Reading this Meta post Inverted pyramid format to answers I thought we could use a similar analogy to asking questions. It would encourage the asker to put some thought on the question rather than just repeating googled research and rephrasing abstracts.

It's simple if you think of each level as an abstraction layer and the length/area as the size of the audience that would be interested in reading at that abstraction layer.

So what I am really proposing is we encourage questions with a structure akin to this:

  • Layer1: Application/applied cognitive science/lifehacks

  • Layer2: Details of experiments, experimental setup etc.

  • Layer3: Probability of replication of the result, meaning sample population the result was drawn from, supporting studies among different samples etc.

Is it useful to prescribe that kind of question structuring?

We will have to probably edit some high voted questions to make them as good examples.

  • I'd say it's good to encourage them to start AND end with a "conclusion" of their question, I try to follow this sort of structure in all my posts but sometimes questions are short enough to do without. Detailed, well researched questions could certainly benefit from this however (and we need more of those)
    – Ben Brocka
    Jan 25, 2012 at 13:45
  • 3
    One thing I find important in questions, is that they end with an actual question. If this question is the same than your title, you probably didn't scope down the question enough. If you have the need to ask multiple questions at the bottom which can trigger entire different responses, ... you probably didn't scope enough.
    – Steven Jeuris Mod
    Jan 25, 2012 at 13:59


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