I recently asked the question Correcting what I see as factual errors in a political discussion, and I received a few downvotes. What can I do to improve the question?

  • 1
    I didn't downvote, but paragraphs 2-5 read like political commentary, and the point of contention could have been summarized in one. The purpose of the question is to ask how to react when people don't believe you or blindly dismiss you, not whether your factual accounting is correct or not.
    – user3169
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 17:41
  • 3
    @user3169 Solid advice. You should post that as an answer. Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 17:45

1 Answer 1


I've read your question a couple of times now, and... I'm not totally sure what you want.

Remember, the purpose of asking questions is to solve some real problem that you face, or at least a problem reasonably similar to it:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

What's the practical purpose of your question?

  • Are you going back to the club?
  • Are you gonna get into more discussions about emails?
  • Are you considering a career as an evangelist, and figure if you can get to where you can walk into a group of Hillary-haters and convince them their key complaint about her conduct was baseless you'll have no problem converting heathens?

Right now, you're asking three different questions:

  1. Correcting what I see as factual errors in a political discussion

    That's not actually a question, it's just a title. But if I squint a bit, I could see it as a "HOWTO" sorta thing... Unfortunately, it's super broad.

  2. Did I do anything wrong in this situation?

    This is pretty specific to your exact situation, while also being pretty open-ended as to what you want. It's somewhat akin to the folks who post a thousand lines of code in a question on Stack Overflow and then say, "it doesn't work - halp?" Yes, they might get a useful answer, but they sure aren't making it easy.

  3. Is there a way that I could have worded my correction to make it more persuasive, or at least so that it would have gotten a response other than a blank stare?

    Ok, that's almost two questions in itself, but now you're at least getting close to something concrete. I gotta confess, I don't particularly like "how can I make others do something with words!" questions, but this is at least a bit softer - you'd be happy with literally any response other than the one you got.

If you can't tell, I'm kinda partial to #3 - if I was you, I'd drop the rest and focus on that. Then clean it up a bit - there's an answer there now that suggests yodeling as a way to avoid blank stares; hopefully you're not actually asking "how 2 troll IRL?" ...right?

Maybe... "How should I voice a correction in a group discussion such that others are able to consider it?"

But keep in mind what I said above: unless you have a specific goal, something you're trying to do with the answers, you're gonna have a rough time constructing a question that encourages useful answers; it's hard to fake a genuine need.

Also... As user3169 suggests in a comment, you could probably drop most of the digression as to the nature of the whole email scandal; it's not relevant, and just encourages folks to get into a debate over it here instead of helping you better debate it elsewhere.

You must log in to answer this question.