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ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

How often do you feel like people don't understand your question?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (26784points) January 6th, 2012

I asked a somewhat similar question recently, but in the reverse. It seemed, from the replies, that it is not uncommon to read a question on Fluther and not really understand what is being asked.

I often feel that the questions that I ask are misunderstood, and ultimately are left unanswered. Not literally, of course, as there are usually several responses… they just don’t answer the question.

Apparently I am not great at making my questions clear, something I guess I need to work on.

Does this happen to you? Occasionally? Often? Never?
Do you ever feel like the point of your question was completely missed, or like it was never really answered? Or perhaps that you have to keep clarifying what it is that you want to know?

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24 Answers

rebbel's avatar

??? ~

Yes, it does happen to me too, every one in ten about questions I ask.
Most of the times I notice it because of the first few answers I receive, and I then, if the editing window hasn’t closed yet, change the wording and/or add some clearafication.
After that happened it usually comes out as an understandable question as judged by me by the following answer.

JilltheTooth's avatar

My very first Q was answered by posts that I kind of thought were meant for someone else’s Q. I have since learned that very often people seem to answer the Q that they want to answer, not the one that was asked. I know that I’ve written it fine if I get a fair percentage of appropriate answers.

keobooks's avatar

It was on another Q and A site. I asked if anyone played NetHack. They thought I was asking if anyone was a hacker. Oh big can of worms… over a stupid ascii game.

MilkyWay's avatar

Not very often, but enough to make me think carefully about how I word my questions.

Bellatrix's avatar

Yes it happens. When it does, I am grateful for the answers but usually wonder if I didn’t communicate what I wanted very well. At least a large part of the problem must have been with the question I asked.

I agree with @JilltheTooth too though. People sometimes answer the question they want to answer and not the question asked. I see this when marking assignments a lot. People don’t read questions properly and I am as guilty of that as the next person.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I can’t remember feeling that way. Every so often someone will post something that makes me wonder if they even read my question but it’s usually only one person here and there.

SuperMouse's avatar

It happens to me fairly often! I usually put a lot of thought into how I word questions and it works about 50% of the time, but the other 50% I completely strike out! The frustration is incredible.

JLeslie's avatar

It doesn’t happen to me often, but it definitely has happened to me. Most of the time when it happens I realize it has to do with how I worded the question, but sometimes I don’t see any fault in my wording and don’t understand the problem. When it becomes apparent to me it is my fault, it usually is because I had an assumption about how people would answer.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf I get your point most everytime. You connect with me with ease.

Berserker's avatar

My questions are usually pretty simple, so that hasn’t really happened to me. I get what I look for most of the time, and if I’m not looking for anything in particular, the question is still understood by most.

augustlan's avatar

It has happened to me, and I’ve seen it happen to countless other people, too. It’s so frustrating! I think I’ve got it licked at this point, but probably my next Q will prove me wrong. To avoid it, I put a ton of detail in most of my Qs (probably too much for some people), and tend to put my notes and disclaimers in bold so they aren’t missed.

FutureMemory's avatar

Your questions are very well-written, Nef.

HungryGuy's avatar

Often, my questions have double meanings deliberately. There’s the obvious meaning, and I’m happy enough when people answer the obvious meaning. But I’m delighted when people see the second hidden meaning AND answer it correctly :-)

Aethelflaed's avatar

Maybe half the time. Sometimes, I know how I miscommunicated. But those times when I know that somehow, there’s a huge communication breakdown between me and multiple people, and the likelihood that it’s me and not those other people is pretty high (me being the common denominator), but I can’t figure out what it is I’m doing wrong? Sooooooo frustrating. Especially since you really can’t re-ask the question, and be all, “do-over, everyone!”, so if you don’t get it right the first time, you’re SOL.

Kayak8's avatar

I don’t think it is you, I think it is people who don’t take the time to READ the question!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Gadzooks, I feel many times people read the question, but for some reason can’t grasp what the question is saying. Sometimes I feel they just ignore what the question is saying and try to attack the questions validity because they don’t like the direction, or what the questions points to. I hate to say it like this, but some questions I feel I would have to dumb down to the ridiculous in order to keep people on point to the where they can’t read into the question what is not there, or deviate on some tangent that was not even a part of the question to begin with. I see it all the time, not just my questions but those of many others. The questions sparks a reaction close to the reader and they go off in a pissy tizzy because they felt it was not a general question or comment, but an affront to them, or their associated groping. I feel (off the responses I get to my questions) to answer your question, that between 45–70% of the time either all or part of the questions I ask is not properly deciphered. Now some would even accuse me of trying to be an elitist and a snob for just saying that, again they will see in the comment what I am not saying and make it me accusing them of being too stupid for my smarts, which is not the case at all, if I thought someone wasn’t being smart or logical on something I would just tell them straight out.

gailcalled's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central: That wall of text is causing me vertigo, making it hard to find the kernel of clarity embedded in it.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Of course you wouldn’t, my point proven exactly Thanks for the help. ;-)

augustlan's avatar

My groping is feeling affronted.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^^ You are a unique group unto yourself, a group I would not malign. ^^

FutureMemory's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Oh, how I’ve missed thee!

digitalimpression's avatar

About 30% of the time. Not too bad statistically, but ohhhh that 30% .. can drive ya crazy.

gailcalled's avatar

@FutureMemory: Me, too.

If people don’t understand your questions between 40–70% of the time (verified by Roper’s polls), is the general populace at fault, or might (just possibly) the OP be unclear?

When I do not understand some text, can I blame it on my associated groping or a pissy tizzy? Or perhaps on the OP’s use of language? Does that make me an élitist or snob?

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