This question is going to cover the following themes:

  • How to ask a good question?

  • How to improve a question to prevent it from being down-voted and closed?

  • Why was question XXX closed?

  • What can be done to improve the quality of existing questions?

  • Improve it to match the FAQ format, and I'll tag it as such. I will review it later today. – Madara's Ghost Jan 31 '13 at 5:57

What questions are considered on-topic for this site?

This meta has some discussions on whether an exact type of questions is on topic. They can be easily found by this simple search.

An interesting question will always be welcomed and up-voted on the site (as long as it stays on-topic, of course). If the question makes people think "hell, that's a nice one! How could I have not thought of this question before?", then its usually a good one ;)

Can you name some reasons that may lead to my question being closed?

Apart from off-topic questions, there are some other kinds of questions that you should avoid:

  • questions that can be answered by the first link when googling for it's exact title

    "Who is the main character of Naruto anime?" is probably not a good one.

  • questions that are duplicates

    Try to do just a simple search before asking the question. Searching works well on this site, and duplicate questions will certainly be closed. Save yourself some time!

  • questions show no effort from the asker, but require a lot of effort to answer.

    This may be debatable, but I think that most of the users will not like it. Imagine a question like "How many times did Naruto use Rasengan in the manga?", which is phrased something like "Hi guys, I love Naruto and I want to know how many times did he use Rasengan to make a wall poster". This question shows no research effort from the user - basically he just wants us to do all the work. It also requires quite some effort to answer, because it will likely force the answerer to re-check a lot of manga chapters and spend a lot of time to answer it. Do at least some basic research so we know that you are really interested in the answer and will appreciate it!

  • questions that can't be answered, or can't be answered with facts

    Questions like "when will the third season of Spice and Wold anime appear?" are not allowed, because we simply do not know, and we can not possibly know. Same goes for "why did they do it this way?" questions.

    Ideally, the answers must be supported by facts taken from official sources. Questions that can be answered only by speculation, and can not be supported by facts, are likely to be closed as not constructive.

  • questions that are ambiguous, or hard to understand

    People need to know what you are asking about, in order to make an answer. Try to phrase your questions in an unambiguous way, and to make them as clear and concise as possible.

How do I make a good title for my question?

Each question starts with a title, and a title is what people see first. A title should concisely tell us what the question is about, and be concise at the same time. This is hard to achieve sometimes, and you will have to find some kind of a golden mean. The title must be able to "catch" people, and make them go inside your question. It also should not leave them confused.

  • Example: Take a look at this question, entitled "Is No Face from Spirited Away based on any traditional Japanese legends?". It is a fairly good title. It immediately brings you to the point, while not being too long. It also suggests that there might be an extended question explanation inside. Now imagine if it was called, for example, "What is No Face's origin?". This is an example of a worse title, which is too vague. For example, by reading it, one can't really guess what "origin" means. It can mean a real-world prototype, or where did No Face come from plot-wise, or how did it appear, or something else.

Also note that a title should not contain spoilers! This is very important, it's hard to express how frustrating it is to be spoiled about a character death (or something similar) by a bad-written question title.

Can I ask a "what-if" question, or make a poll or a voting list?

This site is for questions that can be answered exactly and reasonably. Questions like "who would win, Madara or Byakuya?" are forbidden, because they only cause debate and will never be answered. Save them for chats and forums.

As for the list questions, they are allowed if they meet the following criteria:

  • They are specific and to the point. Don't ask about list of abstract concepts or anime series featuring some theme.
  • The list items can be determined objectively. Don't ask about a list of our favorite things, or things we think are "good".
  • The list is reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire wiki-page listing your answer, the question is not reasonably scoped.
  • The list isn't prone to rapid change. If the list is hard to maintain, it won't be, thus losing its usefulness.

If your question meets all those, feel free to ask it.

How do I make my question look better?

Formatting the question is very easily done in the editor, it doesn't require a lot of time, but makes a question much better and easy to read and understand.

At this page you can find some help about using the editor. A notable, but often missed feature is spoiler markup, which look like this:

This is a spoiler.

To add a spoiler, use the following markup:

>! spoiler-text-goes-here

Note that there should be an empty line before the spoiler for the markup to work.

Anything else I should know?

Do not ask the question and leave it alone.

I've seen it a lot of times on different SE sites: a user asks a question, and then leaves for a long time. Other users leave a lot of comments asking for clarification, but don't get any response, which sometimes prevents them from answering the question. Of course I'm not forcing you to monitor your question 24/7, but at least take a look on it once in a while after you posted it.

Try to check your grammar.

Of course, for many of us (maybe most of us) English is not a native language and we all understand that. However, if you will try to check the grammar in your question before posting it, it will be appreciated. Most modern browsers have spell-checking mechanisms. Some info about it can be found at this wikipedia page.

  • Awesome job SingerOfTheFall! – JNat Dec 20 '12 at 15:02

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