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This question just came up, currently phrased "Why can't I get any aroma out of my dry hops?".

I wonder if it would be more effective if it were phrased in the positive, like "How can I get the most aroma out of dry hopping?"

Is this the kind of thing we'd like to have a 'policy' on, something we'd add to the FAQ and edit Questions for?

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We really don't need a "policy" about the best way to phrase a question and we certainly don't need a policy-enforcement task force to routinely edit questions into compliance.

It's fine to talk about this stuff in meta to improve your own performance and best practices, but I wouldn't recommend these types of routine, minor edits on other people's posts for the sake of turning "six of one" into "half a dozen of the other."

If you look at the questions on the front page, they are phrased in various ways: inquiries, paraphrasing, statements, catchphrases, etc. Every once in awhile, a well-meaning users comes through and launches a self-appointed campaign to rephrase all the questions to a "standard format." And it is almost always met with resentment or hostility.

The problem with the specific change you cited above — while it's not the end of the world — is that you took someone's trouble-shooting problem and turned it into a thread for general advice. If someone took my question "How do I save my family photos from smoke damage?" and turned it into something like "What are some good ways to prevent fires in my house?", I'm not sure I would find that helpful.

I don't want to make everyone gun-shy about editing questions when it makes the question substantively better. Editing is a valuable service to this site. But make sure that substance is there… then if you happen to be in there making the question better, then sure, go ahead and fix some random spelling error, cross your t's and dot your i's.

  • Sure, 'Policy' probably wasn't the right word. But part of the point of this site is to make the content valuable to the large homebrew community. I agree, I don't want a campaign, but new questions will follow the mold of existing questions; isn't private beta is the time to make general standards, even if we don't 'enforce' them later. – sgwill Nov 12 '10 at 15:39
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    Enforcing a "questions must be phrased in the affirmative" policy on the 99.5% of the users who are not privy to these conversations is not good policy. Sure, it might be a nice idea and you raised it here; Others can follow your example. But that next step... to "add to the FAQ and edit Questions" is what I am suggesting can become hostile and off-putting to those on the receiving end of that activity. – Robert Cartaino Nov 12 '10 at 15:55
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On the other hand, 'nitpicking' a new user's post might be a little off-putting for them.

I'm assuming that the better worded question will get more attention over time anyway (through coming up in search results, etc)? Also, if one if marked as a duplicate of the other, but keeps getting hit by searches then the user is only one click away from the other answer?

In this case, I don't see that either phrasing is drastically better/worse than the other.

(I'm partially playing devil's advocate here, creating an answer so we can vote either way - if everyone votes the other way I'm not going to cry about it).

  • Yes, that's what I was afraid of, too. I would rather have more community involvement than some odd standard of 'perfect question.' Hopefully he didn't take it personally. – sgwill Nov 12 '10 at 11:29
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If you can make a question better, feel free to do so, provided you have editing privileges. I agree in this case. There is always a history of the question that we can roll back to.

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