Is there a way I can improve how my current questions are received because no matter what I do they get received worse? They don't even tell me what needs improvement.

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    $\begingroup$ I think the reasons are different for your different questions. One of them is considered off topic for this site, but the one about magnets is on topic. I think it's quite an interesting question, but people found it hard to understand what you meant. for that question I have edited it to try and make it clear. $\endgroup$
    – N. Virgo
    Jan 26, 2019 at 3:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Nathaniel That should be an answer $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Jan 27, 2019 at 7:00
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    $\begingroup$ The answer you accepted has a score of -4, so it's clearly not representative of the community's consensus (see the comments there). Some of the suggestions for fixing are good, but some (badges) are downright false. I don't see how sticking that post to the top would be productive, and I certainly think that you should be taking the well-received answers more seriously. It looks like you chose that one simply because it sympathizes, not because it's the helpful advice. $\endgroup$
    – user191954
    Jan 29, 2019 at 4:46
  • $\begingroup$ it was higher before $\endgroup$ Jan 29, 2019 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ It got to -3 straight away... I remember that I posted a comment under it as soon as it was posted, and it was positive (one upvote) for barely a few seconds before being un-upvoted and subsequently downvoted (perhaps by other people though). $\endgroup$
    – user191954
    Jan 30, 2019 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ then I saw an instance it was positive $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2019 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Chair also thank you for making sure I had the right tags on my sound question $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2019 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ This one doesn't need improvement! $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2021 at 9:54

3 Answers 3


Don’t say things like “I know [whatever] due to deep research”. This is pretentious because it is obvious from your questions that you are not yet an experienced physicist, and saying this kind of thing shows disrespect for those who have done deep research.

Similarly, do not mention “the science channel”. We’re all for popularizing science, but you can’t really learn physics by watching TV.

Don’t say “I want as many people to explain as possible.” This comes across as pushy, and all you need is one good explanation.

Just ask your question in a simple and clear way, do not embellish your expertise, and don’t make any demands.

You asked your question about iron and star death in a reasonable way, and it did not get downvoted. However, the problem with that question is that you could have easily found the answer by an internet search for “iron star death”. Why should we answer questions that have easily-found answers?

  • $\begingroup$ I am in a friend group of extremely smart people so and one of them actually watched me have the same side of a magnet touch and stick $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2019 at 18:39
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    $\begingroup$ @Luna That is not very relevant to the questions: people either believe you did the experiment you said you did and the observed result you reported, or don't. Saying you have smart witness won't change that belief. Maybe posting pictures or a video is what you need to get that question answered. $\endgroup$
    – lvella
    Jan 29, 2019 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ I lost the compass recently $\endgroup$ Jan 29, 2019 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ they recorded the information that I used to ask the question $\endgroup$ Jan 29, 2019 at 19:42

Patience patience patience.

One easy thing to do is to search this site by keywords and by tags. In many case, less experienced users will not take sufficient care to find duplicates or near duplicates, and their questions are closed as such. Another virtue of searching the website is that it will help you broaden your understanding of the topic by reading what others have asked, and what others have answered. It will also provide examples of well received and not so well received questions on this topic, and so will help you detect common pitfalls of closed or poorly received questions, and common themes of well-received questions on the topic.

Search the web or textbook for material on this topic. By making a lot of prior research and doing a lot of preparatory reading you will not only improve your knowledge of the topic, but you will also become familiar with the terminology of the area - the technical words - and this will be a help towards writing a question that is clear and concise.

This question and its answers also contains a lot of useful tips.

All of this takes time, hence: patience patience patience.


I am not sure how this answer will be received by the community but I'd like to point out that there are many superficial things that determine how your question is received. I am not claiming that your question was well-researched enough for the community's standards. However there is a certain way of writing which gets results, which is independent of the actual research effort done by the asker.

Your question (down-voted to -3):

I found out that iron is the death element for stars, but i couldn't find why can anyone knowledgeable on stars explain why iron causes the star to die?

An edited version of the same question which I expect wouldn't be downvoted as strongly, which doesn't actually have any more research effort than the original question:

Recently I have been interested in the life cycle of stars. I read that if a star is found to contain lots of iron, this indicates it is near the end of its life. It wasn't clear to me, though, why this is the case. Does the iron cause the star to die? Or is it just the byproduct of some other process which brings a star to its death?

An incomplete list of things which have a strong effect on up/downvotes, which I consider superficial:

  • Using correct punctuation, grammar, spelling. There are many people who would see your uncapitalized "i" and kind-of-runon sentence style and immediately think less of you.

  • Consider writing your question in a more academic, rather than just everyday-language, kind of way. This correlates with the impression that you are respectable and knowledgable in your field.

  • Longer questions can be good. Then the people who come just to downvote based on superficial reasons sometimes don't bother to read the whole thing, and anyone who does read the whole thing has bothered enough to give you a chance and is more likely to at least help you with a comment if the question isn't well-written.

I could write more but unfortunately don't have the time right now.

Edit: To be clear, I think that questions should not be judged this way, and I do my best not to judge questions superficially. It is just my experience that many new users have their questions downvoted for superficial reasons like this and the first step to improving that is to point it out. It actually makes me frustrated that this happens, and that is one reason I have given such a long answer here.

However I do want to say: This is not an issue, necessarily, with stack exchange itself. Many people in many fields judge by appearances. In some fields less, and in some more. Academia especially can often be very unforgiving about this. I think it is a shame because the focus should be on ideas, not presentation, but this is the world we live in. Each individual can only try not to judge superficially for themselves, and this kind of thing can be improved. It also means that students who don't speak english well but are good physicists are disadvantaged even when the communication of their ideas is clear, and just the details are missing.

I think that the reason your question here on meta got many upvotes is that many question-askers have some resentment for how harshly their questions are judged, without reasons given which are clear/justified to the asker.

The up-side is: I think there are many people here who don't judge questions superficially as well, and are happy to answer any question which is clear to them. That is why your questions did get good answers in the end, despite being downvoted.

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    $\begingroup$ "the reason your question here on meta got many upvotes is that many question-askers have some resentment for how harshly their questions" I disagree with this. I downvote questions a lot on the main site. None of my questions have high scores, but they aren't downvoted much, I don't have any such lack of satisfaction. But I upvoted this meta question because coming to meta and asking for suggestions is exactly the right thing to do when someone notices that their questions are consistently downvoted even though they've made attempts to fix stuff. (cont) $\endgroup$
    – user191954
    Jan 27, 2019 at 11:56
  • $\begingroup$ That could very well be true, it was a guess of mine but I don't know for sure. I am sure that there is such resentment from some users, but I can't say for sure that it's the cause. $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2019 at 11:59
  • $\begingroup$ Of course there is such resentment, and that may indeed be a cause for some of the upvotes: they could be people saying "I've had that too" or whatever. But I don't think that it's a predominant factor here. $\endgroup$
    – user191954
    Jan 27, 2019 at 12:00
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    $\begingroup$ I don't personally ever remember being influenced by badges when deciding to upvote or downvote. Likewise minor typesetting errors are unimportant, at least to me - we all make typos. $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2019 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ see this answer to a different question: physics.meta.stackexchange.com/a/7335/36194 $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2019 at 19:08
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    $\begingroup$ thank you for your sympathy with typos @ZeroTheHero I make a lot (I mention that somewhere on my google account) down-voting for typos is really harsh $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2019 at 20:57
  • $\begingroup$ Just saw the last comment here. I don't downvote for typos etc. I resent the fact that others do and I think it doesn't bode well for new users on stackexchange. That is the reason for my post here :P $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2021 at 14:45

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