I find that most (all) posts that include an enumerated list of sub-questions are bad. Outwardly, this is because they're too broad: a good answer would have to go through too much material. Often, the OP has encountered several manifestations of some underlying lack of knowledge and hasn't taken the time to focus the post down to that underlying issue (in some cases this may be a result of that issue being subtle, but in my opinion it usually is not). In other cases, there is one obvious real question, and then a bunch of related follow-up questions that aren't really related to the important issue.

I find myself often commenting on these posts, asking the OP to either split the post into several smaller, more focused posts, or to just focus on the thing they actually want to know.

Should we update the help center to specifically remind people that lists of sub-questions are usually not a good idea?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Related: meta.physics.stackexchange.com/q/6833/2451 $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic Mod
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 20:48
  • $\begingroup$ I could have sworn that was in the Help Center but I can't find it... has it ever actually be codified somewhere? Maybe only on the mother Meta? $\endgroup$
    – tpg2114
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 20:50
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @Qmechanic well, you gotta credit me with consistency :-) $\endgroup$
    – DanielSank
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 20:51

1 Answer 1


If this were to go in the help center, it would probably fit in the how to ask page, and we don't have the ability to edit that. It's the same network-wide.

In any case, I doubt that people typically read the help center before asking. I think the most effective way to get the information to them is to post a comment - have them learn in context. You can also just edit out all but one question from a post, if it's clear enough how to do so and if you wouldn't invalidate the answers.


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