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How can I avoid or minimize jet lag? is interesting, but it also contains a lot of narrative, lots of which is appended in a bloggy way.

If this were Stack Overflow, I'm sure the EDIT: and narrative sections would be stripped out, but is that sort of thing more relevant here? (or should I edit it out?)

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This is a problem.

Those of us here with programming backgrounds have probably had experiences where we sought help in forums, IRC channels, or even our very own StackOverflow where we clearly stated our abstract problem in concise terms.

Only to be yelled at, downvoted, or just treated rudely by people who want to ask "why" instead of answer "how".

OK sometimes that's necessary but it can also be done in a polite friendly manner.

So some of us, and I am guilty, have gotten into the habit of providing back story to prevent this.

I think another factor is the refrain on StackExchange "What is the problem you are actually facing?"

If you answer that potential retort while posing your initial question you risk making bloated questions and, worse, making them too localized if you're not careful.

But if you leave it out, you risk people assuming your problem is not real and is based on misunderstandings, etc.

And then of course we have plenty of "good" answers which talk about something in the OP's topic, but don't actually attempt to provide an actual answer to their question.

It's a balancing act.

  • Askers should try to cut out all the chaff but include just enough background to prevent comments and answers that assume they know nothing.

  • Answerers should assume good faith and address the OP's actual question, and if you think the asker did miss something basic, post a polite comment rather than an answer.

  • Mods and users with experience should keep an eye out for poorly thought out or poorly worded question, and rude or off topic comments and answers, and boldly edit posts where they can spot and fix the problem, or guide the participants in the ways to make their own questions and answers better.

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    Tried to make a bold edit, (remove autobiographical "UPDATE:" sections to keep the focus on jetlag and off the asker) edit rejected. – Shep Sep 9 '12 at 8:59
  • Hmm interesting! – hippietrail Sep 9 '12 at 9:03
  • no back story is required to prove that jet lag exists (if you've ever flown across 8 time zones). I mean no disrespect, but the "UPDATE:" sections really read like tweets from the asker, and based on my experience on SO I'd say they are out of place. – Shep Sep 9 '12 at 9:12
  • Let's see what the mods think about this situation. None seem to be around now nor do any seem to have seen this meta topic yet. – hippietrail Sep 9 '12 at 9:33

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