Sometimes an unclear question is posted. You have an inkling what the OP means, or you think you do. Some people in this case answer their interpretation of the question. I think this is bad practice, as the variety of answers will be confusing to most people. It also encourages poor questions. In my opinion his happened before and has recently happened again.

In the recent case the user clearly read tidbits but had no thorough understanding of the economic models. It is IMO good to explain concepts to lay people, but I think these explanations did the OP no good, because his thoughts on the matter were not organized to begin with. (He accepted neither answer.) Since then the OP has gone on to ask IMO numerous poorly phrased questions, some of which still get answers and upvotes. Some questions include "I don't buy it". This IMO sounds more like it belongs on the radio show Infowars, not like a precursor to scientific investigation.

How should we proceed when a new user posts questions lacking in - shall we say - rigour?

  • $\begingroup$ Please see this post from May '16 which pretty much describes the same issue. $\endgroup$ – denesp Nov 18 '17 at 18:37
  • $\begingroup$ Dear denesp, thanks for the thread. While I agree that we should not answer unclear questions, I have to disagree with your assessment of the recent case. To me, that question was perfectly clear and I have heard that exact question many times from my students. The OP was confused about an economic concept and received two explanations. The fact that OP has not accepted an answer and moved has moved on may not have anything to do with him receiving answers on supposedly unclear questions. In fact, many posters, especially new ones, do not accept answers and move on quickly on this website. $\endgroup$ – BB King Nov 20 '17 at 0:27
  • $\begingroup$ @BBKing Perhaps I am wrong in this particular case. People find different questions clear. My issue is with sentence: "If you say that price affects supply and demand and supply and demand affect price then this just sounds like circular logic to me." I don't know if anyone said this, and it seems muddled. Yes, I can also guess what the OP meant, but an exact claim or a reference would be nice, otherwise we become a rumour debunking site. $\endgroup$ – denesp Nov 20 '17 at 6:47

(The nuclear option.)
Request clarification in a comment, do not answer until clarification. If there is no clarification in 48 hours vote to close as unclear. Downvote answers by others to the unclear question.

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    $\begingroup$ I voted for this option, but I am half-way between this and "Request clarification in a comment, do not answer until clarification." I think I would condition an answer down-vote on how good the answer is and how seriously unclear the question is. $\endgroup$ – Ubiquitous Nov 18 '17 at 21:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Ubiquitous Yes, unclarity being in the eye of the beholder is clearly a problem, but right now the bar of 'fairly clear' seems low (to me). $\endgroup$ – denesp Nov 18 '17 at 22:06

Request clarification in a comment, do not answer until clarification.


Answer according to your own interpretation while perhaps requesting clarification in a comment.


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