Over on Stackoverflow, I happen to have given 145 answers and asked only three questions. On this site, however, which I like, I probably cannot answer many questions. For the most part, I can only ask. Such is my level of chess knowledge.

The first two questions I have asked here have stirred some minor, unwelcome controversy, which I regret. The flaw in the questions is clear to me in retrospect, and I mean to avoid the topic of those questions in the future. I gather however that the site, now in beta, does presently want more questions. I can indeed think of a few questions to ask. I should like to make such questions more constructive than the first two, however. If any specific advice or guideline occurs to you to which to draw my attention, I should be glad to learn of it. The object, after all, is to build the site up with constructive questions, not to tear it down with destructive ones.

The next question I have in mind regards chess programs and chess programming, and is nonpolitical. Are such questions likely to be constructive on a site like this? (The answer might be that such questions are not about chess as such. This is why I ask.)

I admit that I am unlikely to have many questions to ask here about chess strategy and tactics, openings and endings, etc.; and if those questions are what this site is about then I will read the site with interest but probably will not be able to contribute much. There are fine books on my bookshelf for strategy, tactics, openings, endings, etc.; and I would likely rather consult those, first. The questions I would ask here mostly regard things not in the books, such as chess programming for example, or ratings systems, or the biographies of chess masters. How well do such questions fit the site's format, in your view?

(By the way, Area 51 has a metaquestion with answers regarding chess programs and chess programming. Since I don't really understand Area 51, I do not know what relevance that metaquestion has to the present discussion, if any; but you can find it here.)

  • For the record: It has been two years since I asked the question. My questions do not seem to have stirred unwelcome controversy since, thanks in part to the advice of @JamesTomasino. So, one can learn. Thanks for tolerating the mistakes I made two years ago (hopefully not to be repeated), and for affording me the chance to correct my approach.
    – thb
    Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 10:54

1 Answer 1


The first guideline for what questions should or shouldn't be asked can be found on the FAQ.

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

You'll also see that the question of chess algorithms and programming has come up in meta discussion before. I'm clearly on the side that if a question is about any aspect of chess, it belongs on this site. Others disagree.

My advice would be, tailor your questions as best you can so that they can be answered specifically, factually, and without "political" arguments. If you can do that, and if it's some what related to chess, post away.

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