We can find that people ask if a specific topic is "on topic", and how they can improve their question. There are of course the children sites of help center, and a small list of general rules have been cited here on Biology.SE.

However, I've noted that there are possibly more general rules that would be good to know about that apply to Biology.SE in particular. For example, I was advised that starting with a mathematical idea and asking where it might be applied in biology will not make for a well-formed question. One might rightly point out that the more fundamental problem with my question was that it was too broad. The inverse problem I find is figuring out ahead of time what is "too broad". Perhaps, ironically, a description of what counts as "too broad" is itself "too broad" to be fully interpreted ahead of time. I only give my previous question as an example of how it can be difficult for someone to imagine ahead of time whether their question will really be too broad.

While I'm doubtful that a perfectly comprehensive manual of all conceivable considerations is possible, I would like to know if there is a substantial guide to asking questions on Biology.SE. I understand that some may see ambiguity on what constitutes a "substantial guide", but I hope they will interpret it the best they can from the perspective of 'that which will improve the quality of questions on Biology.SE'. As vague as that is, that 'is' a goal directly compatible with 'providing high quality questions to high quality answers'.

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    $\begingroup$ Just as a point of clarification, my suggestion to start with a biological question rather than graph theory was just research advice (treating graph theory as a tool), I didn't intend it as guidance for posting a good Biology.SE question. Though, along with that, one piece of guidance from the help center is "You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face." - you had said that your question was asked "just for fun" and not based on trying to do research. I think sometimes that can make for questions that are difficult to give a suitable answer to. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause Thanks for the clarification. I agree that increases the difficulty. I think there are examples that clearly are or are not 'actual problems', and others that are in a grey area. The question I asked was difficult to answer, but if answered would potentially have application. It is not my research per se, but it is related, and would provide an interesting angle. I deleted the "just for fun" comment for that reason. $\endgroup$
    – Galen
    Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 16:10


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