In one of my previous comments made in a Q that got too lengthy, I mentioned that I use some tactics when asking, in an attempt to get the most relevant amswers.

I'd like to share the details with the community in hope that the quality of the contents gets better.


1 Answer 1


I usually structure my questions in 4 parts:

What I've been doing

First, I describe the scenario that led to me asking. This can be a popped up idea, or an actual problem I'm facing. If the scenario isn't worth asking, or there's no community where it fits, I'll drop it and work it out myself.

This part allow potential answerers offer better solutions, if it can be determined to be an XY problem. The asker would sometime need to explain why they insist not to use the better solution.


Next, offer background information, such as what you know, what field is being delt with, etc. as well as anything that may be special to your situation.

This part allow potential answerers spot premises that're false, so that what originally may be complex could be greatly simplified.

Problem Statement

Describe, using clear language, in necessary detail, the problem. The problem should be derived from, and is relevant to anything said in the background, so as not to confuse people.

This part sets the direction for answerers, so its presence is significant.

Question Points

Finally, phrase the question that you want to ask. These should relate directly to the problem that asker is facing and must not deviate away. The points should be related, and preferably have causality, as otherwise the question may get overly broad.

This format is good for communities with topics on applied theories such as ours (cryptography), but it may not fit for example on StackOverflow or retro computing.

Additionally, if you believe this is useful, you can add a bit of background of yourself, such as what you know, what fields do you specialize in, and links to whatever webpage/article/publication that inspired you to ask the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Stripping all the unnecessary text after writing the question would also help -> Stripping all unnecessary text from the question would help, $\endgroup$
    – Maarten Bodewes Mod
    Commented Mar 31 at 16:24

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