I have a tendency (which I'm fighting now as we speak, but this whole parenthesis thing is a good example of it) try to way over explain myself when I ask or respond to anything pretty much. Online or in real life. I feel like I'm giving necessary information for context but nevertheless it tends to make people bother wanting to wait around for me to get to me main point. So if anyone has made it through to here and has tips as to how I can be more concise and simplistic while being able to give what I'm asking or talking about the needed context I'd really appreciate it!

  • 4
    Tip 1: add paragraphs. This question currently is too long to be a single paragraph imo. If you want tips for your real life, this isn't the appropriate site. You could ask Interpersonal Skills, but I'm not sure it's on-topic there.
    – Erik A
    Jun 20, 2018 at 12:13

2 Answers 2


First, write the whole darn thing out in all its glorious parenthetical detail.

Second, find the actual question. Often, you will have written "my question is" or "I guess what I am asking is" right before it. Make this the title. Remove "my question is" or the like in the body and bold the question that remains.

Third, look over the body and ask "will not knowing this keep someone from answering?" - for example that you are a beginner, or what platform you're on, or the exact error message, or the like. They can stay. Your motivation for writing the app, how long you've been working on it, what you think of the platform -- these aren't needed for answering, so strip them back out.

Fourth, look for "meta talk" -- this is my first post, I hope someone can help me, I'm asking because I can't figure this out -- these things can be "taken as read" and just use up space in your question. Remove them. Also look for (I have seen far too much of this) insults towards the topic you're asking about and by implication, the people who know it well and are going to help you. You know, "Windoze", "this stupid product", "this useless framework" and so on. This includes saying that you're "stuck with" working on something. It's ok to ask about a capability you had with a different tool, but don't insult the one you're asking about. Remove any complaints and strip out rude adjectives.

Fifth, look hard at the first two sentences of your question. These will be the preview text on the main page when people hover over your question title. They'll also show when people tweet links to the question. These need to scream "you know this, come on in here and answer this!" Since your actual question is the title, don't repeat it as the first sentence. And don't waste the first sentence on the "meta talk" mentioned above. Get some meaty details in there that a qualified answerer will latch on to.

Sixth, take one more pass over it. Is everything in the right order? Have you pared away what can be pared away? Is it obvious what the question is? Have you broken up a "wall of text" into paragraphs or bulleted lists? Have you included a small code snippet (formatted as code) and your error message? Would a screenshot help? Are you making it easy to know what the question is?

I would follow these steps to edit your body to:

I have a tendency to over explain, both online or in real life. I feel like I'm giving necessary information for context but people have to wait around for me to get to my point. How I can be more concise and simple, while giving the needed context?

(It ended up short enough that I didn't need to bold the actual question.) Notice how many words and phrases I removed because they didn't actually add any information. Of course the context is for "what I'm asking or talking about". All those "try to" "have to" "pretty much" etc are adding nothing. Strip away and the question emerges.

Seventh, go ahead and post it.

Eighth, watch for edits on your posts by more experienced users. Take note of what they do. Do those things yourself next time.


Start with your question, then provide the background information. (Then, if there was a lot of information, repeat your question at the end.)

Avoid parenthetical comments. Avoid long, convoluted sentences.

People don't read on the web, they scan. So make your paragraphs significantly shorter. Use whitespace to better break up the concepts in your question.

Use the other tools available to you: Don't make long lists of words separated by commas; use bullets. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

After writing your response, go back through and see what sub-clauses and other fluff you can remove without changing the meaning of each sentence.

Here's how I might have written your same question:

How can I ask more concise questions and improve my odds of getting an answer?

I have a tendency to over-explain myself when I ask a question or respond to a query. I feel like I'm giving necessary information for context, but nevertheless it seems people don't want to wait around for the main point.

If you've made it this far and have any tips as to how I can be more concise while being able to give the necessary context I'd really appreciate it!

Sorry. Can't help you in real life. I've the same problem. But this advice should serve you well on Stack Exchange.

See also:

  • 1
    If the question needs to be repeated within a question, then I think that's a red flag that the question may be too long. I think the best questions close with a single question, which the rest helps to frame.
    – PolyGeo
    Jun 20, 2018 at 13:07
  • Needz moar footnotes
    – Shog9
    Jul 12, 2018 at 0:32

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