Imagine I just watched a TV programme (mostly series), and I didn't get the meaning of some dialogue (mostly humour), could I ask it here?

Last time I just put part of a subtitle on the question, and a downloadable link of full context, and it doesn't seem to be proper if the community need to go over the video again.

I'm confused how should I proceed now.

1 Answer 1


As Martha said in her comment, when asking a question, you want to make it easy on the rest of the community, who are donating their time to help you out. Here's what I recommend:

1) Include the excerpt from the television show in a quote box, embedded in the question. Furthermore, don't limit this excerpt to the one line in question – include the surrounding dialog as well.

2) Be very clear in your question where the excerpt came from. Don't just say "it's from a television show," provide some information about the show as well. Were you watching a sitcom, a drama, or a documentary? That's crucial information, because the same quote can mean different things in different contexts. For example, sitcom characters often use a lot of sarcasm, which might affect the meaning of a word or sentence.

3) About the word or excerpt in question: do some research in a dictionary first, to ward off the "What did the dictionary tell you?" comments. Embedding dictionary definitions into a question is valuable for several reasons: it shows the community that you're serious about trying to get an answer, and that you've been diligent in doing your own investigation first. It provides a springboard, so that answerers don't have to spend their time verifying meanings in a dictionary. And these comments can also help the community understand why you're still confused about the matter, leading to more helpful and accurate answers.

Here's a great example of a question following this format: What does sautéed mean...?

In that question, notice how the O.P.:

1) Went beyond a single-sentence in the original quote. (Moreover, a link to the entire article was provided, in case anyone wanted to get even more context.)

2) Was very clear about where this came from (i.e., a New York Times piece by Maureen Dowd).

3) Included excerpts from multiple dictionaries, demonstrating that research was performed, and then going on to explain why this research had not yet clarified the O.P.'s confusion.

I appreciate EL&U questions presented in this way. Instead of scratching my head, wondering why this person can't comprehend the obvious, or why they haven't bothered to consult a dictionary, I appreciate the fact that they took the time to write such a well-structured question. In fact, I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said that I savor questions that are that well-written. Judging by the high number of upvotes, I don't think I'm the only one.

As a footnote, it's been pointed out before, but that particular user has eclipsed 10,000 rep points despite answering fewer than 10 questions. In fact, that user has earned the Nice Question badge almost 40 times! Clearly, something can be learned from that body of work.

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