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During the defining phase of a new proposed group, is it preferable to post questions with a specific topic, or to generalize them to show the type of question you're implying?

Example 1 (for a geology group):

  1. What do you study in seismology?
  2. What do you study in [field area]?

Example 2:

  1. How do you tell the difference between fools gold and real gold?
  2. How do you tell the difference between [mineral A] and [mineral B]?

Example 3:

  1. Where's a good place to go fossil hunting near Hartford?
  2. Where's a good place to go fossil hunting near [wherever]?
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See: What's with all the [brackets] on Area51? and What format should Area 51 questions take? (short answer: don't do the "mad libs" thing. If you gotta use brackets, put something specific inside of them.) – Shog9 Sep 21 '10 at 1:15
Welcome to Meta, @tryaria! – The Unhandled Exception Sep 21 '10 at 1:35
up vote 3 down vote accepted

None of the above.

Based on your examples, I would say:

How do you tell the difference between [fools gold] and [real gold]?

The brackets denote that the question ISN'T trying to establish whether "gold" is a valid topic for the site. It establishes that the identification of minerals is on topic. The [bracket] notation simply indicates that the word can be replaced with any specific example. Including a specific example helps clarify the context of the question.

It also avoids numerous duplicates when the same question is asked with different specifics:

How do you tell the difference between graphite and molybdenite?
Are amethyst and quartz the same thing?
What's the difference between alabaster and calcite?

Such duplicates are not helpful in defining the site.

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Good answer! I hadn't thought of it that way. Much better than either option I had come up with. @ Robert – tryaria Sep 21 '10 at 21:21

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