I have a closed question on history SE that is too unfocused. I have been trying to improve it but it has recently been auto-deleted. Per this question I am soliciting feedback on meta about what to do. In particular, I'm interested in any opinions the community might have on a few proposed edits.
Here is the question statement:
What proportion of US government revenue was from federal vs state vs local governments between 1790 and 1846?
In its current form, the question is too unfocused. In this comment the great Semaphore advised to add more detail in the question statement, and to organize my section on background research better in order to make clear how it is relevant to the question.
To that end, I have a few ideas. I would appreciate any criticism of these ideas and/or new ideas:
- Define my terms better, e.g. revenue and federal/state/local government, or explain the types of revenue estimates I would be looking for.
- Demonstrate that the question is well-founded, e.g. demonstrate that local governments were constituted in a recognizable way at the time or that accounting records were sometimes kept during the period.
- Specify better the form of answer that I'm looking for, e.g. do I want three numbers for the whole period, or time series, or do I just want sources, or qualitative evidence, etc.
- Discuss challenges and approaches to answering the question.
- Add some discussion to the beginning of my background research section describing what each research finding is intended to demonstrate and/or what the whole thing is intended to demonstrate, and what I perceive to be the limitations of my background research.
- Add a discussion of background research that I have not found to be useful, but which demonstrates prior effort.
One problem with a lot of these ideas is that they involve "adding more words," and I want to avoid cluttering my question.
I have tried to do this on my own, but I still don't think it's good enough, so I don't want to bother the moderators yet with a flag. At the same time I feel like I have reached the point of diminishing returns as far as what I can do on my own. There is also the possibility that this question is somehow too dumb to fix, and that people are too nice to tell me. I'd be interested to hear that too!
EDIT: On the advice of Semaphore I did a bit of #2, justifying the time period 1790-1846.
EDIT: On the advice of Mark C. Wallace I tried to do #1, #5, and #6. I feel like it was a useful exercise, but the way that I did it might have made the question too cluttered?