Proposed rewrite of the section follows
What types of questions should I avoid asking?
First, make sure that your question is on-topic for this site.
- Don’t ask trivial questions. Check wikipedia and google; if the answer is there, then your question is trivial and off topic. However, if they provide an answer, but the answer is incomprehensible, please ask here, but explain why the other answers don’t make sense. Many pages in google or wikipedia are based on assumptions that aren’t obvious, and H:SE is very good at identifying the assumptions and helping you find pointers to further reading.
- Don’t ask chatty, open-ended questions; ask narrowly focused questions. Open ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page. Ensure that your question has an answer, and that a reasonable person can identify the answer unambiguously. If necessary ask several narrow questions rather than one broad one.
- Don’t ask for a doctoral thesis; ask reasonably scoped questions. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.
- Don’t ask for sources unless you are asking for a very specific, canonical source. “I would like a book about X” is out of scope, “I would like to know the authoritative source for Parliamentary records in during the English Republican period” is probably OK. This is frequently discussed in meta; if you’re unsure, search for “sources” in meta and review the discussion.
- If your motivation for asking the question is “I would like to participate in a discussion about ______”, then you should not be asking here. However, if your motivation is “I would like others to explain ______ to me”, then you are probably OK. (Discussions are of course welcome in our real time web chat.)
To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where
- every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite ______?”
- your answer is provided along with the question, and you expect more answers: “I use ______ for ______, what do you use?”
- there is no actual problem to be solved: “I’m curious if other people feel like I do.”
- you are asking an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if ______ happened?”
- your question is just a rant in disguise: “______ sucks, am I right?”
(The above section was adapted from MetaFilter’s FAQ.)
Some subjective questions are allowed, but “subjective” does not mean “anything goes”. All subjective questions are expected to be constructive. What does that mean? Constructive subjective questions:
* inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”
* tend to have long, not short, answers
* have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone
* invite sharing experiences over opinions
* insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references
* are more than just mindless social fun
For more detail, read about our guidelines for great subjective questions and blog post about how real questions have answers.
If your question is about the site itself, please don't ask it here. Visit our meta-discussion site, where you can talk about things like what questions are appropriate, what tags should be used, suggest a feature, point out a bug, or generally discuss how this site works.