering voting to close, and the person asking the question loses most of their chances of even being taken seriously. It's a stressful turn-off for both enquirer and respondents alike, to say the least. Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 0:30
  • 1
    @EivindDahl By reference recommendations, I'm referring to requests for recommendations for textbooks for history books on a topic. That's extremely different to requests for historical sources. I didn't make the rules, go start a topic to try convince the community if you think it's that important. Also, ordinary members asking for clarifications on a question are not "admins shutting it down". Don't blame a lack of answers for your unclear questions on commenters trying to understand it. In fact, those people are likely the ones who want to write an answer in the first place.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 3:06
  • 3
    @Semaphore I'm not blaming it all on you mate, though you're part of this culture. Honestly, you're being a dick to that guy. Read the chat log and apply empathy. You can substitute "admins" with "people" if you want. I just stumbled across this meta page and figured I'd tell this poor guy why his questions aren't taken seriously. I'm done trying to fix this place, though I'm very happy reference requests are now considered OK, that took a frickton of work for something that should never have been a problem in the first place. Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 3:27
  • 1
    My empathy comes from telling him that him receiving comments on his question is not an issue. In all of his examples (except maybe the execution one) nobody's calling for the question to be closed; you're the one hijacking this into allowing reference requests. Just because the community disagrees with you on that point doesn't mean it's a problem.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 3:35
  • I'm not hijacking it into being allowing reference requests. The only reason I ever cared about that was I thought HE could be helpful for researchers in the field if it was different. In many ways. I'm telling him his "expected comments" section looks pretty accurate to me, and that parts of the culture on this site dictate that it is frequently not about being useful for historians but about asking questions that follow narrowly defined rules and dealing with disrespectful comments like "What exactly is your question?," or, say, your entire conversation with @Voitcus Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 3:53
  • 1
    One possible reason there are downvotes on this question: it's so long! I couldn't read through it. Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 20:39


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