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Questions that are not clearly described are quickly closed down by a moderator, who are almost unlikely to help the asker clarify their confusion by asking suggestive questions such as "do you mean...", "do you want to ask...".

What can an asker do to make their question, which has not yet been conceptualized clear enough, acceptable?

Honestly,it sounds like a paradoxical question. On the one hand, if the questions are clearly defined, the asker can search the relevant literature on the academic engine directly with the specific keywords and concepts and get the relevant answers, which is more efficient and systematical than posting on Stack Overflow.

Stack Exchange is usually referred to when a right keyword or clear statement is not found. However, if it is not clear enough (even worse, sometimes, the question is interdisciplinary), it will usually be closed by the administrator without a specific reason and won't be reopened even when the askers provide more details and clarification.

In that case, the role of Stack Exchange as a bridge between academic research and practice and a more open alternative to earlier question and answer websites to help promote the development of new research will be limited. Is there anything the questioner could do to make the question "clearer" and more specific?

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  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps you could bring up a topic in the chat rooms first? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ How does one answer a 'poorly conceptualized' question? $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 18:46
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    $\begingroup$ Re "closed down by a moderator": Conceptually moderators (having some moderation powers), but not formally moderators. This question was closed by three regular users, ProfRob, ZeroTheHero, and Miyase, none of whom are (formally) moderators. The diamond is absent. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 17:50

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My usual advice in this situation is to participate constructively in the community until you have earned enough reputation that you can talk in Physics Chat. Our main chat room is The h Bar.

The realtime back-and-forth nature of chat makes it much more conducive to "spitballing" or "workshopping" questions which might not yet be well-formed enough for the main site. There are also users who use chat to discuss and solve questions which would be off-topic on the main site. But of course the chat room gets used for lots of things. There may or may not be anyone in there at all, and there may or may not be anyone who is interested in your particular question; patience and politeness are the keys to getting help.

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If you cannot pose a clear question, don’t post it.

Your premise appears to be incorrect: the purpose here is not to help you and only you. Rather, it is to help the broad community by answering your question. In other words, your question should be valuable to the community beyond your (necessarily more narrow) interest.

Thus, if you cannot pose a question clearly, what value will this question have to users of the site?

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Questions that are not clearly described are quickly closed down by a a moderator, who are almost unlikely to help the asker clarify their confusion by asking suggestive questions such as "do you mean...", "do you want to ask..."

First, many questions are closed by regular users. Typically moderators close questions only if it is an obvious "bad post" or if they will be the final close vote.

Second, why do you think those who vote to close asking clarifying questions is unhelpful? If a question is not clear, and someone indicates what is not clear by asking a question, the OP can edit the post accordingly. At the risk of coming across unhelpful here... what do you exactly mean by this?

On the one hand, if the questions are clearly defined, the asker can search the relevant literature on the academic engine directly with the specific keywords and concepts and get the relevant answers, which is more efficient and systematical than posting on Stackflow

But that is literally the purpose of this site. Really any question asked here could be looked up elsewhere or learned somewhere else. Certainly those answering the questions themselves have not found the answers on stack exchange. There is nothing wrong with asking questions here that could be looked up and learned elsewhere.

However, if it is not clear enough (even worse, sometimes, the question is interdiscplinary), it will usually be closed by the admin without specific reason and won't be reopened even the askers provide more details and clarification.

Do you have evidence to support this? Every closure has a reason. And many questions are reopened after users edit the question. I have voted to reopen many questions that started off unclear and then ended up clearer after edits. Of course there are cases where questions fall through the cracks, but do you have a reason to believe there is a systemic issue here where questions that are sufficiently edited are still not reopened?

So I was wondering if there was anything the questioner could do to make the question "clearer" and more specific.

Yes. Add more details. Ask a specific question that can have a specific answer. Listen to those who are commenting questions and suggestions and edit the post accordingly. And look through the help center and relevant meta posts to learn how to ask a good question. Spending time on PSE also helps develop an intuition of what is a "good" or "bad" post as well. I know when I first got here I did not have a full understanding of these things. Over time I picked it up though.

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