As N.N. notes in his answer to Can/should we get a “How to Ask” page?, there is now a "How to ask" page and it is linked from a helpful-looking box on the "Ask Question" page:
I'd like this box made a little clearer and cleaner, if possible. The problems that immediately jump out at me are:
- The first question is missing article (or perhaps a plural-s).
- I'm also a little nervous of the "related typesetting system" - it's not clear what that is. How "related" does a typesetting system have to be? Sibling? First cousin? Third cousin, twice removed? I realise that conciseness is key here, but concise and precise are not mutually exclusive. How about "Is your question about TeX or a TeX-based typesetting system?"
- Second sentence: I'd rather go for focus than the answer/discussion divide. I'd also steer clear of saying things like "We prefer" as if we've sat down and made a list of all the things we don't like (Questions that give rise to discussion, Word, cats, things that go bump in the night, Paulo's graphics) and decided to ban them all from the site. How about "Your question is more likely to get answered if it is focussed." (and the double s is non-negotiable).
- Third and fourth "sentence"s. They aren't. Sentences, I mean. Seriously. Let's be grammatical about this. And "research"? What research? Should I link all of my articles? Is it really going to help someone answer my question on expansion to know what is the Topology of the space of piecewise-smooth loops? What do these mean? For us, they mean "Show what you've already tried.".
- The link to the more detailed "how to ask" page is "asking help". Is that "help about asking" or "if you want more help, here's where to ask"?
Yes, I'm nitpicking. But the people for whom this box will be useful are the people new to the site for whom the default assumptions that this box makes (about familiarity with the SE system) will not apply, or at least are less likely to apply. So it's an important thing to think about.