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Is it acceptable to create a question, and then provide explanations about the question in terms of subquestions in the same post?

If you were me, what would you do in such cases?

Here are some most recent examples Implicitly typed vs untyped?, and Does "static" or "dynamic" imply a compiler or interpreter implementation of a programming language?

  1. To me, the questions I asked in a post are closely related to each other that they are explanations of one single question, and show my understanding and uncertainty about that single question.

    Some people have different opinions from mine above, maybe because of the following reasons:

    • When some people see multiple questions in one place, they think it is too much, or can't get to understand that my intention of asking them was to provide various thoughts including uncertainties of mine about one subject, which may also be directions for others to help me find about why I was confused with the subject.

    • Some people have negative view about the way that I organize the questions in my post, or the way I phrase them. I don't claim that I am not good at them, but I tried to do the best that I could.

    • As a self learner and most of time a beginner to many subjects, the confusions that I have might not be the case to those experienced, and the questions that I consider as closely related might not be the case to them.

    • On the other hand, from my perspective, I have also seen someone who wasn't familiar with the subject that I was asking about, didn't quite understand what I was asking about yet (sometimes maybe because of my fault, and I was willing to improve them to the best that I could), but felt quite confident to vote to close or downvote my posts because of multiple questions in one post.

  2. As far as I am aware, there are two kinds of "resolutions":

    • If I separate them into multiple posts so that one post one question, that will likely make them seem more or less isolated from each other, and make others not easily understand my intention of asking the single question, and my thoughts for it.

    • Often I could have made a post with much fewer questions, by changing subquestions into nonquestion sentences. But I didn't do that was because as a self-learner, I didn't want to sound like I was completely sure about many things. I hope others not to take my understandings and thoughts for granted, and could either correct my misunderstandings or confirm my correct ones if possible.

Thanks for your opinion.

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  • $\begingroup$ The both questions got one upvote, no downvotes. The subquestions were a bit deeper than indication of points to include in the answer, one post literally exhausted all possible combinations and started from big block of quote. So it would require to write about four times bigger block to properly answer your questions, where properly means to be sure it is good answer beyond "yes/no" and beyond the quoted material. I find your post here good, but still think that your question is far broader than described here. After posting question here you have asked another questions - without feedback. $\endgroup$ – Evil Sep 17 '16 at 20:27
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Here's one model that works:

Ask one question that you are confused about, and show us what self-study you've done and what efforts you've made to try to solve it on your own. Show us your thoughts, your reasoning, and what possible answers you've considered and why you've rejected them. Think hard about it before asking.

Here's a model that usually doesn't fit our format well:

Ask a bunch of different but closely related questions in a single post.

Why doesn't that work well in our site's format? See Can I ask only one question per post for a detailed explanation.

Please understand, this is not some kind of moralistic judgement. I'm not saying that people who ask multiple questions are bad people. This is just a recognition that some types of questions work well for our format and others don't. Some types of questions don't work as well here, due to limitations of the Stack Exchange platform. So, we want you to pose questions in a way that respects the Stack Exchange model.

This is also not a purely arbitrary guideline. There are some reasons behind it. If you respect and trust people here to give you useful answers on technical matters, I'd ask that you please also respect and trust our experience about what types of questions do and don't work well on Stack Exchange.


I get the impression that maybe what's happening is you get curious about a question Q, then you try to read a little bit to see if you can work out the answer yourself, and that uncovers other more basic topics that you are not sure about. This triggers "subquestions" R, S, T, etc. You respond by posting a single question that includes all of Q, R, S, T.

If so, don't do that -- there's a more constructive way to post here.

Instead, when that happens, treat it as learning exercise. Pick one of those more basic subquestions, say R. Now read and study more to see if you can work out the answer to R on your own. If you can't, ask R as a new question (and show what self-study you've done and what your thoughts are).

After you get the answer to R, absorb the implications, and then use that to figure out what the next question to ask is. Maybe you next post a question where you ask S. Or maybe the answer to R has helped you figure out the answers to R and S on your own and now you post a question where you ask T.

Finally, once you've figured out the answer to all the subquestions (R, S, T), you're ready to ask the original question Q you were curious about (assuming by now you haven't already worked out the answer). Now you should be able to write a good question, where you can explain what reading you did, what your reasoning is, what possible answers you considered and why you rejected them, etc.

Notice that this process still involves asking only one question per question. That helps it work better in our site's format. I realize it does require a bit more patience. Think of that as part of the price of having access to the aggregate wisdom of the community of answerers here.

Notice also that it involves asking the questions sequentially, i.e., with only one question live at a time. That's because often the answer to one of your questions might help you understand the other questions, rendering it unnecessary to ask them.


In short: no, please don't ask multiple subquestions in a single post as a way of explaining your reasoning. Please try to stick to one question per question. I hope this answer has given you some ideas about how to go about that.

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