So I asked a question recently that hasn't picked up any answers. Obviously this is not your typical question that most people can answer. What can I do to help advanced programmers find and answer my question? For example, maybe the question be made clearer or the tags and title can be tweaked.


5 Answers 5


Assuming that you have already done the following:

  1. Re-evaluated the question to see if it could be made clearer.
  2. Re-evaluated the question to see if it could be made shorter.
  3. Engaged with any responses or comments and edited to incorporate feedback.
  4. Continued working on the problem on your own and updated the question with new information.
  5. Considered a bounty.

Basically the best way to look at each question is "why should they care?"

  1. It's easy. Low effort to solve.
  2. It's really difficult. Hard effort to solve. (some people love pain)
  3. It's high visibility. Lots of rep involved.
  4. You're clueless. Some people love to help.
  5. It's an interesting problem.

Clearly, yours is not (1), it's not really (2) either, it is simply obscure. It is certainly not (3), or (4). So your only option is (5).

Basically, you have a very factual and dry questions. Unfortunately, it provides no incentive for anyone to sacrifice their time to answer it, because all they would (most likely) do is use google or bing to find the answer, which is something that you've already done.

However, if you can rephrase your question and question title into a problem that is interesting or actionable then you might get some people willing to sink their teeth into it.

Create a scenario where the problem is in code and you "can't" figure out what it's doing/suppose to do. Give them a concrete starting point, and a quantifiable goal (the answer), and then they'll spend some time trying to help you.

Then, once you've edited it that way, and still had no bites, it might be worth tossing out a bounty to get the attention of the bounty-hunters.

  • Damn hard truths... Anyway this hasn't gotten in the way of my original goals (writing a ECMAScript engine) it is just that I can be so obsessive about trying to understand something. It is kinda like a warped floorboard in my house. It isn't going to cause any harm but damn it bothers me so much. Jul 15, 2010 at 19:42
  • I don't know if I can make this question any more interesting. I will probably have to wait for the bounty link to show up. Jul 15, 2010 at 19:44
  • @Chaos, if you can think of a situation in which the outcome behaviours would be different, then you can offer those up as examples. Or, maybe that might answer your question on its own. Or you could email the people who wrote the standard.
    – devinb
    Jul 15, 2010 at 19:51
  • I appreciate your efforts. Jul 15, 2010 at 21:01

Put a bounty on it, perhaps? You've got 12.6k rep - drop a spectacular bounty on it and see what happens.

  • No bounty yet but I am keeping that in the back of my mind. What I am looking for in this case is for possible improvements to my question. For example, maybe the question be made clearer or the tags and title can be tweaked. Jul 15, 2010 at 16:54
  • 1
    Yes, putting a bounty on the question is usually the most effective way to get attention to a question. I recommend 400-500. Jul 15, 2010 at 18:54
  • Although I will be posting a bounty. I accepted @devinb's answer as appreciation for his analysis of my situation. Jul 15, 2010 at 20:58
  • That's certainly fair. Jul 16, 2010 at 15:44
  1. Perhaps cast the question in terms of one of the dialects of ECMAScript, JavaScript or ActionScript. For instance, provide an example (even an on-line demonstration) in JavaScript that demonstrates the problem. The audience for ECMAScript is probably much smaller than for either of those two languages, and the experts might be more code-centric.

  2. Come up with a catchy title.

  3. Post a question about it on Meta Stack Overflow. Ahh... wait a minute!

If that does not work, use a bounty.


You've already got a 100% accept rate, which always helps. :)


Basically the same advice we give in the faq.

In order to get good answers, you have to put some effort into your question. Edit your question to provide status and progress updates. Document your own continued efforts to answer your question. This will naturally bump your question and get more people interested in it.

  • 1
    The problem is I am not sure how I can improve the question. I include a link to the spec, list all of the appropriate sections and limited the scope of the question. Jul 15, 2010 at 17:16

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