Questions about WikiAnswers and

Should you avoid significantly changing the original wording of a WikiAnswers question?

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Wiki User
2007-02-21 17:15:36

When improving the wording of a WikiAnswers question it is

important that you don't change the meaning of the question. For

example, some people will mistakenly change a question such as

"What is the firing order for a 2002 Jeep Liberty V6?" to "What is

the firing order for a four-cylinder 2002 Jeep Liberty?" thinking

that this is the way to get their own question answered. However,

it is not wrong to change a question such as "What is a 1903 nickel

in fair condition worth?" to "What is the value of a 1903 US

nickel?" This is a valuable improvement because: * It clarifies

that the question is asking about US nickels. This might be a guess

on the part of the editor, but making a question specific enough to

be answered is worthwhile even when it means choosing the specifics

at random. Someone can always ask about different specifics, e.g.

"What is the value of a 1903 Canadian nickel?" * It uses standard

WikiAnswers phrasing. Our convention is to use "What is the value

of XYZ?" as opposed to "What is XYZ worth?" (Actually, there is

some debate about this convention, but for the sake of example

we'll stick with it.) Standardization of phrasing is valuable

because it makes it easier for other people to find the same

question. * It makes the question a little broader, to include 1903

nickels in different conditions. We have decided not to include the

condition in Collectibles FAQ questions because including it would

require multiple versions of extremely similar questions, e.g.

"What is the value of a 1903 US nickel in good condition?", "What

is the value of a 1903 US nickel in very good condition?" etc. A

careful reader will note that all of these examples relate to

WikiAnswers style and convention. How specific should questions be?

What form should they take? * We could include all engines in one

question about 2002 Jeep Libertys, i.e. "What is the firing order

for a 2002 Jeep Liberty?" This question could be answered as long

as the answer explained that the Liberty has different engine

options and different engines have different firing orders. * We

could include all model years in one question, e.g. "What is the

firing order for a Jeep Liberty?" The answer to this question would

need to explain if different model years are different and how

different engines have different firing orders. * We could even

include all models, e.g. "What is the firing order for a Jeep?" Or,

to take an extreme example, all makes and models, e.g. "What is the

firing order for your vehicle?" * Similarly, we could include coins

from different countries in one question, or different coin

denominations, or different years, etc. Why be generic about the

condition of a coin but be specific about other details? As you can

see, it's not always clear how you should edit questions and when

questions should be combined or separated. Although there is no

universally correct or incorrect way to word a

question, we can develop conventions for WikiAnswers. These

conventions will go in our style book as we develop them. (See the

Style Book link to the right.) To complicate things further, our

conventions and style rules needs to evolve. Conventions may change

as we learn more about how people like to ask various questions and

how questions can best be answered. We will want to split apart

some questions and combine others. As WikiAnswers grows, more and

more style questions will need to be addressed. We need your help

setting (and changing) them. Please click on the Discussion tab

above to bring up an issue for discussion.

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