I have the feeling that after almost two days there are currently a lot of beginner and easy questions and comparatively few expert questions.

It is very important to have questions here that you wouldn't find easily in most introductory article on the web.

Examples of current good expert questions IMHO are

and a few others but not much, I would say around currently maximum 5 over 45, a little more than 10%.

Having tried unsuccessfully to ask expert-level questions, I realize that this is a lot harder than I expected during the commitment phase.

Perhaps we can use this meta-music thread to share hints or advices about the kind of expert questions we want on music.SE and the under-represented topics.

  • +1 Good point, the core of a good community should be experts. Commented May 8, 2011 at 20:08
  • 4
    It is very hard to come up with questions 'by construction' (try to invent a question) unless you actually have a question you would very much like an answer to.
    – awe
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 7:46

6 Answers 6


I think part of the issue is that (I would guess) not too many professional musicians are involved at this stage. More will likely participate if the community does well, but I'm not sure that eliminating beginner questions at this point is feasible.

  • 5
    As a beginner, I find myself not really even able to ask nor answer expert questions because I don't know enough about theory or composition or any of the subjects which lend themselves to deeper analysis. I'm worried I won't be able to contribute well in the beta. :/
    – FAE
    Commented Apr 27, 2011 at 14:46
  • @FallenAngelEyes, I share the feelings but I think we still can help the site. Here is my idea: we can try to spend more effort when asking a question by searching the web, checking the related Wikipedia pages, ... and include what we find in the question. Check also How to ask? and How to ask beta? In the same way, we can probably answer some questions by doing a little bit of research though it is not easy. :)
    – user107
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 7:16
  • 2
    @FallenAngelEyes: If you have beginners questions that you would like an answer to, please ask them! Genuine questions (things you actually wonder, and would like to get answered) are high quality questions for this site. If you have a question you would like to be answered, someone else will probably have the same question, and the purpose of this site comes to live! For this site to grow, we need questions (and answers). Eventually, it will attract more advanced questions as well, but a healthy beta counts number of questions/answers - not the expert level...
    – awe
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 7:51

It's worth trying. A possible trajectory here is that some experts find the beginner questions interesting to answer, and then start asking some of their own. I'm the guy who created the original proposal, and I'm certainly not an expert.


I agree that "expert" questions are just what this site needs. I find myself being a little frustrated when I see questions about what time signatures mean (as opposed to a question that would be higher in Bloom's Taxonomy). However, I believe until we have experts in several fields represented on this site that "beginner" questions are something that we can't help.

A second barrier to this is gaining reputation. I know I can have something valuable to say or comment, but the way the site is set up (and I'm tempted to agree with it) prevents anyone from answering a question until they ask a question. In the rush and hurry of wanting to answer a question, cast a vote, or leave a comment, a user might be driven to spitting out the first question that comes to mind. I don't know how we can discourage this behavior with new users, but I do think we need to discourage overly simple questions.

In order to discourage future offenders, I think we need to remove questions that are too simple. I've seen guidelines about "what to ask" and one of those is: if you can find it on google in the first few hits, you shouldn't ask it. Or worse yet, if your question is answered by a wikipedia article, you shouldn't ask it. Really good and meaningful questions will be those that don't deal with just the first level of Bloom's Taxonomy but reach into higher levels of thinking than "How many feet long is a tenor trombone?" Beginners should feel welcome here, but know when to go somewhere else for basic information.

  • 1
    Everyone can post a question with 1 rep (see the privileges). Commenting requires 50 rep, but you can always comment on your own questions, answers, and answers to your own questions regardless of rep. Commented May 7, 2011 at 3:30
  • That's my point. In order to do anything on this site, you need to ask a question, otherwise you'll only ever be able to observe. Forcing users to ask a question will inevitably result in "throw-out" questions being asked. As long as the user can get one or two up votes, then he can cultivate rep in other ways.
    – SRiss
    Commented May 7, 2011 at 7:29
  • 4
    users can also answer a question immediately which would give them +10 per upvote. Question upvotes are only +5. Users can also suggest edits which is +2 per edit (+4 for doing a complete tag wiki). Commented May 7, 2011 at 7:31
  • I stand corrected. I believed for some reason that in order to answer a question you needed more reputation. I must have misread and I wish I had known this sooner! I still stand by my other propositions regarding asking policies. This just means there is no excuse to ask a simple question. Thank you for this clarification.
    – SRiss
    Commented May 7, 2011 at 20:55
  • "Beginner" questions are something that we can't help?? "Beginners" are "offenders"?? Questions about time signatures are inappropriate for a forum about musical practice and performance?? Of all the conceited posts I've seen in my wanderings about forums of one kind or another, this is one of the most so. This site could be (and is as of 2 years after this post) a good place for beginners to find information by, you know, googling. Because of all those meaningful and useful answers that we experts give to beginners. At least those of us who love to teach more than reading Bloom's Taxonomy.
    – BobRodes
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 22:22

You guys are looking for people who can contribute, huh?

I work with a professional orchestra. My work ranges from, say, writing an arrangement for that aria for this formation FOR TODAYS REHEARSAL IN A COUPLE HOURS (!!!!!!!!!!!) to carrying heavy stuff around. So I'm no expert, but I know a lot about a lot about professional music making and am a not-yet-professional musician myself.

I'd love to stick around and share my knowledge a bit everyday but there are two conditions for that:

  1. BE A BIT MORE WELCOMING. Look here Which set of books could I read to become an advanced conductor? so apparently my first question wasn't great. I hope it's just my impression but two of the commenters seemed very aggressive in their posts. Made me just want to leave this website and never come back.

  2. MAKE UP YOUR MIND. As I said here Are Shopping List Questions On-Topic? it seems there's no way to say anything in this community. So get the rules straight. I don't want to waste my time asking and answering to be told I'm doing it completely wrong as a result. In fact I'm not posting a single word outside meta until someone makes things extremely clear.

If this sounds like a rant it's because it is. I came here looking for a nice exchange of information and was instead criticized for not guessing your unclear rules. I like reading different opinions on the Internet but I have plenty of extremely talented musicians to ask for help. The way I see it it's your loss if I never come back here again.

Want to know how to keep experts around? I'll give you a hint: this post tells you how not to.

(And before someone asks why I didn't ask my musician friends for books on conducting.. I did. Most of them aren't English speakers. I came here looking for English-language books.)


I'd like to point out a flaw in the question itself:

What's the proper fingering for such and such? or indeed most questions that have short right answers are, at the most, intermediate student questions (not expert).

From having worked as a translator in classes by, for example, a world top musician who learned the trade from a legend, it was very obvious that a technical question ("How do I do this?") doesn't last very long ("Like this.") in a truly expert environment.

Expert questions in music are, by nature, subjective. Which is why I was criticizing the FAQ in another thread about it's insistence on:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site..

In my experience even simple technical questions which could be answered with a short right answer will result in more benefit to the student when answered in a chatty open-ended way that often ends with "so either way is fine, it's up to you".

  • 2
    Thanks for joining music.SE . As you have seen, this site is in Beta, and the idea is that we are still defining the kind of questions we want, the FAQ is still a quick draft. As a member you can influence this process. One thing you could do just now is to posts more answers and comments to existing questions since you are an active musician and your english is fluent. And also go on asking questions, even rather simple ones that you know the answer of but that could be of interest to visitors of this site.
    – ogerard
    Commented May 14, 2011 at 4:35
  • 2
    Concerning your 'Conducting' reading list, I think that its first version was probably impossible to answer immediately but you will find that most people here are helpful. It is just more practical or more efficient to have narrower requests and less expectations. Just then vote up even partial answers that help you in the direction you need.
    – ogerard
    Commented May 14, 2011 at 4:37
  • 1
    +1 I was quite shocked to read his You want your cake and eat it off-topic too. alongside his insulting response to your other meta answer, as it's not what I would expect a high reputation user to do. He seems to have changed his behavior and I hope he would not repeat that. I would suggest you both to end your (pointless) discussion (consisting of what could be seen as flame baits by some), it's not really constructive to mention this issue in multiple meta questions. May the traces be a lesson for others... Commented May 15, 2011 at 23:07
  • 1
    You are free to rollback your question if you disagree with @ogerard. You are also free to let the community decide instead of a single user, that's what close votes are for. I will be looking out for such comments and flag them in order to prevent these situations, I seem to have skipped the comment thread on your question. Thank you for staying, Allan K. You are welcome... :) Commented May 15, 2011 at 23:10
  • 1
    @Tom I'm doing some research to answer my own question and when I come up with something satisfactory I'll edit the whole thing. Thanks for the welcome.
    – Allan K.
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 20:40

I still think it's a problem that the site is called "Musical Practice and Performance". I only came to this site via Area 51 because Music Theory was merged into it. But someone coming to this site or hearing about it might not realize its suitability for music theory and that might turn off experts in that area.

  • 3
    As part of the site's design process (see other meta questions already started), I presume the name, subtitle and "elevator pitch" can evolve.
    – ogerard
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 3:42
  • 2
    @ogerard: Yes, there is a high change that the site will be called "Musicians" because quite some voters already have voted for that in the question "Is there a better name?". The other things can be discussed in "What is our site and community about?". I'm already using the new name in a design draft I'm creating, just to wet people's appetites and get a design discussion going in the middle of the beta... :) Commented May 16, 2011 at 12:11
  • Ah, that would make a difference. I've been unable to tell whether questions about theory and music history would be welcome here. Commented May 25, 2011 at 2:44

Experts produce expert questions.

So, we are in the need of more experts, there are two things we can do for this:

  1. Participate in https://music.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/91/how-do-we-promote-our-site and help promote our site so that experts catch up our site, at first this will most likely increase the quality of our answers. This will educate the community and we will naturally get more expert questions, either from our advanced members or new experts.

  2. Research! If a small set of users tries to do effort to become better musicians, they can feed the site.

    I'm up for it and I hope you are too! :)

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .