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What makes a good question for Ask MetaFilter?

Here are some guidelines. Often the key to getting good answers in Ask MetaFilter is spending some time crafting a good question. Here are some tips

1. Be concise. While it can be tempting to include every detail of a conflict or a dilemma, try to stick to details that are necessary for people to understand and answer your question. Try to differentiate between what is just venting and upset feelings and what is important to the answerer about your problem.
2. Be specific. Some questions literally can not be answered if we don't know the details. Relevant details make for more helpful responses.
3. Break information into memorable chunks. Put important details together. Feel free to use bullet points. Even if you started with your question, if your question is long, repeat the thing you'd like help with at the end.
4. Proofread, spellcheck and preview. While mods can go in and make edits, they may not be able to do it immediately. Make sure you've spelled things correctly, make sure your links work, make sure your question isn't just a big wall of text with no paragraph breaks.
5. Stay calm. You will get a better response to your question if you do not seem angry, irritable, ranting or otherwise unreliable as a narrator. If you can't ask your question with some level of objectivity, it might be better to wait until you can.

Try to read your question as if you didn't know you. Is there enough information? Is there too much information? Is the story easy to follow? If it's on a sensitive topic have you included another method of contact [MeMail or a throwaway email address]? If it turns out you've left something out, please feel free to email the mods via the contact form and we'll be happy to update your question or you can leave a comment in the thread.
(tags: ) October 21, 2011 - back to questions