After many badly received questions, I'm confused about how to ask questions in this site (not on other sites), need some suggestion (not some general rule, but about the specific questions)

(1) About this: IMO it is interesting and useful, is it fine for a question to be closed/deleted only because the reviewers think they are not useful? About not enough research: I did read the Wikipedia Virus page, and elementary online search can't give a result. BTW there should be a threshold of the research before asking, since theoretically any thing can be answered by yourself with enough learning, then what is the Q/A site for? The essence of Q/A site is not to dig too deep when the answer is just in other's mind right? Then what is the appropritate research threshold and how to express them in the question for it not to be seen as "not enough"?

BTW why is this question deleted for "Closed. This question needs to be more focused. It is not currently accepting answers." But closed for "not useful and unclear"?

(2) The feces question (not in recent deleted list now) have the same issue. Not clear why it was downvoted.

I have more question to ask but want to know what is the right way to correct them to prevent to be banned someday.

Appendix: here is a post of the deleted question:

Bacterias are everywhere - either on the surface (either outer surface or internal surface like in the mouth) of multi cell hosts or in the environment around multi cell hosts.

Then bacteriophage are everywhere too (especially in the ocean according to Wikipedia).

Then what is the prevalence of non-bacteriophage viruses:

(1) Are they everywhere on the surface of multi cell hosts?

(2) Are they everywhere in the environment around multi cell hosts?

Note: The fact that wound infection is commonly caused by bacteria instead of virus sounds like that non-bacteriophage viruses are not as prevalence as bacteria. Also virus need a host to live, then it is harder to reproduce in the environment around multi cell hosts unless there is a lot of cells falling off the host to the environment around them.


1 Answer 1


I don't know the nature of "the feces question", but reading through the one that you were able post, I may be able to offer some suggestions.

I actually had to read the question that you posted several times in order to understand it, and I'm still not quite sure what you are getting at. I think that I'm confused because "non-bacteriophage virus" is a category that is both extremely broad and also specific at the same time, kind of like saying "non-mammal organisms." It's pretty easy to think about comparing mammals to reptiles or birds, but if you're asking to compare mammals to jellyfish AND slime molds AND algae then the differences are so broad and heterogeneous that it's sort of confusing to try to think about what makes sense to even say.

That's not necessarily a problem in and of itself: I think the phrasing reflects a gap in your understanding that is something that a site like this should be able to help with. Figuring out how to help, on the other hand, can be more difficult, and I think that leads to a way that you could make your questions easier to answer: concrete examples.

When I read your question, I don't know which of a number of potential things you're actually trying to understand. But it would resolve for me if you added a concrete example of a non-bacteriophage virus and a way it might or might not be everywhere. For example, here are two examples that could be added to the end of your question, each of which would lead me to interpret your question very differently:

  1. "For example, are viruses like influenza and ebola found in the ocean like bacteriophages are?"
  2. "For example, do multicellular organisms like jellyfish and apple trees have many types of viruses that infect them?"

Bottom line: if you add concrete examples to your questions, it may be easier to get past confusions to figure out how to refine them and make them answerable.

  • $\begingroup$ Maybe my questions are indeed unclear and confusing. $\endgroup$
    – jw_
    Apr 6, 2021 at 1:10
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It's OK to be confused; just give as many clues as you can to help people figure out what you do and don't understand and work with the commenters to try to figure out how to get from there to a clear an answerable question. $\endgroup$
    – jakebeal
    Apr 6, 2021 at 2:17

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