7 Answers 7


Have a question title that accurately and concisely summarizes the specific question that you are asking.

Your title is the first piece of information that someone will see, especially once your question hits the Hot New Questions lists. We need to be able to know what the question is about to some degree based on the title of the question. Try to avoid titles that are too general, or just a description of the situation you're in.

Remember that you can always write down your question body first, and afterwards fill in the 'Title' box with a summarized version of your question.

For more information, see Should we edit titles that are not sufficiently descriptive? and How important is the phrasing/wording of the title question?


Use formatting to make your question easily readable and well structured.

Paragraphs, line breaks, and bolding the important bits like your actual question, limits and/or goals are always helpful. Especially for longer questions, making the important parts stand out can really help. Consider splitting your question up using headers. For example, try and separate the background from the actual situation that prompted your question, and then put your actual question, its goal and its limits underneath another heading. Including a TL;DR is often also much appreciated on longer questions.

See Are there any suggested question structures? for an example of a question structure, and the help-center page on formatting for how to use Markdown or HTML to format your posts. If you want to try something first, Main Meta has a Sandbox where you can experiment.


Let us know what you would like to achieve, what your goal is.

Questions without a goal are often too broad, or too subjective even for this site, as every answer will be equally valid. Please indicate what you expect from an answer. Be specific, for example, if you think of asking about how to resolve a situation, explain what a resolved situation looks like to you.

In order to help you best, let us know what your priorities for the outcome are. This may include goals such as preserving or improving your relationship with the other person(s), having your feelings acknowledged, spending less time on the issue, etc.

If any of your goals might conflict with one another, please rank them. Every limiting detail makes a question (potentially) more answerable, in the Stack Exchange format.

See also: Let's close questions that don't have a goal that we can address and our help center


Include the details: Let us know what happened and who was involved.

Questions work best with a specific example. Even if you're trying to get general guidance on how to act in a general situation, a description of this situation and how you usually behave will help narrow down answers to be as helpful as possible to that general situation.

Asking how to handle a family fight at christmas dinner may be an okay question, but we need to know what the fight was about (in general terms), how it started, who started it, and what happened after.

Who got involved? How you interact with a spouse vs coworker vs employee is vastly different, so please let us know the kind of relationship we need to take into account. If these people have a certain way of reacting to situations that you'd like us to take into account when answering, please mention it. For example, if you don't want to offend people, please let us know why you think they're likely to be offended.

Too much detail can deter users from reading your post, so try to limit details to exactly the problem you want solved. If Bob had nothing to do with what happened except being at the christmas dinner table, please don't give us his entire life history. If we feel we need information on Bob to answer the question, we can always ask for it in comments.


Please include some cultural/location information or a tag.

Social skills and norms, traditions, values etc. will vary depending on where you are and the culture of that region. Pakistani social norms will be different from Canadian norms, which themselves will be different from those of South Africa. If possible, use a region tag and/or disclose in your question itself what cultural and social norms we have to take into account. That way you'll hopefully get more useful answers, that take into account what is and isn't acceptable behaviour within a culture.

If you're dealing with someone with a different cultural background than yours, it is very useful to include both cultures in your question.

More information can be found at Should we tag our questions by (cultural) region? and Are questions that lack a location tag really too broad?


Let us know what you've already tried, or what you think won't work and why.

Showing your research effort is encouraged on SE. To avoid getting answers with solutions you've already tried, please let us know if you've already tried anything, and include details on how you did what you did.

The same goes for solutions you've considered but aren't willing to go through with: Please let us know what you've considered, and why you think this won't solve the problem at hand. For example, if you're afraid of upsetting someone by doing something a certain way, then it'd be helpful to know why, does that person have a history of being upset over similar things?

See also What constitutes a lack of research effort on IPS? and our help center


Use appropriate tags.

If you already know you're asking about a certain skill, such as , , or setting , please use a tag for that. Other good things to include in tags are social/cultural norms (usually in the form of a location/country tag), and tags that describe your relationship to the people you're dealing with (e.g. friends, acquaintances, family, coworkers, strangers). Try to use tags that are as broad as possible, and try to avoid making new tags.

For more information, see Can we focus our tags more on the skills encountered in the question? and the help center page on tagging.

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