I know that "check my work" questions are off-topic, I understand the reasons behind that, but does this also apply to "check my understanding" questions? For example:

My understanding of the Weak Equivalence Principle is that inertial and gravitational mass are equal.
Is this correct?

I found some questions like this on the site, but they always included a "bonus questions", and the answers always ended up answering to that.

  • $\begingroup$ I really dislike questions like these, because if everything is correct then the answer is just "yes". $\endgroup$ Sep 11, 2020 at 11:53

1 Answer 1


To paraphrase this answer, if a full and complete answer to the question is "yes", the question is probably off-topic.

I would suggest one way to ask a "check-my-understanding" question is to submit the question as a question, on its own, and at the same time to submit your current understanding as an answer. You would want to be up-front about this in your question, so that readers aren't surprised or confused. If you pursue this strategy you'll get feedback on your answer in terms of votes and comments in addition to parallel answers. But what has happened to me when I've tried this approach is that information has moved back and forth between the "question" and "answer" parts of the post, until I've ended up with a much better understanding of where exactly I was confused and a much tighter question overall --- if I even have a question left when I'm done.

  • $\begingroup$ I guess it's a matter of verbalization. If I can't explain a concept, I probably don't understand it enough. Equally, if I'm struggling to ask a good question properly, I probably haven't even really defined or understood question in my head yet. Hopefully this comment is a good understanding of your answer... (and is therefore of use to someone) $\endgroup$
    – pateksan
    Sep 22, 2020 at 0:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's a skill, which takes time to cultivate. Another helpful intermediate step is to ask a duck --- the out-loud verbal process is quite different from the typing process. $\endgroup$
    – rob Mod
    Sep 22, 2020 at 0:55

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