My question:

What's the most important consideration when accepting a new client?

I'm wondering why my previous question about the same topic has been downvoted with comments regarding the Q&A violations "it an open question". I see a lot of "How to?" questions around here and all of them can be considered as open question. Please, explain.

  • Have you seen my comment? I was the 1st downvoter and I have explained my reasons just after my vote. May 22, 2013 at 10:39
  • Yes, could you make an example to how can I transform my question to a less open question?
    – Seraphim
    May 22, 2013 at 10:41
  • 4
    In fact, the entire article I referenced is specifically about writing good subjective questions. (1) "I'm doing this and this. During my activity, I find that often I meet problem-making/non-paying customers. How can I prepare myself to avoid it?" (2) (the same beginning) "How can I resolve the particular problem with existing client?" (3) (the same beginning) "Why should I check prospect's credibility before committing working with them?" (4) "My prospects are often non-tech people. How should I ensure successful collaboration with them?" May 22, 2013 at 10:59
  • 1
    Ok, clear for me.
    – Seraphim
    May 22, 2013 at 11:01
  • 4
    +1 for asking a valid question in the right place. I don't think we should be downvoting questions on Meta that ask "why did this happen?". If you feel that "this" should happen, answer that way (or upvote whomever did already), but don't downvote the question - it discourages the right behavior, which is asking about how things work here on meta.
    – Jaydles
    May 22, 2013 at 16:27

3 Answers 3


Stack Exchange takes a different approach to Q&A; different than most of the forum-chatrooms folks are accustomed to. The Freelancing Stack Exchange is designed to create a definitive cannon of knowledge to answer the types of problems you encounter in your day to day work — practical, specific, answerable questions.

There's nothing inherently wrong with your question. It's been asked hundreds of times in every forum on this subject. But in our Q&A format, your question is essentially an opening to a group roundtable discussion. It's a conversation starter. Unfortunately, it's also not particularly "answerable", at least in this style Q&A format.

Take a look at "About Freelancing Stack Exchange" to see how this all works.

I can appreciate the desire to ask these broad getting-started questions early on; I really do. It's just easier to cast a broad net and pick through the selection of answers to see what suits your particular interests later. But that's not what we do.

Why are we here?

This site work work better when you ask about a specific problem you've encountered in your day to day work — describe the situation and explain where you are having difficulties. That way, the users here are not left guessing how they can help you… specifically.

All in all, we simply prefer specific, long-tailed questions over open-ended discussions that simply say "you guys talk and I'll pick out the good stuff later."

Try it. I know that's a pretty big ask — and it's a tough sell. But it's this practical, low-noise approach to Q&A that that has worked so well for us in the past. And it's what drives experts to these sites in the first place.

Good luck!

  • Thanks for your response. I'm not new to this site but I think that the Freelancing Q&A attracts more open questions than others...
    – Seraphim
    May 22, 2013 at 15:05
  • 2
    @Seraphim Unfortunately, that's where this subject totally failed the last time around: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/11624/freelance-workers. Nobody had specific questions to solve; just a lot of broad general discussions that could be found anywhere — I've heard "our site will attract more open questions than others" more times that I can recall. But the sites that manage stick to the core purpose of having a sites in the first place manage to do very well. May 22, 2013 at 15:23

I think this is a good question here on meta, and I wonder why it was voted down at least twice. I guess probably the down-votes came from a sentiment like, "RTFM," but from @Seraphim's question and subsequent comment, I think it's fairly clear that SE is a totally new experience for them (as it was for almost everyone at one point or another).

Seraphim, I would also suggest that you have a look at this video where Joel Spolsky (current CEO of SE, Inc.) talks in detail with a journalist about what exactly SE is trying to do and to become.

I too, when I first encountered SE, had the mistaken impression that it was just another discussion forum. It took me several experiences very much like yours before I began to understand that SE is trying to do something very different from what pretty much every discussion forum on The Internet is trying to do. To accomplish that thing (which I think is an extremely worthwhile endeavor) requires that all of us use a great deal of care in crafting our questions.

  • Downvotes on meta work differently; they express disagreement
    – Amelia
    May 22, 2013 at 14:27
  • 1
    I think disagreement can lead to learning if it is justified with a thoughtful comment. Without that, I think it just becomes a popularity contest, and true politicians throughout the world have demonstrated what the world ends up with when democracy is nothing but a popularity contest. May 22, 2013 at 14:30

If I may refer you to the FAQs - What kind of questions should I not ask here?

There is no definitive answer, and as the FAQs suggest:

Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

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