How can I write a post that will gain attention from the user's I want to reach?

In what way should I write my question in order to maximise my chance of obtaining a wide variety of answers, in case I receive just one answer, which may be difficult, or even impossible, for me to follow?

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    $\begingroup$ By the way: We already have a faq for writing good question titles, complementing this question for general advice with specific advice for the title. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 14:33
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    $\begingroup$ Should this post be CW & FAQ? $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic Mod
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ @CountTo10: I was asking everybody. This seems to be a community decision. $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic Mod
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Qmechanic I would say yes to both - maybe park it on faq-proposed for a while first, though. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


My apologies if this answer seems patronising in any way. It's based on mistakes I have made myself.

We already have this post How To Write Good Titles For Questions, so I will only concentrate on the content part of the question, other than the click bait reference.

This answer is aimed at users with rep points between 100 and 3000. If you have stuck around that long, you will know the basic etiquette, (for example, don't use all capitals, don't try to be too clever/funny and remember to accept answers, not just upvote them).

I welcome suggestions that serve to improve this answer, within the contraint that brevity is better.

Some possible ways to improve the chances of getting an answer.

  1. Think of how your post looks to the users. Pick a person that you respect on the site and write as if it's for them. Whether you like this particular phrase or not, you are in effect selling both yourself and your question, every time you post. People, especially online, like things made easy for them, so make your question as easy as possible to answer.

  2. This type of 2 line question will be closed. The following data pertains to the performance test of single acting reciprocating air compressor with bore 15 cm and stroke 12 cm. Suction pressure and temperature = 1 bar and 20ºC. Make calculations for the volumetric efficiency. It shows no effort, no research and basically comes across as a demand for an answer.

  3. Don't write "There are similar questions"...write the link to those questions in your post since "similar" could mean a host of related questions.

  4. Whenever possible, link to abstracts in the first instance and let the user decide from there. If your link to a source necessitates a PDF, include "PDF Download" in your link, otherwise on tablets and phone, the link won't seem to work, although the PDF is downloading.

  5. Avoid click bait titles, you won't get respect for them and they don't improve the standard of the site. See How To Write Good Titles For Questions

  6. Do not use any more images than absolutely necessary, and keep them small, as scrolling down unnecessarily large images on phones and tablets will put users off. Big images scream, "look at me", which does not improve an otherwise valuable post. Reducing Image Sizes is the place to visit regarding the correct image size to use.

  7. Use paragraphs, because white space is free. Don't lose the users attention by hiding a good question in the middle of 3000 solidly packed words. A paragraph is easily added by pressing the enter/return key twice, (not once) then preview your post before clicking to add it to the live question list.

  8. A screenshot or photo of a short extract from a book (within copyright restrictions/ fair usage policies) can be converted to text using one of the many convert to text websites, which may improve your post, compared to posting a picture.

  9. Put your question at the end of your post, even if you have already got it written in the top and in the title. People misread posts all the time, so make sure you are clear in what you are asking. The readers are actually very often impatient and want to get the question as fast as possible, preferably in the title. If this is not convenient, at least use boldface in the text: My question is such and such, so the reader can skip text. For long posts: a summary that experienced users probably know the details of better than you do, may well suffice.

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    $\begingroup$ Concerning 8 & at the end: The readers are actually very often impatient and want to get the question as fast as possible, preferably in the title. If this is not convenient, at least use boldface in the text: My question is such and such, so the reader can skip text. $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic Mod
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 15:30
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    $\begingroup$ Related detailed Meta Chem.SE post on image sizing: Sizing for images. $\endgroup$
    – user36790
    Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 16:27

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