I am wondering if hints in the questions are allowed here.

Example: Do Protestants have a liturgical language?

Hint: Amish.

Then, the answer will have to discuss whether or not Standard German is a liturgical language, distinctive from the vernacular language.

  • 1
    How is that a hint?
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 0:16
  • So I was going to answer, but the three current answers all cover exactly what I would say among them.
    – user3961
    Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 20:09
  • 1
    Can you provide a hint in this question... to what you mean? :P
    – Flimzy
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 0:00

3 Answers 3


I don't know about a general answer, but for the particular given example I'd say it's close-worthy due to being unclear. So firstly, be clear about what the question is. I think adding the word "any," i.e. "Do any Protestants have a liturgical language?" and then defining "liturgical language" (I assume you mean a language exclusively used for liturgy) would make the question itself much clearer.

But the addition of "Hint: Amish" is extraordinarily unclear even if you've done that much. Is it a way to scope the question? Then be explicit about that. Is it a hint about the correct answer? Then supply your own correct answer. Is it a note about the research you've done so far? Then say so.

I see no advantage to providing "hints." I think it would just cause annoyance, avoidance, and confusion.

  • Thanks for the explicit explanation.
    – Double U
    Commented Jan 31, 2015 at 23:48

I'd vote it down immediately because it looks like you've already got an answer in mind. If you already have an answer, just self-answer. On the other hand if you have a question just ask the question in a straightforward way.

I don't know if they should be disallowed but they'd certainly be annoying.


There is an "official" SE answer to this:

Focus on questions about an actual problem you have faced. Include details about what you have tried and exactly what you are trying to do.

This wording has been around as long as SO has existed (as far as I know) and is currently the second item on the Tour (under the Help menu).

Although non-technical SE sites like this one aren't so much about problems, it's still applicable:

  • Be clear about what you're asking
  • If you think you know the answer or part of it, say so and ask for more clarification about whatever part you don't understand.
  • If you leave out things you know about the answer (or that you're pretty sure you know), then you're making the question less clear, and less useful.

I've found that almost every question that says something like: "The answer should include blah blah blah..." deserves a downvote because it's clear why the OP is focussing on that aspect.

e.g. in your example, "Do Protestants have a liturgical language?" is probably too broad, since it doesn't seem like all or most protestants do. Something like the following would be better:

"Do any Protestant groups have a liturgical language? I think that the High German used by groups such as the Amish would qualify because most don't speak it amongst themselves."

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