One of the causes of closure of a question as unclear on our site (I'm a mod at CrossValidated) is questions that make a series of statements but fail to actually ask anything -- they leave the actual question entirely implicit. It also seems to be at least sometimes an issue on other sites I frequent.

It would be very useful if the help/how-to-ask pages actually included the most basic aspect of asking a question -- which is to actually ask one.

Could something like this small addition be made?

Make sure you actually include your question. It may seem obvious to you what you mean to ask but it may not be so obvious to people reading your question -- it's better to be quite explicit about what you want to know.

It could perhaps go under "Be specific" for example.

1 Answer 1


I strongly support your proposal, and would like to suggest adding an extra sentence to it.

In English (the language of almost all SE sites) a question is indicated by a question mark.

The close reason of Too Broad says "Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once".

Consequently, a simple cross-check on whether an SE question is specific can often be whether it contains a single question mark.

I propose the one sentence appended to your proposal be:

Try to include only one question, which should be indicated by a question mark, because that can be a simple cross-check on whether your question is meeting the ideal of being specific.

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