Let's say that I want to ask a simple question like "How are planes able to fly?" or "Where on the internet can I find the list of all presidents of USA?". Asking these questions I'd have to add a description because otherwise I get the error:

Body is missing.

What if I have nothing to add? Should I repeat the question? In my opinion adding why I need the answer to these questions is useless and clutters the thread.

Edit: This is not the same question as mentioned "How to leave body of question empty?". I'm asking why can't it be empty. Ramhound's comment on that question does not satisfy me at all. Not exery question needs more details. Examples what I should add as a description to mentioned above questions are welcome so I can feel what to add to my future simple questions.

The Tin Man's comment also doesn't satisfy me. In my opinion, SE is also for simple questions and they are not always simple.

  • In my opinion, it's not the same and I'm not satisfied with the answers and comments. Please read my edit for more.
    – user1
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 11:55
  • 4
    The question How are planes able to fly? is asked here. It's an excellent question because the OP points out his/her research and what the 'tricky' part of the question is.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 11:59
  • 4
    The list of presidents question is off-topic. It asks for an external resource, and links to external resources can become broken. You're better off asking these kind of questions to Google or Wolfram Alpha.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 12:01
  • So you cannot ask on SE for links? I'd disagree. If the source becomes broken somebody will comment about it sooner or later and the author can then update the link or remove the answer.
    – user1
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 12:06
  • @Glorfindel It's probably not best to ask Wolfram Alpha for a list of presidents of the United States. At least for now.
    – user642796
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 12:41
  • @ifajra lol ... :) Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 12:51
  • @ifajra you're right. I remember being very enthusiastic about the capabilities when they launched. Seeing this, I guess they're still not out of their alpha phase after 7 years ...
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 13:38
  • "Where on the internet can I find the list of all presidents of USA?" No. Just... no.
    – user1228
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 14:58

3 Answers 3


The body is mandatory because on SE we expect posts (questions and answers) to be of a certain quality.

For questions for example we expect that the OP shows their research, asks a clear question that is also useful for future visitors.

I highly doubt that with just a title you can fulfill any of above quality indicators. That is why a title should just be the invitation for a visitor to read the actual question and its context in which the question is relevant.

Question bodies that do nothing more then repeat the title are down voted by me. With that I hope they get removed as I doubt they will be useful for future visitors.

  • Care to spare some downvotes? data.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/query/580984
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 12:09
  • Perhaps I should have just added [my question](goo.gl/gugzhY) that I asked. Imo, this question is useful for future visitors because I myself couldn't find the beta version of VirtualBox. And for that question there was nothing to add. I could say that I googled "beta VirtualBox" but it's just a waste of time for people reading the question. Especially that my question was a Q&A type.
    – user1
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 12:11
  • 3
    @user39042 That is just an awful question and not a good fit for Stack Overlow because it asks for an off-site resource. At best it should go on the tag wiki of virtual box.
    – rene
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 13:08

Questions as simple as "How does X do Y?" or "Where can I find X?", with no body, are almost certainly going to be closed on probably every site in the Stack Exchange network. Questions should be well researched and include any relevant background information, what you have tried/researched and why that didn't answer your question.

If your question is one line with no supporting information it's not a question for Stack Exchange, but somewhere like Yahoo Answers.

Examples what I should add as a description to mentioned above questions are welcome so I can feel what to add to my future simple questions

In the case of "How are planes able to fly?" you add what your current understanding is, what you have researched, what you didn't understand from that research.

"How are planes able to fly?" on it's own is a very broad question and without any previous information would takes an entire book to explain in any serious amount of detail. As such it would be closed as "too-broad". As What types of questions should I avoid asking? says:

Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.


From the help center:

How do I ask a good question?

We’d love to help you. To improve your chances of getting an answer, here are some tips:

Search, and research

Have you thoroughly searched for an answer before asking your question? Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and above all, it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer!

You simply cannot show your research without posting it in the question body. Think of the error message as a reminder that you need to provide a substantial body. Without (showing) research, a question quickly gets downvoted, as the tooltip on the downvote button shows:

enter image description here

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