In Mathematica SE, there should always be two parts to a question:
- The question
- A (failed) attempt to answer your own question.
The failed attempt indicates that you have put some effort into solving the problem yourself, doing some initial research, and are stumped. For Mathematica (and I assume other SE programming sites), it works very well.
Do we try to do that here? Quite often, there are questions where no research, not even a cursory look into Wikipedia have been performed. These questions are irritating; I think they should definitely be closed.
However, take as an example Bureaucratic structure of the state during the Ottoman Empire which has been recommended for closure. The OP starts with what I find to be a decent question:
To what extent did the bureaucratic structure of the state that were required to sustain the Ottoman’s wealth and power undermine (damage or weaken) the foundations of the Ottoman state in the late 19th and 20th centuries?
The answer to this question will relate to the technical advances in political administration and cultural comparison. Both of which are interesting (at least to me) when comparing the Ottoman administrative techniques to those of contemporary western Europe.
Then the OP takes a stab at answering the question. A quick read through their theory shows that the OP doesn't know enough historiography to take a stab creating a quality answer. It would be very difficult for the OP, without a few years of reading, to find the answer. So the OP has done some basic research, and then came to SE History to ask us, "the experts" for help.
One of the comments by @MarkC.Wallace then asks:
Are you advancing a theory and asking for proof, or are you asking for the answer to a question.
So basically, this comment indicates a preference for no effort put forth by the OP? In my opinion, it seems like there is a catch 22 for new SE History members:
- Need to show some basic effort
- However, don't put forth evidence that you've put in some effort, or your question will be rejected as pushing a pet theory.
This might mean that we have a poorly defined standard for good questions. To be honest, after a few months here, I haven't quite figured it out.
Should something be done about this?
Part of me wishes it was standard for each question to have part A) the Question, in bold, then part B) Initial research and clarification about the question's topic. That way, we won't send away newbies who are willing to do some initial research, and put up a stronger shield against those who do no research at all.
However, I am relatively new here so I don't know. I think an authoritative example question might help us increase the user base, and make moderation more straightforward.
Please Note: Just to be clear, it is obvious that Mark Wallace has been working to improve the quality of questions asked here, and I want to support this thrust. I think standardization will help.