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I've just had a look at the fastest FASTA/FASTQ question, and felt that it was a bit lacking in substance. It was an answerable, specific question, and all the answers seem to concentrate on a single them (i.e. the fastest program execution time), so in that sense it was a reasonable question to be asked.

However, the question felt a bit too divorced from my own world for it to seem like a real bioinformatics question. What I felt was missing was a bit of an explanation around why the question was being asked. Sometimes it makes sense to be able to code up something quickly, but other times the solution needs to be as accurate as possible.

Do we want to encourage more storytelling in the questions that are asked? I understand that there are many people who just want someone to get to the point, but am curious to know if a bit more context in the questions would help both new people visiting the site and people answering the questions.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yep, I think we should encourage stories with questions. It helps to identify XY questions and in bioinformatics everything is context dependent. Next time, I will try to write the story with the question right away... $\endgroup$ – Kamil S Jaron Jun 4 '17 at 17:27
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A bit of background is always useful to give context. I recommend normally to write at least a few sentences or paragraph unless you know exactly what you are doing. Also, this accumulates more alternative terms related to the problem, which makes the question easier to find, in case one does not know the exact technical terms. In this case it was ok, I guess.

However, bioinformatics questions especially from newcomers are prone to a priori choice of tools, ill defined problems, and the XY- problem. The risk is that what you are semantically describing is not a good solution to the biological problem.

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