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How do I ask a good question?

How do I ask a good question? : 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


Today we have this question.

Chromatic Root Movement vs modulation in modern chord progressions

Please explain for me the difference between chromatic root movement and modulation in the chord progression of a song?

This question shows no attempt at research or any sort of effort.

Several of my flags have been denied because "I didn't use the flagging system properly". Things is, I wasn't sure what flag to use, so I just used "other" and explained the problem.

How should we flag such a question?

Are the mods being too picky about this?

If the problem is legitimate, IMO a flag should not be denied because one cannot take the time to do an in-depth analysis in order to properly categorize the issue and use "the right flag".

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  • This might be relevant: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/111114/… and more relevant: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/191237/… – Todd Wilcox Oct 29 '17 at 17:16
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    Note that the "searching for an answer" admonishment in the good question guidance does not mean a web search, it means a search of the Stack itself to prevent duplicate questions. As has been discussed ad nauseum almost everywhere, questions where the answer can be easily found using a web search are generally not discouraged on SE sites. Instead, the question should be answered with the intention that the SE Q&A will become one of the top hits on future web searches. – Todd Wilcox Oct 29 '17 at 17:23
  • @ToddWilcox, can you provide an example of where this has been discussed ad nauseum? The PhysicsSE site takes an extremely different perspective. They frequently close easy questions for the reason that it's too easy to find the answer online. The policy supposedly applies to "homework"-style questions, but users knowingly and openly apply it to questions that clearly aren't homework. I would be interested in reading the discussions you've referenced. – jdjazz Nov 3 '17 at 2:25
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    @jdjazz This is just the overall SE meta discussion, many sites in the network have also had some discussion on the same topic: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/8724/… And I would be remiss if I didn't link to this, which dates from the launch of SO and details how from the very start, the purpose of SO/SE has been to be the best web search result: joelonsoftware.com/2008/09/15/stack-overflow-launches – Todd Wilcox Nov 3 '17 at 4:00
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This isn't what flags should be used for.

Insufficient research is not a reason to flag. This is a reason to downvote.

From the help center:

Voting up a question or answer signals to the rest of the community that a post is interesting, well-researched, and useful, while voting down a post signals the opposite: that the post contains wrong information, is poorly researched, or fails to communicate information.
(emphasis mine)

Flagging is for serious problems only, that will often result in the removal of the post from the site. Reasons include:

  • is spam
  • is abuse of the site
  • is rude
  • is plagiarism (this requires a custom moderator flag)

For questions, there is:

  • duplicate
  • unclear what you're asking
  • too broad
  • primarily opinion based
  • off topic

In these cases, the question is closed, not outright deleted, although it may get deleted later on.

And for answers there is

  • not an answer

This is not a complete list, but I think it serves to show that flagging is for serious problems only. If something is low quality - and poor research falls under this - then downvote it. Don't flag it. As a moderator (on Literature.SE), I can tell you that there's a specific decline reason for this:

flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer

And much the same applies to questions - that they shouldn't be flagged for 'technical inaccuracies' or whatever.

Flagging is a tool to remove content from the site. If something is explicitly against the SE rules, it will get closed or deleted. On almost every Stack Exchange site, 'Insufficient research' is not a reason to close.
There is one exception - that's English Language & Usage. They have a custom close reason to close questions that aren't sufficiently researched. But that's something that one site has agreed on, and can't be applied to the rest of the network. If you'd like to consider closing low research questions, then I encourage you to write a meta post explaining how they are harmful for this site and why you think that they should be close worthy.


Essentially - flags are the way the community says there's a significant problem with this; it should be closed or deleted in ways that are determined by Stack Exchange and the individual community. Poorly researched questions don't fall under this here (yet?).

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