For my experience with the stack exchange network, this issue is quite unique to physics stack exchange (probably because my physics intuition is still not as good despite the undergrad courses I have taken in my uni result in errors and overlooking things):

Right now I am seeing the warning banner that I will be blocked from asking anymore questions due to a recent downvote in response to my recent edit to a (fortunately) now answered question which I suspect my recent edit (changing the title) make my question become "unreadable" to the down voter

From my records, since 2015, I have 3 questions (all being answered, either in the comments or as an actual answer, in the span of one month) in total:

  1. the above (Answered in a discussion which I then summarise the results)

  2. another pop science question that ask about dimensions due to a TEDxBoulder video (answered by a guy that pointed out my wrong premise and the correct meaning of dimensions in physics)

  3. and a question that ask about an evolutionary mechanism that applies to the universe (answered by John Rennie in the comments who referred me to a book that talked about related ideas)

have either received down votes (-1 to -2) and/or closed by moderators (usually John Rennie, Kyle Kanos and David Z). Questions 2 and 3 were later deleted by the community due to how the SE system works

Put on hold as unclear what you're asking by (skipped)

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit your question.

The issue that suffer from these 3 questions is that, the premise is either wrong or already found to be implicity violated some SE rules

(e.g. I am made aware that the multiverse is considered highly speculative to PSE (hence question closure attracting) only when question 3 was closed then deleted by SE, e.g. I don't know that the guy in that TEDxBoulder video that form my basis for question 2. is a crank and thus I should not have asked about the 'physics' of that video, which cause that question to be branded an "off topic" flag before being deleted by community)

thus even if they can be edited, they cannot be fixed because they are already broken from the start

Given obviously my level in physics is still not very steady, attempting to answer questions to prevent myself from getting question banned by PSE is not an option

Is there anything I can do about this scenario?

What should I do from now on, besides careful proofreading of my questions?

NB There's actually a 4th question which I suspect will be of this type in the pipeline (something to do with interpreting the second law as wavefunction degeneracy using De Broglie relations as a premise), which fortunately thanks to ACuriousMind help clarified question 1 thus shooting down the premise needed to ask that question 4, it is prevented from being asked. Otherwise I think I will be in deep trouble

  • $\begingroup$ You seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. I think your question may have been unfairly closed for #2, but in the other cases, I'd say try to be more clear with what you are asking. $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ I think an essential change is still better than a closure, but I am probably alone with this opinion. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Commented May 31, 2021 at 15:23

1 Answer 1


Here is my advice on how to make your questions more presentable. I can't guarantee it will help, but it works for me.

1) Make sure you are clear and concise. It is vitally important that we can understand what exactly you are trying to ask; clarity is of primary import. However, do not write a novel. Be concise and try to ask your question in as short a post as possible. If it takes 2 hours to read your question, nobody will read your question. They will skip through most of it, likely find it unclear (not having read it all) and judge it as unclear.

2) Provide details. There's a trade off between providing the right amount of detail and keeping a post appropriately short. Not too long, but sufficient detail. Strive for that. If you ask "Why is this light red?" That's unclear. Provide details.

3) Check your facts. Many times, we'll close a question as unclear because it asks about something that just doesn't happen. For instance, if you thought somehow that gravity made things fall up and asked us "Why do things fall up?", we'd close the question as unclear. Things don't generally fall up, so we have no idea what you're asking about when you imply they do. This can be solved two ways. Check your facts first. If you find things don't generally fall up, revise your question to "I thought that gravity makes things fall up in general, but it turns out they fall down. Why do things fall down? Or why don't they fall up?". Alternatively, you can add context and details. "Why do things, like balloons, fall up?". But always check your facts. Do prior research.

4) Spelling and grammar. Use punctuation. Period. Make sure you spell things properly. spell like u r irl cuz i and evry1 else h8s and wont read chatspeak. Make sure sentences have nouns AND verbs (and whatever else they may need). Bad spelling and grammar can easily make a question impossible to understand.

5) Check the site for related questions. For instance, we don't need another question asking how the twin paradox is resolved. If you have a question, first check to make sure it wasn't asked and answered somewhere else. That way you can avoid having a question closed as a duplicate.

That should cover the essentials. Here's a few tips, just for consideration:

  • try to avoid posting links to videos. Sometimes our users work in offices or libraries and can't have videos playing. Some of them just don't want to have to watch through an entire video just to get the context of your question. It's like posting articles. Avoid it if possible and include a brief summary of relevant material if you have to post a link. This also avoids the problem of dead links.

  • don't be discouraged by downvotes, we all get those. Just ask how to improve your post. If they say make it more clear or they say it has a faulty premise, fix it. Add detail, be more concise, and turn your question around to ask why that premise is faulty (and how that affects the whole system if that's the core of your question), rather than why it's true.

  • don't include your own speculation or theories in a question. Don't. I'm not saying you do or that I think you would, I'm just saying don't because that's something that I always want to ensure people know not to do.


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