I have only asked about five questions on the site so far, and about 15 questions across the English Language & Usage, Chemistry, Blender, Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Philosophy Stack Exchange sites.

I noticed a pattern of when I would continue to ask questions about someone's answer to my question they would blurt things like "just Google the concept of (blablabla)" as if I was wasting their time by asking further questions, even though I had adapted them in some way to fit the context of the question. They perceive I am trying to aggressively prove them wrong somehow even though I'm just curious about the topic at hand.

I was worried about my account getting permanently banned for this sort of thing, so I just want to know if it falls under the "Rudeness" rule in the site guidelines to ask too many questions. After all, they have the option to ignore my replies.


2 Answers 2


I don't see the type of rudeness you describe in the comments under answers to your questions here on Physics. It's possible that I missed an inappropriate deleted comment, or that you've gotten those remarks in other communities, or that you are paraphrasing.

I do notice that you tend to use comments under answers to your questions as a springboard into discussions of related ideas. That's a ton of fun, but it's not the way our community works. As the help center explains, we're a question-and-answer community. We specifically discourage extended back-and-forth discussions in the comments; for extended back-and-forth, we host a collection of chat rooms.

The rule of thumb I use is to relate the complexity of a follow-up comment to the complexity of the answer it's attached to. If I'm looking at a ten- paragraph answer and I think my follow-up question will add one more paragraph (or less), then I'll ask in a comment. But if I am looking at a one- paragraph answer and I expect my follow-up question to add two paragraphs ... well, that answerer may have already volunteered all of their writing time for today.

It's almost always okay to ask complex follow-up questions as separate questions. Many more people will see a follow-up question than will see a comment under an answer, so you're more likely to get help. It is polite to link to any related questions or answers, including those cross-posted to other sites, and to be clear why your follow-up question is distinct.


I wouldn't say it is rude per se, but perhaps some comments are in place.

Physics is a subject that grows exponentially fast, in the sense that new knowledge tends to use a great deal of previous knowledge. For example, if you ask a question about General Relativity, people will assume you are familiar with, say, Electrodynamics.

This sometimes means you might ask a question about GR and the person answering will give an answer that uses concepts from Electrodynamics you might not be aware of. I don't find it that unusual for someone with little physics background to ask about some really complicated stuff and get a complicated answer. Of course, this might lead to many follow-up questions to understand the answer.

This has some issues. Many of these follow-up questions might be also quite complex and impossible to answer in a comment and deserve a post of their own. In other cases, the follow-up question might not be suitable for a post because it is, say, the third class of an Electrodynamics course. In such a situation, I find it reasonable to expect that either you can understand the concept with a Google search, or you lack the proper Electrodynamics background, in which case we have a completely different problem.

This different problem is that the answer might have no chance of being useful for you right now. In some of my questions, I have received answers that are great in hindsight, but I definitely had no way to understand them at the time I asked the question. A way to avoid these issues is to try to make clear in your post what you expect of an answer. For example, it seems to me that the majority of users on this site are currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Physics or already have one. Hence, it is really common for answerers to assume this. It is, of course, completely okay for someone on high school to ask questions in here, but making clear in your question that you expect an answer accessible to high school students will lead you to much more useful answers.

For example, the Relativity example I gave. Relativity is an interesting subject here because there are questions asked by people working with the theory, and there are questions asked by people who know very little physics and are just curious about the Universe, and everything in between. And sometimes it is not clear from the question alone if the person expects an answer for a layman or an answer heavy in differential geometry. Depending on how I answer, the answer might be extremely useful or useless. Hence, adding context about what you expect in an answer might make the answers way more useful and minimize the amount of follow-up questions necessary.

  • $\begingroup$ Huh. In some of my posts I state my background, that I'm 16 and just started college-level (i finished high school and got A* in Maths and A in Science (General mix of Biology, Chemistry and Physics)) physics and yet sometimes the answers I get involve complete gibberish (to me, as of right now) with Greek letters and equations and terms, abbreviations that make no sense and when I reply that I would like an explanation for all of that they reply "just Google it" or "you'll learn later in the course" $\endgroup$
    – user350881
    Dec 30, 2022 at 12:57
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    $\begingroup$ @AshtonDowling Some users ignore the author's context and give useless answers sometimes. I'm not sure why, but if you made your background clear and they gave an advanced answer either way, in principle I believe you did everything right. I wouldn't consider it rude to ask many follow-up questions in this situation $\endgroup$ Dec 30, 2022 at 13:04
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    $\begingroup$ @AshtonDowling it seems you miss part of the point that the site provides answers to the community at large and not just the OP. Thus, an answer may be quite good for the community even if you as OP do not understand the finer details. Remember also there should also be some finality to an answer. Thus, if you expect something that narrowly and exclusively fits your level of expertise, you should have an individual discussion (which is not the format of this site) with someone with the expertise, time and patience to go down all the roots of all the concepts that may come up. $\endgroup$ Dec 30, 2022 at 15:25

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