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@whuber asked recently about Top Ten List of Reasons to Close a Question Immediately, i.e. how not to ask questions, but maybe let's address this from the opposite perspective: how to ask a "great" question? As @whuber I'm treating this thread lightly and I think we could allow ourselves humorous answers because questions should be regarded based on their content rather than form, but nevertheless, it plays a role...

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    $\begingroup$ Include 'Facebook' in the title. $\endgroup$ – Scortchi - Reinstate Monica Jul 8 '16 at 9:47
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    $\begingroup$ If you want upvotes, spellchecking your title always helps $\endgroup$ – Glen_b -Reinstate Monica Jul 8 '16 at 11:31
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    $\begingroup$ For those who would like to research their answers, consider appropriate site searches. $\endgroup$ – whuber Jul 8 '16 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ @whuber actually, from this list it appears that we can add "ask off-topic question (preferably R or python related)"... $\endgroup$ – Tim Jul 8 '16 at 13:27
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    $\begingroup$ Tim, you might want to screen out very old questions (from the first few months of this site's life) as well as questions that were migrated here from Stack Overflow. (Some of the latter had huge numbers of upvotes before they arrived, due to the much greater size of SO.) $\endgroup$ – whuber Jul 8 '16 at 13:32
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    $\begingroup$ We do already have How to ask a “good” question on CrossValidated? Although this thread may be distinct in looking for silly answers. $\endgroup$ – gung - Reinstate Monica Jul 8 '16 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ Re-write a badly asked question, with prior-discussion here on meta ;) $\endgroup$ – Robert Long Jul 8 '16 at 17:12
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    $\begingroup$ Buy 1000 Twitter followers^W^W upvoters here for just $10 !!!!1!!eleven!! $\endgroup$ – Anony-Mousse Jul 9 '16 at 1:48
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After actively observing CV for some time I'd say that the recipe for a question to get noticed and highly upvoted is:

  • Make it general rather then narrow,
  • Use a short, meaningful, but "catchy" title,
  • Make it nicely formatted, use code formatting and $\TeX$,
  • It should consist of a few sentences and should not be one sentence: an overly long question would mean that people would not read it carefully,
  • Use , , or tags, they always attract attention!
  • Ask about something controversial,
  • Ask as a high-rank user!
  • Include mathematical formulas,
  • Provide an example,
  • Don't use tag.
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Include any XKCD drawing.

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    $\begingroup$ I need to hesitate not to immediately accept your answer :) $\endgroup$ – Tim Jul 8 '16 at 13:25
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    $\begingroup$ I like how @whuber once showed how to turn your own plots into XKCD style. If you ask about what Randall did, you can imitate his artistic form for your own plots. $\endgroup$ – EngrStudent - Reinstate Monica Oct 13 '16 at 15:05
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Derive insights from previous famous questions, using your favorite tool. The concrete model will be left as an exercise to the reader. There will be a test.

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Find an unanswered question that has a attracted fairly little attention, perhaps because it was poorly worded or a bit vague, or a bit eclectic, this for example, on a currently hot topic, such as machine learning. Start a discussion about it here on meta, such as this. Then improve and re-write the question.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is actually one of the reasons I created this thread. It's pretty crazy how the upvotes work. >100 upvotes and >10000 views n 4 days?! But most of the threads that were refereed to at meta ("why nobody votes on my Q" kind) did not get much attention. $\endgroup$ – Tim Jul 9 '16 at 10:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Tim I was quite astonished (and more than a little jealous). I agree that threads referred to in meta don't get much added attention (presumably for the reason they didn't get much attention in the first place). But I do wonder how much more attention (and upvotes) your new question got as a result of the discussion first in meta ? I feel this should be investigated in a controlled experiment haha :) $\endgroup$ – Robert Long Jul 9 '16 at 10:18
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    $\begingroup$ @RobertLong I wonder if the question got just enough question from the original meta post to get onto the "Hot Network Questions" sidebar, and took off from there (questions I've asked that reached HNQ had very noticeable spikes in traffic). Definitely can't get 10k views from metaCV alone! But you do need some initial impetus to get onto HNQ. $\endgroup$ – Silverfish Jul 10 '16 at 0:46
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    $\begingroup$ Clearly Tim's own answer here was based on that post too. It perhaps serves as a useful lesson in how to write a question that attracts attention. I hope to be able to use it to help me figure out how to improve my own question-asking skills. Titles in particular can be tricky. $\endgroup$ – Glen_b -Reinstate Monica Jul 10 '16 at 2:37

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