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So far I have asked 6 questions on the chemistry site and I am completely demoralized by their steeping falling performance. This and this are now closed. I had to delete this one. One of them, I still feel unfairly, declared as duplicate. This one is collecting on down-votes already within minutes of its posting.

I am already feeling that this site is not for me. I must improve my standards, but for most questions I do not know what to do? There is some unfair closing also I feel [because of this question]. Now I need to know two things:

  • Why are my questions performing so poorly? How do I edit them so that I get some answers?
  • Why are experts on Chemistry Stack Exchange just a little more quick-to-criticize and judgmental than other sites? Does this have to do with the nature of Chemistry as opposed to other fields of study?
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  • $\begingroup$ Helpful: stackoverflow.com/help/how-to-ask and also go through all the links at the bottom of that page (the first link is Jon Skeet's blog - it's a nice article), except the 'code' part, everything else is relevant. $\endgroup$ May 17 '17 at 9:36
  • $\begingroup$ Most of your questions are good, although they are broad and some of them opinion based. $\endgroup$ May 17 '17 at 10:09
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    $\begingroup$ I am busy now and have not looked closely, but I do not think all of those needed to be closed. As for comparisons with Mathematics (for example) - this site is just stricter in general when it comes to quality. I'm not saying any site is better or worse than the other; we just operate slightly differently. $\endgroup$
    – orthocresol Mod
    May 17 '17 at 11:03
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    $\begingroup$ For the time being I will reopen the duplicate one, which is not a duplicate. You might have noticed the comment I left on the previous meta post regarding that question: there is a lot of fluff, it is not obvious to the reader where the difference in the questions lies. I have edited it, and you can take a look to see what the difference is. The other two closed ones probably merit further discussion. $\endgroup$
    – orthocresol Mod
    May 17 '17 at 11:28
  • $\begingroup$ @orthocresol thank you so much $\endgroup$ May 17 '17 at 11:36
  • $\begingroup$ @orthocresol but also tell me how to improve my question-asking style $\endgroup$ May 17 '17 at 11:37
  • $\begingroup$ I have just looked up your profile and noticed that you have not yet cast a single vote. As much as your question depend on being voted on, others do too. Reading other questions is also a good way to see what is received well and what not. It is very much a responsibility we all share and what makes this site work. $\endgroup$ May 19 '17 at 8:24
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I can't help but notice something that all of your questions have in common: They're not about a real problem you faced.

Asking about a real problem you face isn't the only way you can ask well-received questions, but it's a pretty useful and accurate guideline. Your questions seem very much like those I'd expect fun-loving peeps in chat ask casually, but not so much ask-able on the site with all its bling.

Taking a look at the closed questions, it seems they follow a fairly common pattern: What you should really be inquiring about is how to approach a broad but common problem you have at hand, and one you're curious but clueless about. Ya know, the type where you don't even know what to search for.

My advice is to communicate with others in any way possible. Teachers and other chemist friends in real life, anyone you can ask from, or people in Chemistry chat I linked above. Once you have a clear question to ask, one that you could search the keywords of in a search engine like Google, and not an abstract "how do chemists do this and measure that?", and you couldn't find the answer for by searching, you're welcome to ask it on the main site!

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  • $\begingroup$ How do you know they are not about a real problem I faced? $\endgroup$ May 18 '17 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ And what is meant by "you could search the keywords of in a search engine like Google" $\endgroup$ May 18 '17 at 13:36
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    $\begingroup$ For your first question, I don't call a generic rush of curiosity a real problem, because you lack the eagerness to find the answer yourself. If you get your questions closed with that mood, it's much more likely that you'll dismiss the closure as "Whatever, what a bunch of jerks". That wouldn't be someone's feeling if they did search for an answer and didn't get any after a lot of searching. As for your second question, if you could boil down your question into a sentence of, say, a hundred letters, scraping what's necessary to hold the grammar, then it would probably be good to ask. [cont.] $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    May 18 '17 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ [cont.] If you don't have a good idea what your question is about, as is evident in questions that weren't received as well as you would have hoped, then how would we? $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    May 18 '17 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ OK I'll try to better think over my problems before asking. But I disagree that a sudden rush of curiosity is not a real problem. $\endgroup$ May 19 '17 at 2:27
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    $\begingroup$ @ThemysteryOflife I agree with you that "a sudden rush of curiosity is not a real problem" in general, when investigating a topic that interests you. However, for Chem.SE specifically, the site model is designed in a way that not all questions falling out of a sudden rush of curiosity are suited for. Questions leading to broad, open-ended discussions are great for Chemistry Chat, but bad for the main site, and 'sudden rush of curiosity' questions are often open-ended. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    May 21 '17 at 14:55
  • $\begingroup$ @hBy2Py I wished for the stack exchange forum to quench my curiosity. It works like that for math and physics with no problem. Does not for chemistry. Will have to deal with it, I guess. $\endgroup$ May 21 '17 at 14:59
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Not all of your questions deserve the fate they have, but they could be improved a bit nevertheless. I'm going through them one by one and tell you what I don't like about them. This is really just my personal opinion.

  • Why is oxygen so special?

    This one needed to be closed. While the verdict of the community is that it is opinion-based, it is also too broad. Any answer could necessarily only scratch the surface of the topic. There are a ton of textbooks out there talking about the reactivity of oxygen, Holleman-Wiberg (a German standard textbook) has forty pages on it and that's not even that detailed. The Wikipedia page already offers a lot of context.
    Include what you have learned already and what your specific problem is. Keep in mind that we are all here in our free time and that questions that require a lot of background information are usually not very well received, especially when it is not obvious in which context they should be answered.
    Try to avoid language that is demanding or would read like an homework assignment (... You may cite examples ...).
    If your question includes misconceptions that could have been avoided, it's usually a sign that you have not put enough thought in it yourself. Combustion is the process of burning a fuel, but it is not limited to oxygen.

  • How do we know which compounds have higher solubility?

    The obvious answer to this question is yes. Is there any way? Yes. There always is a way, and if there is not, or it gets too complicated the answer would be no. In the first case the answer would again require too much background to be meaningful, in the second case it's pretty much done after one word.
    Before asking such questions, do some reading on the basic concepts behind it, ask more specifically what you want to know. The word some is usually the indicator that to answer this question a list is required. Lists don't work well on our site.

  • Which is the weak electrolyte? (10k link)

    I don't know why you had to delete this question. This is clearly a homework type question. You have provided some of your thoughts, but you could have done more. I don't think in this state it would have been closed. You gave this question a meagre three days, and it took one down-vote to discourage you.
    We allow homework questions, but they also have to be useful for future visitors. Keep in mind that the site is about content in the first place (the long run) and about helping you in the minor degree (the short run).
    There simply is a lack of prior research and this discourages people to do it for you. Zhe tried to help you with commenting, but you engaged in a comment discussion rather than editing the original question. One of the key elements would have been to include what you think constitutes a weak electrolyte.

  • On what factors does the true reaction Stoichiometry depend when there are multiple valid options?

    I have pretty much already laid out my thoughts about this one in the corresponding meta discussion: Possible overreach on marked duplicate. Orthocresol did you the favour to cut down on the prose and trim it into a better format. That question is fairly well received, however, that may not mean you'll get an answer quickly.

  • Bond-Polarity and Molecule acidity: Paradox

    This one is a tough nut. Mainly because it attracted an answer in weird condescending tone as a wall of text. It happens.
    While the first part of the question reads okay, the second part is not so easy to decipher. The second paragraph has circular reasoning, which doesn't make it any easier. You do not comment on what you understood with reducing electron density and how it would reduce the polarity of the bond.
    The problem here is that this is a misconception and it is not easy to clear that up when we don't know where it came from.
    The choice of words is also a bit unlucky. If it really were a paradox, we would know about it in more detail. There are not many actual paradoxes in chemistry, and once they are sufficiently explained they even cease to exist, i.e. they only appear to be paradoxical.
    This question can in a way be described as an XY problem. You have troubles understanding how reducing the electron density causes a higher acidity (X), but you end up asking about bond polarities (Y).
    As such it is hard to answer because it is really hard to know what you are after.

    For this question I kind of get where you are coming from and where you're heading to, and I don't think it is a bad question. It still needs some streamlining and a little more context on your end.


Crafting a good question is not an easy task. It usually takes a lot of preparation and reading, or talking with other people. As such, follow M.A.R.'s advice, which is golden. There are lots of people in chat who can help you with your questions when you have them., or give you tips on what to include.

After that you need to do the explaining. We are not in your head, we can't know your thoughts. If we have to guess what you want to know, you need to make it clearer.

It's a good sign that you are coming to meta for advice. It shows that you care and that you actually want the advice. I know it'll not be easy to process everything I have written, especially since I dumped it on you like this. Your questions have potential and with the help of others you'll get to unleash it.

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  • $\begingroup$ really thnx for taking down those questions one by one like that. Great. $\endgroup$ May 21 '17 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ @ThemysteryOflife We're doing our best to emphasize: When we say good question in this context, we specifically mean good question for Chem.SE. There is a large number of questions that are quite excellent in general, but that are poorly suited for this site specifically. Please don't take this personally!! $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    May 23 '17 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ @hBy2Py I didn't take anything personally $\endgroup$ May 24 '17 at 1:16
  • $\begingroup$ I just want to get answers to my questions $\endgroup$ May 24 '17 at 1:16
  • $\begingroup$ @ThemysteryOflife Try coming to chat first. There isn't always someone there that can answer every question in detail, but there's a lot more room for broader, more imprecise discussion that may give you some of the answers you're looking for. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    May 24 '17 at 3:33

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