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JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

Do you read questions thoroughly?

Asked by JeSuisRickSpringfield (7220points) June 8th, 2012

I have been finding that quite a few people do not read questions thoroughly. Some respond only to the title despite the fact that Fluther requires us to fill in the details section—going so far as to call it the most important part of a question and assuring askers that we will get better answers the more effort we make in giving specifics. Others seem to skim the title and details, leading them to miss crucial words. I have seen exactly one person admit to and apologize for a mistake of this sort thus far (and kudos to that person). As this is a Q&A site, shouldn’t we make a serious effort to understanding a question before answering it? There is nothing to answer, after all, if there is nothing asked.

Cue someone saying “tl;dr.” But I hope some people will give serious response.

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37 Answers

josie's avatar

Have made the mistake of jumping on it too quickly as well.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I have been that person who has had to apologise for not reading/understanding the question fully and I have been the person wishing that others would read the question fully. I put it down to the fact that we are only human.

There have been times on here where I have decided against answering a question because the details section was so big that I couldn’t be bothered to read it in full in order to make sure that I answer the question with all details in mind. Usually, however, I try to read all questions that I decide to answer thoroughly.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I do. The challenge for me is that I also read through the existing responses before posting an answer, which can lead to losing focus of the details posted by the OP. I’m learning to go back and re-read the question and details after typing out my response and before clicking on the ‘Answer!’ button.

Another factor, which is sometimes amusing, is when the OP shares a link, and some responders’ don’t bother to look at it. It often leads to posts that miss the point of the question.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, usually I do, but I have skimmed over certain critical details on occasion that would have changed my response had I caught them.

Judi's avatar

Some descriptions are easy to read and follow. Some take a lot more work to understand and have a lot of extra unnecessary words and I have to read it a few times to really understand what people are asking.
If it’s clear that someone is just trying to show off how complex they can make their sentences I will sometimes just skim the details. I admit that there have been a few times I have missed something that was crucial to the question.
I remember a journalism class I took in Jr High, (Yes, back in the olden days we actually could take journalism for language arts credit) They said that you should get the most important facts out in the title and the first few lines so if an editor needed to cut your story for spacing, he could cut the last paragraph or two and still have a complete story.
I know that print is a dieing art, but in order to hold a person’s interest, I think the rule should still apply. Someone should be able to read the title and the first paragraph and get the gist of the story.

wundayatta's avatar

I find a lot of questions to be unclearly written. Sometimes people seem to think they are saying one thing, and they do not admit that they could written it better. Sometimes people write multiple questions in one (as I do), and most readers don’t get to all of the questions. Most seem to pick and choose the question they want to answer and leave it at that.

Would I rather people read my questions and answered every single part of the details? Of course. But I don’t expect that. I think it is legitimate for people to choose what interests them, and respond to that. I further think it is highly likely that people will understand questions differently than the questioner thinks or believes they have written them. That’s just the nature of language. It’s a poor substitute for a mind meld.

Oh. Wait. There is no such thing as a mind meld. Never mind.

gailcalled's avatar

Yes, if the question interests me and the details are not too long, too repetitive, too smothered in verbiage or too badly written, kind of.

filmfann's avatar

I haven’t been on a roller coaster since I was about 27.

SpatzieLover's avatar

If there is a wall o’ text, I skim quickly.

It seems some question askers suffer from a Theory of Mind issue. They expect you to know what was in their head when they submitted the Q. Yet others ask for an opinion, but only want to hear the one that matches theirs.

If you ask a well thought out question, you will get a multitude of answers. Out of those answers at least one will interpret the question differently than the rest. That, to me, is the beauty of this place we call Fluther.

erichw1504's avatar

@filmfann But, the question asked about how to remove a splinter from their foot.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Most of the time.

ucme's avatar

I reckon some folks are so desperate to post first, usually with some cocky shit, that they don’t take the time to read the details.

tinyfaery's avatar

Not if there is a wall of text to read. Anyhow, the question itself should be clear enough to get gist of what is being asked.

rebbel's avatar

If it is a long text in the details, but I am interested, I will read all (and answer if I can).
If I started reading and after one sentence I am bored/not interested I won’t read on, and won’t answer.

geeky_mama's avatar

I fully admit to playing favorites.

If the question by someone who I admire/often agree with/frequently appreciate their point of view…even if it’s far too wordy I’m likely to read it carefully and reply equally carefully.

If it’s poorly written and/or by someone I don’t know…well…. usually I’ll lose interest reading it and click away to a new question.

If it’s entirely inflammatory or totally ridiculous then I feel no compunction with responding however I please…and perhaps without reading the full rant the OP puked up.

augustlan's avatar

Nearly always, and all of the previous answers, too. I’m sure I’ve fumbled an answer or two somewhere, but I do try to get all the info I can before I answer.

Sunny2's avatar

I think I do, but I’m often proved wrong.

tranquilsea's avatar

I try to. But sometimes I’m in a hurry and skim and get it wrong. I won’t even bother answering questions that are poorly punctuated to the point that you get that wall of text.

Bellatrix's avatar

Depends on the question. If it is presented as a wall of text, probably not. If it is confusing and poorly written perhaps with multiple questions in one – I do my best but may miss things. Sometimes I skim and just get the wrong idea.

DaphneT's avatar

if you spell out tl;dr, is it NSFW? Otherwise what’s that? Oh, and no I don’t always read a question thoroughly. When that happens I refrain from answering. When I do, I try to answer as much as I can. However, I don’t expect such strict adherence by others, everyone has an off day.

Brian1946's avatar


Tl;dr stands for too long;didn’t read, so it’s SFW.

digitalimpression's avatar

Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to read lengthy descriptions.. guilty as charged.

My desire to do so is pretty sporadic.

lillycoyote's avatar

No, I really don’t a lot of the time and when I don’t I generally end up looking like a fool. I keep trying to remind myself: Lilly, you need to read every word of the question and details, not just every few or just random words, but I just can’t seem to manage it all the time. Most of the time it is my fault, but sometimes it really is the fault of the OP. Great Wall of Text! Must you? And I am guilty of that myself, so perhaps I shouldn’t judge, but there is a lot to be said for being succinct and for simple clarity and choosing a few words wisely. But not thoroughly reading questions and details is one of my major Fluther flaws and I often pay a steep price for that failure.

zensky's avatar

Tyrannosaurus ( /tɨˌrænɵˈsɔrəs/ or /taɪˌrænɵˈsɔrəs/; meaning “tyrant lizard”, from Greek tyrannos (τύραννος) meaning “tyrant,” and sauros (σαῦρος) meaning “lizard”) is a genus of coelurosaurian theropod dinosaur. The species Tyrannosaurus rex (rex meaning “king” in Latin), commonly abbreviated to T. rex, is a fixture in popular culture. It lived throughout what is now western North America, at the time an island continent termed Laramidia, with a much wider range than other tyrannosaurids. Fossils are found in a variety of rock formations dating to the Maastrichtian age of the upper Cretaceous Period, 67 to 65.5 million years ago.[1] It was among the last non-avian dinosaurs to exist before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.


wildpotato's avatar

I try to read details thoroughly and to answer every subQ in them. Occasionally I fail, but I think more often, as @wundayatta points out, it’s that case that details can be interpreted in a few different ways. What looks like a hasty reading to some may, in fact, be the result of such a different interpretation. And if a responder interpreted the details in a way the asker did not intend, what’s the big deal? The responder’s reply is just one of many, and can provide relevant info to the asker and to other readers despite (and occasionally because of) the misinterpretation.

If an asker acts all butthurt about having his details misinterpreted, I’ll usually just stop following the Q because intolerance ends my desire to engage.

ucme's avatar

Anagram of @oneword woo nerd

mangeons's avatar

I’ll read the details thoroughly if I’m interested in the question. If I’m not interested in the question, I don’t usually read them, but I also don’t usually end up answering, so it doesn’t really matter. I don’t, however, read all the previous answers unless there are only a few.

ratboy's avatar

The actual question has no role in my process for responding. Why waste time?

Lightlyseared's avatar

I read the question. I don’t bother with the details if there’s more than 2 or 3 lines.

blueiiznh's avatar

Yes and yes

woodcutter's avatar

If someone goes overboard with details and I make the determination they probably just like to hear them selves talk in real life anyway, or the question is completely link- fucked ,I may skim it and use the context of the other’s answers to get the gist.

Yeah….try to keep things to the point and it goes a long way to avoid hair splitting and dumb argument/ misunderstanding shit slinging. We all can’t see your hands when you ask it.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I read the details along with the answers that have already been given most of the time. There are times when I don’t have time to read all the answers, so I’ll read the question and details and go ahead an answer with my answer. Then when I have more time, I usually go back and read all of the other answers as well.

flutherother's avatar

I haven’t been on a roller coaster since I was about 27.

Judi's avatar

I’m 51 and go on roller coasters all the time.

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