What is the accepted etiquette for asking multi-part questions to AskMe? December 24, 2009 5:04 AM   Subscribe

I'm pretty sure that this has been asked before, but I can't find the post. So, what is the accepted etiquette for asking multi-part questions to AskMe?

I'm moving to a different country soon, so understandably I have a heap of questions about how to get things done there. These questions range from things like, "how do i get the internet installed at my new home?", "how do I set up a bank account?", and "how do I buy and register a car?", to the more trivial, "is there a NetFlix equivalent?", and "what's good to eat in my new homeland?" with several others in between. Clearly I could ask these as separate questions, but it would be more efficient to ask in a single post, especially given my timeframe. Advice please.
posted by jonesor to Etiquette/Policy at 5:04 AM (14 comments total)

As long as all your sub-questions relate to the same basic problem you're needing advice on, I think its fine to do this. In fact I have done this myself many times and frankly, I think that doing this is win-win for you and AskMe. It helps you because you can ask very specific questions on the same topic and get specific answers. And for AskMe, it helps ensure less questions in the long-term on an already busy site.

I can't see any reason why this would be considered bad so just do it.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:09 AM on December 24, 2009

Just a week ago...
posted by gman at 5:09 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thanks. How embarrassing, I should have searched for multi-part instead of multipart. I've never been very good at hyphens.
posted by jonesor at 5:49 AM on December 24, 2009

Kindly mark my comment as 'best answer'.
posted by gman at 5:51 AM on December 24, 2009

This was a similar AskMe back in 2006, which spawned its own MeTa thread.
posted by chrismear at 7:26 AM on December 24, 2009

Gman, the link you posted to concerns the appropriate amount of background/contextual information, and length of a post in general. I think jonesor's question is different.

I agree with effigy; as long as there is a very common thread tying all of the questions together, it's ok to have a few bullet points with individual questions.
posted by pintapicasso at 7:29 AM on December 24, 2009

There's a balance to strike. If we were going to state a really stripped down version of the rule, it'd be "ask one question at a time", but there's the understanding there that sometimes a question has sub-questions and it makes sense to cluster them into a single post when it'll make more sense that way than asking them independently.

What we don't like to see is questions that turn into cornucopias—when it's Question A + Unrelated Question B ("but they're both ABOUT moving...") jammed together just to get around the once-a-week limit, or when "a couple related questions" turns into a list of a dozen things to the point where folks answering pretty much have to prepend their answers with index values just to make it clear which of several parts they're answering. Both of those cases tend to get messy and have in a lot of instances been removed.

So, generally: keep your questions focused and try not to cram too much in, and you'll generally be fine. When in doubt, feel free to drop us a line directly to get an opinion before posting.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:51 AM on December 24, 2009

I would think you mainly want to spread out your questions such that the people good at answering them only have one question to look at.

So like suppose you're moving from Canada to Ethiopia. In one question you want all the questions like:
-Good long-term storage for when I'm leaving
-How do I notify X agencies that I'm leaving
-What do I need to remember to do upon leaving?
In general, everything that the Canadians who've left would know.

In the second question you want:
-Bank to use in Ethiopia
-Where should I live in Addis?
-etc etc
Where all the people who've moved to Ethiopia, regardless of their origin, would help you with.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:14 AM on December 24, 2009 [3 favorites]

Yeah it's okay to have a few related questions in one question as Lemurrhea says, btu try to make them somewhat relevant to each other and not a laundry list of "here's everything I need to know!"

With luck you'll find someone who knows most of the stuff and you can get a lot of information from them. You may also want to indicate what your level of knowledge is already and what you've already done. People are happier answering a lot of questions if they think they're meeting you partway. So "I Googled and it seems like the only good bank is Banco Blanco, is that right?" is better than "where should I bank?"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:24 AM on December 24, 2009

Your question should be, "What do I need to know before moving from A to B," and then, in the [more inside], "For example, [list of questions] etc."

That seems to be the usual method, anyhow. It also opens it up a bit, so people can address things you may have overlooked.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:39 AM on December 24, 2009

Does this look infected? Also, any hair styles more flattering to bald men in the winter?
posted by cjorgensen at 11:09 AM on December 24, 2009

Does this look infected?


also get therapy
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:00 PM on December 24, 2009

I'd add "DTMFA" but clearly that's what you're doing right now.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:52 PM on December 24, 2009

"I'm writing a book for people from A moving to B. What do I need to include?"
posted by spaceman_spiff at 8:44 AM on December 25, 2009

« Older It's what time?   |   Oaxacafilter Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments