In https://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/9062/how-many-days-to-know-tokyo , the question started off very generalized because the OP wanted the question to be useful to others.

In order for questions to be useful, should they be general, or specific? Or should they be general in certain aspects, and specific in others?

3 Answers 3


General discussions that will be useful for others are better suited for free-flowing forums like Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree. StackExchange is a Q&A site, and it's approaching this knowledge-sharing from a different perspective. You may think specific questions will be less useful to others, but you'll be surprised by how many people have the same question. A general question also makes it harder to write answers as well as select 'right' answers. Moreover, when you come to a Q&A site like StackExchange, what's important is how useful and relevant the answer is to the OP, not anyone else.

So I would say if you want to keep some aspects of the question general, that's fine. On the whole though the question should be specific so that precise answers can be written by users.


They're supposed to be specific problems that you or someone you know is facing while travelling, and in theory, there's a specific objective answer to the question.

SO when someone says 'how many days?', that's fairly subjective. It's actually not very useful to others to describe it as such, because again, it's subjective. I spent 6 weeks in Argentina and felt it wasn't enough, while others I know had a week and are satisfied, and others were there 6 months and wanted more. Each person' experience and needs are different.

It's far better to ask objective-styled questions. The above one could be - How Long should I allow for this in Tokyo, and list the activities you want to do, places you want to see and what you want to achieve. Then the previous travellers can use this to answer and assist better.

For example: Is two weeks enough time to drive from Tallinn to Stockholm and have enough time to see the cities inbetween? is a better one, as people can look at it logically, tell you you're driving over 200km a day and let you know how long you might have in each major place you specify.

In general, the more specific you can be in asking your question, the more accurate and useful the answers are likely to be.


Well there is good specific, which is what the other answers correctly talk about.

But there is also bad specific, which they haven't mentioned.

On Stack Exchange the phrase "Too localized" is used for questions just about you or just about a short period of time, etc. It is an official "close reason" at least on some Stack Exchange sites and is worded thusly:

This question is unlikely to ever help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet.

So yes make sure your question isn't vague in that it could have tons of equally valid answers but rather "one right answer", but don't make it so specific that it's not going to be of use for anybody else.

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