7

We've had a lot of discussion on this topic, but its largely spread amongst other threads.

Grace first proposed the idea here, but to date, all discussion has been centered around whether or not certain questions should be allowed.

I'm not asking for your opinion on which question are good or bad, I'm asking for descriptive qualities which characterize questions as being a "Good" question.

  • Great question, tzenes. It seems like all question aksers should view this topic. – Robb Aug 25 '10 at 16:52
  • The score of 25. – John Mar 4 '16 at 9:11
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Descriptive qualities:

  1. Thorough. Be descript, distinct and complete. I think vagueness in questions may lead to it getting shutdown.
  2. Clear. Proper grammar and sentence structure. Sounds like common knowledge but if I can't understand your question, how can I answer it?
  3. Spacing. A wall of text turns me off from the question. But proper spacing and paragraphs go a long way, especially for a longer question
  4. Specific. Similar to Thorough. Be specific. Tell me what are you looking for, don't make me guess. I would prefer "What are the hard counters to Maruaders for each race?", as opposed to "What are the hard counters to Maruaders". It keeps things cleaner, I feel.
  5. Formatting! Formatting options are there for a reason: to help you build a question they way you want to ask it. You have links, list tags, even an image tag!
  6. Polite. This goes without saying but if you convey rudeness, that makes the question a bit less attractive.
  7. Useful. Please keep in mind just how useful a question will be. Does it benefit the site at all and other users or are you just trying to mine for rep?
  • For the "Proper grammar and sentence structure", English is my second language, so my question are edited by others quite fast to correct those kind of errors. But it could be problematic if it goes beyond a certain point. – DavRob60 Aug 25 '10 at 16:15
  • A first I would never have thought to put Formatting, but once you said it, its so obvious I don't know how I missed it. – tzenes Aug 25 '10 at 16:41
  • A lot of your SC2 answers, tzenes, use excellent formatting and images, really making your answers attractive and easy to read/digest. I imagine your questions would hold the same quality. – Robb Aug 25 '10 at 16:43
  • Definitely agree with all of these, and I like Thorough being #1 because I find that to be the most important of all 7. Answerers are contributing their time to solve your question, so be direct and thorough: tell them exactly what you're looking for! As well, people can edit your post for formatting, clarity, and specificity; they can't edit a vague post without author input! – Grace Note Aug 25 '10 at 16:48
  • @Grace Note at StackOverflow we constantly see questions that are basically "I need to do this, how?" when they don't even specify the language or what they have tried. Very frustrating. – Robb Aug 25 '10 at 16:59
6

I'll take the controversial stance with two criteria that I find to be of utmost importance.

1. The question has the potential to be concluded

On our FAQ, we clearly state "This is a place for questions that can be answered". The meaning of this is that there exists a possible conclusion to the question - an answer which will solve it. This answer might be a strategy, a method, a link, or a list. But the important point is that the question will be solved. An endless question, and likewise a mere discussion, is not as good as a question that someone can stride in, see an answer, and go "Okay, that's it!"

2. The question and its solution(s) are something that can be deemed "useful"

This sounds subjective, but in my eyes the very essence of a good question is determined by the fact that it will get upvotes. It needs to actually solve an issue that people find useful to be solved. This is very similar to my second set of points in this answer. There are many on-topic questions that can be asked which are simply not useful. The ultimate goal of the site is a resource for people to find in later points - so a question that gets answers which no one wants or finds will not be a good question.

  • 4
    I disagree about #2. Even if you could possibly prove I am the only person that will ever exist in the entire universe who has that particular problem and needs it solved, I still have that problem. Let upvotes bring the "useful" questions out -- that's what they are for. – badp Aug 25 '10 at 20:06
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    @badp I'd argue that while we can answer such a question and it deserves to stick around, I wouldn't call it a good question. Most any such question can also be reformatted into one more useful to a larger audience, and this sometimes will also get you much better answers for the author than the original exclusive inquiry. Yes, upvotes will mark the good questions, aye? – Grace Note Aug 25 '10 at 20:09
  • @Grace: the problem is, if we make the question less specific, it becomes even more prone to be closed because it has become too open ended. – badp Aug 25 '10 at 20:18
  • @badp I'll use this as an example. In the first revision, naturally the only people who would be helped would be anyone who has the exact party structure and future setup. All it took was changing the title a bit to change it to something more useful, while also getting exactly the great answers that user was needing. That's a much better question, and it didn't sacrifice anything. – Grace Note Aug 25 '10 at 20:19
  • I am also not advocating changing a question away from what the author actually needs. And for obvious reasons, people should not revise a question with the intent of getting it closed. A question should be refined to make it a good question, not necessarily transformed into something different. Transformation is only good when the author actually realizes that a different inquiry will suit her needs much better than the original. Otherwise it's destructive and worthless to the community, especially to the author. – Grace Note Aug 25 '10 at 20:34
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    But being a good question isn't a requirement - there is nothing inherently "wrong" with a 0 vote question. Sometimes you just have a specific problem, after all. Not many people care how to get above the dash shoes in BMD but I certainly could answer if anyone asked "Is it possible to get onto that platform in the room with the dash shoes?". – Grace Note Aug 25 '10 at 20:36
  • Hey @Grace, people are discussing in the chat about what you really mean in your post. Mind hopping in? – badp Aug 25 '10 at 20:44
  • @badp I missed you when I popped in, but at around like 18:30 EST (23:30 UTC) I did basically pop out with my standpoint, so a check on the transcript might help. – Grace Note Aug 26 '10 at 13:14
  • Well, there are certainly a lot of obscure games that I might have specific questions about (or even want to self-QA on), and Arqade and video gamers in general do cover a very broad range of games on just as broad a range of systems, so questions here can be very specific. Minecraft does seem to be popular, though, so if you play that game you should be way ahead here lol. – GuitarHeroAndDancer9001 Jul 22 at 20:02

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