I have been noticing a chicken&egg problem (Ie: The classic "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?").
People ask questions because they don't know the answer, obviously, so they want help from those who know better. But question askers cannot possibly be expected to ask those clarifying questions first before the question they had in mind when they don't even know what clarifying information others will want. That is often literally impossible.
I actually anticipated this in my question How much fish can a saltwater angler catch per day?, assuming there would be the inevitable "We can't answer because X, Y, Z, A, B, C, etc... you need to tell us what those parameters are first." Preemptively, I created the secondary question What are the variables that will significantly affect saltwater fishing success? at the same time.
Both of those questions have attracted close votes. In Why can't we get the question rate up?, one of the comments suggests
It would help if high quality questions were not frequently closed on technicalities.
and from ab2's answer to that question
Someone always suggests that the real experts on ELU should ask more questions, and one of the responses always is:
When I have a question, I can usually find the answer pretty quickly myself.
And ELU is not very welcoming to neophytes who ask conceptually simple questions.
Do we have a similar problem: (1) that the most expert users here know or can deduce the answers to the few things that puzzle them, and (2) we are not welcoming (or are somehow intimidating) to very basic questions from neophytes?
I decided to open up and ask more questions because there seems to be a general consensus that more questions are needed. And I'm trying to make them good.
I am right now writing such a sub-sub-question. But really, in my mind, it should have been the other way around.
- Q: "How much fish can I catch?" A: "It varies a lot. A few days with nothing on a bad day to a few hundred pounds on a good day."
- Ok, cool, now I want to know what causes it to vary as per answer... Q: "What are the variables?" A: " - Fish type targeted affects it in such and such a way. - Whether or not you use a fish finder. - ..."
- Ok, cool, I wonder how fish type affects it... Q: "What fish should I target for situation X?"
and so on..., but instead I get hints about what an answer might be and then have to do those questions in reverse order, and that is quite obnoxious.
So which comes first, the question or the sub-question?