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Some new community members I noticed don't check the How do I ask a good question's Page so I made this Google Doc the Goes over how to ask correctly, explains important key things to keep in mind while asking a question. Trust me, Read this, New folks, and the How-do-I-ask-a-good-question you will get very few downvotes on your questions and you won't get your questions closed.

Earth Science Newcomers Questions Guide (Unofficial)

Earth Science Newcomers Questions Guide (Unofficial)

Earth Science Stack Exchange is a site where Questions are asked and answer, and should only be asked because of Curiosity, not Reputation. For example, take this question into account, the asker did not check at least one source before asking, didn’t even try finding out the answer before asking. It looks like a “Pop Quiz” I commented because the title was so vague and simply stated, “Antarctica Exploration”. In addition, there were many questions in the question itself. The Question was clearly made for more Reputation and not for the good of knowing the answer. All Community Members should downvote these types of questions and avoid asking them.

https://earthscience.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask, some people don’t read the how-to-ask, this is why I’m writing this as a reminder to folks.


“Search, and research Have you thoroughly searched for an answer before asking your question? Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and above all, it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer!”

This, (at least I think so) would be the most important part of a good question, because if you search you might get an answer from that, while community members can answer questions not answerable by simply searching the title.

“Be on-topic Our community is defined by a specific set of topics that you can view in the help center; please stick to those topics and avoid asking for opinions or open-ended discussion. If your question is about the site itself, ask on our meta-discussion site. If you’re looking for a different topic, it might be covered on another Stack Exchange site. ” I would want you to take a look at every link in this paragraph because Earth Science had many off-topic questions.

“Be specific If you ask a vague question, you’ll get a vague answer. But if you give us details and context, we can provide a useful answer. ” This is what the Antarctica Exploration Question got most wrong. A very important thing to keep in mind

“Make it relevant to others We like to help as many people at a time as we can. Make it clear how your question is relevant to more people than just you, and more of us will be interested in your question and willing to look into it.

” This will help you get a nice Answer, very important if you are actually seeking a good answer.

“Keep an open mind The answer to your question may not always be the one you wanted, but that doesn’t mean it is wrong. A conclusive answer isn’t always possible. When in doubt, ask people to cite their sources, or to explain how/where they learned something. Even if we don’t agree with you, or tell you exactly what you wanted to hear, remember: we’re just trying to help. ” Probably the most basic but also important rule.

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  • $\begingroup$ the google doc one had a lot of hyperlinks, this one doesnt. $\endgroup$
    – MooseSmart
    Jul 28 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ and titles are reduced to normal size... $\endgroup$
    – MooseSmart
    Jul 28 at 14:05
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Yes, I find the Help Center underwhelming in general - too generic, too hard to find the info you're after - and I suspect that only already well-motivated users go there to find out how they should be using the site. In fact, the how-to-ask page isn't pinned, so is harder to discover than lots of other help pages.

With that in mind, thanks for taking the time to put this together. I have a few meta comments though:

  • Users who are not motivated to look at the help pages on this site are unlikely to be motivated to read a Google Doc linked from a meta post on this site.

  • I must admit that I haven't read your guide because I don't click on Google Doc links out of privacy concerns. As far as I can tell, users need to be logged into a Google account to view that guide, which is a further barrier to anyone reading it.

  • There's nothing to stop us curating this guide here on meta, rather than on an external site. Just like on the main site, we prefer users to reproduce the relevant content here rather than rely on external links that may break in the future. Other Stackexchange sites have made similar guides, for example, Worldbuilding went to town with theirs.

  • Because of licensing issues, you would probably need to move the content here yourself where you would implicitly be releasing it under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license.

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    $\begingroup$ I could Copy Paste my work on google docs onto my question if you like @Deditos $\endgroup$
    – MooseSmart
    Jul 16 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ @MooseSmart if it's not too long, that would be an excellent idea! SE questions (even in meta) should be self-contained or link to other SE posts, rather than reference off-site material. Lots of people won't click on your link, so currently your question is of limited usefulness. I 100% agree that help center stuff is of little use to SE users before they have some real-world experience with the site. We generally rely on the good-will of community members to help introduce them to specifics on an as-needed basis since each one will approach SE from a different perspective. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 26 at 11:33

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