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Most of the questions I see are pretty general and make a goal of generally improving the base of personal finance. Should we encourage specificity for situations? Like

I make make $XXK per year and have $XK per month in household expenses. My wife makes $XXK > and we are not contributing to our IRA fully. How will paying and extra $xxx.00 on our mortgages affect the time span?

Then we can give actual answers with amortization schedules and the like.

I think users will find a lot more utility in the site (versus general knowledge). The downside being we will get a lot of hit and run users instead of a larger community. I hear lots of radio shows (Dave R, Clark H, the old guy investor) who do a little lesson and then answer questions. It seems to have more of a active life than a money blog.

How can we encourage this?

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    Now that I have had a night to sleep on it, I also am not interested in a flood of questions like the HST episode we had a couple of months ago when users were not familiar with the concept of the site and didn't want to be. – MrChrister Aug 25 '10 at 13:26
  • The top 4 tags are 1. Canada, 2. United-states, 3. Investing, 4. HST I wondered why HST made it so high :) – Alex B Aug 25 '10 at 15:40
  • There were quite a few "were is ma money!?!" questions that Chris W politely answered and closed. – MrChrister Aug 25 '10 at 18:18
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    Yes there were too many identical HST questions. I'd even tried adding a big message at the top of any question tagged "HST" imploring people to read related messages before asking another question, since odds are their question was already asked, but that didn't seem to help much. :-( – Chris W. Rea Aug 26 '10 at 18:27
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Yes, of course. However, it depends on the question. That said, I cannot think of any good examples right now.

Some questions can be answered simply by providing the methodology. Otherwise, it is certainly a good idea to provide the methodology in the question, rather than just running the numbers for someone.

I do not think we should avoid encouraging more detail for fear of drive-by users. Users that are not interested in being a part of the community will not change their ways just because we do not encourage more detailed questions.

Actually, one good example where detail is a good thing is this credit question (though it may still need a title change).

As far as how to encourage it:

  1. Comments on existing questions
  2. Having detailed questions on the site

We can always close questions as dupes, assuming that there is another question with a good answer that provides an appropriate answer (i.e. a good explanation of methodology).

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What are the state and county taxes for refinancing a mortgage in Virginia?

I think this question is exactly what I was hoping we would get. Pretty specific, but good link bait and very helpful if you are refi'ing in VA

  • Yup. It garnered a pretty decent answer as well. – George Marian Aug 26 '10 at 22:27

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