I gave a ton of contextual information in this question. Is that an effective question, or should I strive to be more editorial in the content of my questions. Seems like there's a delicate balance, but most of the time it seems to me people don't provide enough context, and it results in a bunch of comment-based question refinement and iteration.
In your question, I don't think you added more information than was relevant to the question. On the other hand, the question is so long, I didn't really read the whole thing.
This other question for sure is giving too much information. A giant block of code with no relevance to the question being asked. And at the same time, that question provides too little information, since it doesn't even say what OS or platform is being asked about in a platform-specific programming question.
I've had similar experience on SuperUser and it looks like people just can't be bothered to read a somewhat more complex question. In such cases, I usually post a bounty and hope for the best, if I really need help or answer the question myself.
One thing that I always wanted to do but didn't have the courage is to post a crippled question on purpose. It will at least get the attention of "close-police" which in some cases may be better than no attention at all.
In the end it seems that all those guidelines for writing good questions which tell user to include as much relevant information as possible are wrong since they assume that the users who will want to answer the question will be as good users as the user who asked the question.
I guess that some people are just after quick rep and your complex question will have worse effort/upvote ratio than simpler and more popular questions.
No, for me anyway, that was not a effective question.
It looks like you provided lots of necessary information and your question looks well written, but I can't say for sure as I didn't read it. I remember seeing it originally, but the sheer size of it made it feel like too much work to read and understand, so I skipped it.
Maybe your question really needed all that detail, maybe it didn't, but I'll never know.
I'm not saying this is fair or that you did anything wrong necessarily. But remember, you asked for feedback, so I'm telling you what my reaction was.
Look, this is giving too much background: C coding design - function pointers?. Only the last three lines would've been enough as well. I've wasted people's time with providing a lot information that might have been relevant, but not necessary in order to answer the question.
There are two main issues with providing too much background information:
- The question might get so long that some people don't read it, thus you'll get fewer response
- The question might not seem useful to users with the same problem but a different background, which results in much duplicates
Now concrete on your question.
What you've done is provide a lot information about Eagle, and a lot information from the datasheet. Your question is about the usage of Eagle. This means...
- Information about the datasheet is not necessary, unless it is used to explain what you want
- Information about what you can do with Eagle is not necessary, unless it is to explain that that's not your problem
In my opinion, the information from the datasheet is useful to understand your question. I feel the same when it comes to the information you provided about Eagle.
But does a lot useful information make a question effective?
No, your question was a TLDR to many users, I think. At least is was for me, until I read this Meta question. There are a few ways to improve your post's readability:
- Scale down the images, place them next to each other eventually (you did the latter once). Especially the images from Eagle could've been smaller, but those from the datasheet too.
- Quote text from the datasheet instead of placing them in an image. This gives those texts a nice layout.
- Add in headings. That's how this long post can be still effective.
- Mention the question in the first paragraph. Users specialised in the topic will read further, others probably not but they wouldn't have something to add anyway. Of course, still mention the question in one of the last sentences as well, to avoid people shouting "NARQ!!!"
I lose the details when there are more than three and I don't yet know where the conversation/question is going. So I usually request people to give me the punch line first, when they're telling me about an event in their day or asking for help. It helps me to put the rest of what follows into context, or to ignore some it as irrelevant. Otherwise, I have to try to retain all of the details (which I don't do well), only to find out later which ones (typically, very few) mattered in context.
So Keelan's example question would be better framed for me if he'd put the final paragraph at the top, ahead of the details. I'd then know what he wanted and could read the rest choosing skim or read for detail as I needed to.