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I think SE prefers a single question that can be answered to a long discussion, or a stream of multiple related questions in a single post. Questions are rated on whether they are "clear". But questions are also rated on whether they show research effort. These two requirements are often at loggerheads, especially if the reseach has been inconclusive or confusing.

Which is more important, a simple, clear question, or showing research effort, even if the research results are inconclusive?

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To a large extent each user chooses for him- or her- (or its-) self what criteria are most important to them. Neither the moderators nor the team enforce any voting limits beyond the detection and reversal of voting rings and possible sockpuppets.

Personally I find that a little formatting emphasis on a "In short my question is..." type line can help with clarity when you feel the need to write a lot describing how you came to the question. Make it stand out so that if I start to fade out on the wall of text I can find the question.

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  • $\begingroup$ *itself = themselves. Political correctness ftw. :P $\endgroup$ – Kitchi Nov 27 '12 at 11:48
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I would say that research effort doesn't necessarily mean a tonne of equations to write out. If the answer is easily (for example) wikipedia-able, then that would show poor research effort. But if it's not one of those questions (like this one) which show that the OP has thought about it, but hasn't reached any consensus, that's fine.

Basically, I think physics.SE is looking to see that the person asking the question isn't using us as a tool to think. If it seems clear that he/she/them have thought about it, then that should be an acceptable question, regardless of how long/short it is.

Obviously, suggestions could be made to provide more/less detail, but as a rule of thumb this is valid, I think.

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