My question didn't get any comment or answer, so I'm just wondering:

  1. Is it an appropriate question for this site ?
  2. How might I improve it to make it more answerable ?
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    $\begingroup$ stats.stackexchange.com/faq#bounty $\endgroup$ – whuber Jun 8 '12 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ @whuber, he doesn't have enough rep to offer a bounty $\endgroup$ – Macro Jun 8 '12 at 15:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Macro That reference is to more than bounties: it is the part of our FAQ that addresses "What if I don’t get a good answer?". Among other things, it links to stats.stackexchange.com/questions/how-to-ask. It's worth a read! (2) Re your second comment (+1): in a nutshell, TL;DR. $\endgroup$ – whuber Jun 8 '12 at 15:10
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    $\begingroup$ @whuber I have to be honest that your response makes me feel depressed. I don't know enough about statistics to really know if my question is good (as per the links you put) or not (is this site only for people who know a lot already ?) and I don't have enough reputation to offer a bounty (which I would gladly offer if I could). I feel a bit unwelcome now. $\endgroup$ – Joe King Jun 8 '12 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ I'm sorry about that impression, Joe: it was unintended. I have reviewed your question several times and although it's a bit long and dense, it's quite clear and well written. The only advice I have right now--apart from the standard material I have referenced--is to be patient. A tough question usually doesn't get an instant answer. Good answers often require an overnight wait or even waiting through a weekend when expert readers may have more time to reply. $\endgroup$ – whuber Jun 8 '12 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ @whuber thank you very much. I feel much better now. I am new to SE and I had the impression that questions that are not answered quickly (say within a day) tend not to be answered at all. I'm very happy to be patient and if I can accumulate some more reputation I will make a bounty... $\endgroup$ – Joe King Jun 8 '12 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ @whuber as per Macro's answer I have edited the question significantly. $\endgroup$ – Joe King Jun 8 '12 at 18:11

A few things I can see from looking at the question are

  • Yes, it does look on-topic for the website

  • it looks very long and dense - is there any way to get across your question without using so much space? I know the most popular questions and answers are clear and not overly verbose

  • if questions simply must be very long, it's most effective when they have the sections of the question/answer broken up into parts in an effective way. For an example, look at an answer by @whuber, which are often very long but are not off-putting because they are thoughtfully organized. For me personally, I tend to ignore questions or answers that are very long without a clear organizational structure - it's just too daunting when you have to focus just to try and organize, for yourself, what exactly is being asked. There may be great questions/answers hiding in such posts but I'll rarely find out unless the title/topic is very appealing to me, which leads me to another point -

  • your title is not very informative - I personally don't click on every question I see and I will almost never click on a question with an extremely vague title. Is there some other 1-line way of describing the problem that may draw people in?

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. I could cut the question down to a couple of short sentences for each part: how to partition variance in a logistic mixed model ? And how to compare residual variance over time in a mixed model ? I just fear that people might think I didn't put much effort into solving the problem myself (hence my original question, and the updates...). $\endgroup$ – Joe King Jun 8 '12 at 15:16
  • $\begingroup$ Also, I thinking of a better title. Thanks again ! $\endgroup$ – Joe King Jun 8 '12 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ No problem - I'm looking forward to it. The type of question you asked is within my (and some other posters I know of) area of expertise, so I do expect that a good answer will come forward. $\endgroup$ – Macro Jun 8 '12 at 15:49
  • $\begingroup$ OK, I have shortened the question, removing as much verbosity as I can. I hope it still makes sense ! ? I have also updated the title. Thanks ! $\endgroup$ – Joe King Jun 8 '12 at 18:11

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