How do you adjust your question when Quora sends you the vague notification that “this question needs improvement”?

This is more about others’ questions I find than my own, though I occasionally get dinged by the FormatBot myself.

  • Always end the question with a question mark. No, don’t follow it with a parenthetical remark
  • Correct Spelling
  • Correct Punctuation
  • Correct Spacing
  • Boring Punctuation. The FormatBot is a simple beast. Don’t do anything creative with punctuation. If you’re going to cite words or letters, for example, don’t use quotes. Just italicise them.
  • If all those fail, I dunno, keep rephrasing it until it stops. And make the rephrasings progressively dumber and dumber until it does. The more cookie-cutter the syntax and punctuation, the less the FormatBot will find to object to.

I don’t actually hate the FormatBot anywhere near as much as the other bots roaming around here. In this particular context, it does less harm than good: simpler questions are less likely to be Special Snowflake questions.

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