First off, I am wholly prepared to accept responsibility for vagueness in my questions. As such I want to clear any up. As yet, they are not apparent to me. As such, I'd like to request better resources to bridge the 'asking' to 'answering' gap.

I posted a question regarding the Lookup function in Excel and whether it was possible to pull multiple sets of data from a (likely comma separated) list of keys using lookup (or any other function). It is likely to earn me a second tumbleweed; unfortunately I would much prefer to have the question answered instead.

As suggested in another comment, perhaps there is a communication issue that I am not addressing. Perhaps the nuances of SU is lost on me, however I am having trouble identifying how to improve my question. I am asking for knowledge, which I do not have. I am more than familiar with how the situation might seem clear, as the user, when you ask a question, and on the other end it doesn't make any sense; however, for there to be an answer at the end of the day, further questions need to be asked by the person with expertise.

Reasons why myquestion was left unanswered:

  • Busy day, got flushed down the question drain without any organic bumps (likeliest)
    • Well I guess I can put in 1 charactyer edits to fix that, but...
  • Bad explanation of the problem/intended solution; i.e. the end result is vague
    • I think this is likely. It appears the explanation of how the lookup is working in the "award case" is good, but maybe the "decline case" needs to be better explained
  • The action space the solution would fill itself is vague
    • That is, even if the problem and solution are gleaned from the question by a reader, the respondent still doesn't understand where I want them to affix a solution to get from problem -> solution.
  • There is no interest in answering questions on Office
    • Not meant negatively; just more along the lines of, "Oh, another dumb question (from mfg) about Office"

Anyway, I would appreciate an edit if someone could help me clear up any problems, and maybe an assessment (here) of the reasons it is so far unanswered, or comments on the post to help me clarify any issues that need cleaned up.

  • As for the meta-question I am basically here: I am hoping for some specific advice on why my phrasing of this question didn't really seem to stick it's landing, some further tips than the stock how-to-ask/about/faq would be greatly appreciated. I am familiar with SE, but appear to have issues asking questions specifically on SU.
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Don't know about other people but when a question sports multiple points to solve all jammed into one, the eyes glaze over. –  random Apr 21 '11 at 14:22
    
@Rand so do you want to tell me how to better break up the question into more palatable morsels? It seems pretty reduced as it is; but if it isn't, and I can better step-by-step this let me know (i.e. first, I can remove the portion about multi-source merges). –  mfg Apr 21 '11 at 14:31
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2 Answers 2

I don't think there is something horrible wrong with your question.

I think there simply is a lack of -knowledge here on SU.

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Is there a more appropriate stackexchange to ask the question? –  mfg Apr 21 '11 at 15:01
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It's a vicious cycle: we don't have enough Excel questions, because we don't have enough Excel knowledge, but we won't attract knowledge until we have more Excel questions, which we don't get because... –  Ivo Flipse Apr 21 '11 at 15:04
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@ivo we are failing to excel in Excel. –  Jeff Atwood Apr 26 '11 at 8:58
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recursive problem is recursive –  wullxz May 16 '11 at 20:25
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I have always seen the problem that every question site has different user interests and focused knowledge to answer "focused questions." Therefore, we have stackexchange and so on.

I've used Yahoo Answers to find that people there think answers must be in the form of a joke, or respond with solutions that clearly don't answer the questions. I've had tumbleweed questions in non-technical matters there too. Lots of times emotional questions get answered there, but not statistical questions. WhQuestion and Knowpost used to get me answers for every question, and not be a jokefest.

I find it a smart decision that comments can be given to a question itself so that further info or redirection can be put into play, without the helpers' "response" being forced to be wrong.

I appreciate that people at superuser don't joke around, so they normally leave questions alone that they can't touch. I had a tumbleweed here because it was too specific, and probably a paragraph or two too long. I'm looking into closing it, but can't find how, BTW.

Anyway, sometimes it's just that you need a different site. Other times, nobody really knows the answer. I've answered questions a full year old. What does bother me is when I'm answering a question that gets deleted by mods halfway through because it's not superuser material --that motivates newbies like me to post less until a question has been simmering for a couple hours.

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Good point about not touching questions, we don't know the answer to. Its also why a lot of visitors only lurk, but not actively contribute. –  Ivo Flipse May 18 '11 at 7:29
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