4

I have asked some questions before but I didn't get any (good) answers.

How can I bring it to people's attention again? Can I ask it again?

  • 1
    Can you tell us what is the question you are unhappy about? – user66974 Jul 7 '17 at 13:30
  • 1
    @Josh You can search EL&U for user:241946 is:q answers:0 ordered by newest. – Dan Bron Jul 7 '17 at 13:44
  • @Dan Bron - yes thanks :). But which one among the 27 questions asked so far? – user66974 Jul 7 '17 at 13:53
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    @Josh One presumes the Meta-Q is more general: OP has 27 questions which have received no attention, what's the general fix? At least, that's how the Meta-Q is framed and the spirit in which I've answered it. But having said that, Susan didn't ask this Meta-Q after the 26th unanswered question, it was the 27th which spurred them to action. Hence the "ordered by newest" in my prior comment. If you want to focus on specific Qs rather than the more general issue of getting attention for dated questions, focus on the most recent ones. – Dan Bron Jul 7 '17 at 13:57
  • @Dan Bron, ok, so be it the 27th. – user66974 Jul 7 '17 at 14:08
  • @Josh To be fair, from the full search string I posted above, Sasan only has 8 unanswered questions. – Dan Bron Jul 7 '17 at 14:53
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    @DanBron In my experience, questions get more attentions around some particular times in day/night. For example times around now are good ones. So sometimes a question is just asked around a bad time and it thus doesn't get enough attention. I think it is a good idea If people could put some questions in front line for the second time. – Sasan Jul 7 '17 at 15:05
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    @Sasan I don't disagree, but I think time of day is a smaller influence than you give it credit for. I think asking interesting, well-researched question is the best way to get attention, most other considerations notwithstanding. – Dan Bron Jul 7 '17 at 15:18
  • @thedrake you cannot compare Stack Overflow with EL&U, the former is a huge site that receives hundreds of questions a day, EL&U probably receives 40 on a very good day. The first link is a question posted in 2009, so the data is not relevant to EL&U. The second, was posted in 2013 and confirms that Sunday is the least favourable day to post new questions. – Mari-Lou A Jul 8 '17 at 6:19
  • I was using the best info available that I could find in hopes to help. Maybe the query/code can be modified to EL&U. – thedrake Jul 8 '17 at 13:56
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    After looking over the questions from OP, I've come to the conclusion that they are almost all poorly-conceived and full of odd and incorrect ideas which OP seems to cling to. When they reply to comments or answers, they seem to willfully misunderstand quite a bit. I don't think their questions are enriching the group. – John Lawler Oct 16 '18 at 19:49
21

Don't be duped

No, you can't ask it again. It will just be closed as a dupe.

The first rule to remember is that, in general, there is no guarantee you'll get an answer to a question, here or anywhere else in life.

Crave attention

With that in mind, here on SE, you have two courses of action open to you:

  • start a bounty on the question, which is like buying an ad for it¹
  • edit it to make it more interesting or attractive to answer

Be the most interesting person in the room

Most of the questions which don't get attention or answers here suffer that fate because they're inherently uninteresting.

If you can make your question stand out, make it interesting to research or to answer, you'll have a much better shot of getting the results you're looking for.

One good way to do this is to edit the question to cover the basics yourself. If it's a question about a word or meaning, tell us what you found in a dictionary. If it's about word choice, tell us what you found in a thesaurus. If etymology, tell us what you found in Etymonline, and so on.

If you do the basic legwork yourself, leaving only the interesting part of the question, that will not only lower the barrier to entry (answerers know they don't have to do the tedious general reference lookup themselves), but it will also make the question itself much more likely to be inherently interesting, because what remains will take either expertise or novel research!

Welcome to EL&U, and good luck!


¹ And, like buying an ad, there's no guarantee of results. You pays your money and you takes your chances.

17

Tips for Newcomers

  • Avoid posting grammar questions at the weekends. The majority of regular users are away from their computers and generally have lives outside EL&U

  • Create a memorable, or, provocative title, but above all make sure it's descriptive. Titles that say "Is this correct?", "Please help me with this sentence", "which is correct" and "Present Simple vs. Present Continuous" are the kiss of death. For example, the following title: Is “the” needed in the following scenario? tells visitors that the question is about the definite article and nothing else.

  • Place yourself in the native speaker's shoes. Would you click the question's title, if it was in your mother tongue? Does it sound interesting? Would you want to post an answer if you knew it?

  • Do your research. See Dan Bron's answer for more details.

  • Proofread your question, check for typos, missing apostrophes, etc. Avoid text abbreviations such as plz and wanna. The majority of users appreciate querents who care about their questions and spend time writing them out carefully.

  • EDIT Be your worst critic. Is the question clear? Have you fixed misspellings and typos? Is it focused? Have you shown your research? Speak plainly, include details, but don't go overboard.

  • Provide a background story. AKA context. Explain why you are asking the question. Did a teacher tell a rule but now you see it being broken? Are you having a discussion with a friend? Do you need this word for your novel? Find a hook, something original to grab people's attention with.

  • Source? Where did you read this sentence or word? Cite the source, its author and include a link whenever possible.

  • Study the questions in the HOT NETWORK QUESTIONS. There's a reason why single word requests (SWRs) are so popular. They can be amusing. Original. Thought provoking. They don't require brain work. but beware, they're like novelty toys, today they're hot news but in two days' time, nobody remembers them.

  • Good SWRs are answerable. Don't set the bar impossibly high, this will only lead to disappointment. Don't demand "a single word" at any cost, be open-minded and flexible, accept also an idiom or a phrase.

  • Finally, set up a bounty. However, if your question has none of the features listed above, don't be dismayed if it is neglected and gathers dust in EL&U's repository.

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  • Nicely, nicely done. +1. Shows you really know the ropes around here! – Dan Bron Jul 7 '17 at 20:42
  • Very informative answer, and not only for new users: we must all try to learn to write better questions! The picture of the shelves is very evocative (even though you are referring to the 'filed and forgotten' section) because I love books, shelves and libraries. – English Student Jul 7 '17 at 22:50
  • Good SWRs do require thought to answer, IMnsHO. – The Nate Jul 12 '17 at 22:56
  • @TheNate the more interesting ones do. But very often the answer comes in a flash, in an inspired moment. Some SWRs, the majority, don't require any in depth research. – Mari-Lou A Jul 12 '17 at 23:40
  • I admit a small bit of the true Scotsman on that, though I deny any fallacy. – The Nate Jul 12 '17 at 23:42
5

One method that has not been mentioned yet is creating a list of bounties with no deadline as a post on meta. Several other sites have done this so far, e.g. Language Learning Stack Exchange. Whereas ordinary bounties may expire before you get a good answer, the bounties in the proposed list would remain valid. Of course, the meta post would need to be a featured question for some time so people find out about it.

This type of list is especially useful for questions that require more research than usual and on sites that (unlike ELU) don't have a lot of traffic.

1

This is an important question not only because old questions often need better answers, but also because we all need to learn how to ask better questions.

As the earlier answers already suggest, editing a question is likely to raise your chances of getting better responses, but how does it work? I deduced they meant that by improving your question you would attract better answers, which is very true; HOWEVER, it is also true that

simply editing an old question will "bump it" to the top of the active questions list, as I tested and confirmed with one of my own old questions

What is a "malaphor"?

So this is indeed a shortcut for anybody who wants to 'rekindle' interest in their old questions without making any major changes, but be warned that

you are likely to get a better response only if you actually edit it substantially to make it a much better question!

Note 2: How to write a much better question?

This is explained in the excellent answers provided here by Dan Bron and Mari-lou A.

  • 3
    Though editing simply to bring your question to the top of the list will work, it is frowned on and will, if over-indulged in, attract downvotes. Drawing attention is not always desirable. – Tim Lymington supports Monica Jul 8 '17 at 9:22
  • @TimLymington Yes indeed. And I have proved it to my own satisfaction because my experimentally 'edited up' question got absolutely no response in 12 hours. I don't do it myself, and let old questions lie. That is why I advised OP (right at the time of writing this answer) to make substantial edits in order to significantly improve the question, if seeking better answers. – English Student Jul 8 '17 at 9:32
-3

What Dan Bron said. All of it.

And, I'd add to that: if the old inactive question with low views has no comments or answers, just delete it, and ask it again in a much improved manner, including more research, context, clarity etc.

  • 3
    Just don't do this flat out, or it'll be annoying... – marcellothearcane Jul 7 '17 at 18:12
  • @marcellothearcane I'm aware. – NVZ Jul 8 '17 at 11:27
  • Just in case the OP did... – marcellothearcane Jul 8 '17 at 11:36
  • But it seems that a deleted question does not completely or immediately erased from the website. And so the new question would be recognized as duplicate. @marcellothearcane – Sasan Jul 8 '17 at 17:30
  • @Sasan Only to the original poster and people over 10k rep. (I think) they don't close questions as duplicates of deleted ones, but make sure they're new and improved in order to get more interest (as others have said) – marcellothearcane Jul 8 '17 at 17:38
  • @Sasan I suppose someone could come along and undelete the old question, then close the new as a duplicate of it if they thought you were trying to subvert the system. What you can do is edit the old question. That should pop it back up to the top of the list. If you haven't received any answers to that question, you can edit it to your heart's content. If others have answered, though, you'll need to be careful that editing the question doesn't invalidate the existing answers. If it does, but you want to go ahead anyway, place a comment under the answers to say what you've done and why. – Lawrence Jul 11 '17 at 7:52

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