Is there (or should there be) some way to ask for clarification of a question?

2 Answers
Feb 24, 2015

Currently, the best way to ask for clarification of a question is to add a comment below the space where the answer will be, asking for clarity.

Note: If you don't see your comment show up right away, refresh the page and it should appear.

By leaving a comment, the question-asker will receive an email with your comment, which will (hopefully) prompt them visit the question page to reply to the comment with the clarification you need.

I'm curious on others' thoughts about whether there should be a better way — or a way at all — to ask for clarification from question-askers. Why or why not? What might such a feature look like?

Feel free to add answers and thoughts below!

Feb 25, 2015

There is a definite need for a way to ask for clarification of a question.

Sometimes, a critical bit of information is missing. Posting in the "Comments" may get the info.

With students whose first language is not English and native English speakers with a poor command of their own language, it is often difficult to decide just what the question is asking.

Requesting clarification through a comment sometimes works, but often there is no reply.

I suspect that many students respond to texts more than to emails and also that they may be too embarrassed to respond publicly to a comment.

There may be times when the student and responder may have to interact (off the public grid, by email or whatever) to clarify the question.

This may be a lousy idea, but what about a button for responders that would send a message something like, "A responder would like more clarification of your question. Would you like to reply by email?"

The button would have to be moderated to ensure that the student does not get inundated with requests.

I'm reaching my 200 word limit so I will …