Maybe this will be closed, but I think this is a valuable question even if it does skirt the rules and I think the answers to this question may help others who are asking "why isn't someone answering my question" or "why isn't someone answering my question the way I want them to" or even "why is someone asking such a question" or "how rude of that person to expect such a detailed and elaborate answer! I'm going to troll them!" If it must be closed, I accept, I'm not trying to cause problems. Though I would suggest the general answers to this from the bigger "dogs" on this forum could result in this being a great link to provide to people who ask questions that are out of context on this. Or a link to this question could be used to calm those who respond angrily to valid questions.

There is no "correct" answer to this question and there is no "incorrect" answer to this question and I have no intention of identifying any particular answer as the "correct" one. I'm sure some people will select which answers they "like" and I think that's acceptable, as I may do the same thing, but I would still put forth that no answer is "wrong" (unless it conflicts with the otherwise declared premise of this forum). The purpose of this question is to understand.

The real question is "why do you answer [or try to answer] questions on bitcoin stack exchange?"

I ask this because I find that the questions on this web site are frequently high on the google search list for the answers to questions I, and possibly others, have. The problem is that the average person doesn't understand the answers found on other websites and sometimes here. I usually seek very elaborate step by step instructions but I get that people are resistant to providing such answers as they are not only rather challenging, irritating, and may seem like a "waste" of time (because people think that the level of detail some may seek isn't reasonable, realistic and or otherwise justified in their desires).

"What do you mean you don't understand that? I just said you use the scriptsig from the previous output". Well, not everyone knows exactly what that is and if one other person used it incorrectly or didn't describe it perfectly in a previous question, a reasonable person who is trying to learn it may have misunderstood it. Then they might also mix it up with the scriptpubkey or other some such term as well, either due to a miscommunication in another question or some other minor variation. It happens.

I'm asking this question because I'm trying to understand, is it wrong of me to want elaborately detailed and step by step instructions for my questions? Or is it not wrong of me but is this the wrong forum? Its hard to tell based on people's reactions. Is this forum only for those who do understand those terms and can correlate them all back to each other easily without it being elaborately described several times in the answer to a single other question?

This answer to one of my questions was near perfect in every way, but who wants to go through that much trouble for a stranger and, likely, for more questions for other processes in bitcoin? That was just one small part of the programming and took quite some time. I greatly appreciate what was done, but was my desire for such a detailed and thorough answer unreasonable and or out of place in this forum? Was I rude to ask, expect, seek, and or to pursue such an elaborate and time consuming answer for such a small part of the bitcoin protocol? If I ask for more such elaborate answers to other parts of the bitcoin protocol, am I being even ruder and or even more imposing, or, in particular, within the boundaries of this forum?

This answer to a question is also rather well done, but still lacks some specificity on steps that could help to make it a lot easier for some people, but can you imagine having to do all that was done thus far and then being even more detailed each step of the way? I understand, that is quite the task. Is my preference reasonable within the boundaries of these forums?

I hope this question gives some people the opportunity (particularly those who answer questions) an opportunity to speak out without feeling like they're trolling a particular individual (though I admit some may inadvertently find a way to do so anyhow) but also to help myself and other, possibly labeled "n00bs" to better understand the context of this forum.

Thank you for your responses.

  • 1
    Why do you mention the links as being removed? If you're going to talk about them, shouldn't you link them? If you don't know which ones they were, they are still visible to me on your deleted post on the main page.
    – Murch Mod
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 5:43
  • They were removed by someone else, I think a moderator or something, so I merely identified they were removed so people at least had some context in my statements regarding them.
    – Mine
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 23:18
  • According to the edit history of this question, they were never part of this post. I assume that you simply copied over the text from the main site and thus the links were not part of it. I've added them back.
    – Murch Mod
    Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 19:55
  • That's REALLY weird as I know they were. Interesting...iirc it was the same mod who pinned my post who removed the links. Thank you for adding them back. I assumed he had a reason like he didn't want me comparing posters or something.
    – Mine
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 16:06
  • Please don't misrepresent what happened: you deleted the post yourself on Aug 14th at 9:21pm, no mod interacted with it before then. At that point only a few regular community members had suggested that it should be closed as off-topic and moved to meta instead. If you had agreed with the off-topic flag instead of deleting the post, it would have been moved here automatically. — Instead you probably just copied it and reposted it here, which lost the links. Nick just edited the post here to add notices that there used to be links that were missing now.
    – Murch Mod
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 16:11
  • You can check the latter by looking at the edit history of this post: bitcoin.meta.stackexchange.com/posts/857/revisions
    – Murch Mod
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 16:16
  • ! @Murch I did not misrepresent anything!Your description of the situation sounds reasonable, but I was totally unaware that the links even stood the possibility of being "erased" when I moved the post. I honestly, & truly, thought a mod had erased the links. I had no idea they could have been missing! I thought a mod had intentionally removed the actual links for whatever reason and thought it would have been hostile of me to put them back in as a result. Obviously, I misunderstood. I'm not sure I fully understood the option of the system moving the post or thought I should do it myself, idr
    – Mine
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 16:02
  • In fact, I recently saw your post bitcoin.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/861/…, and thought, apparently mistakenly, "Oh, that must be why they removed the links on my post, because I had linked them in a small way and they were concerned I might be putting in inappropriate links". Yes, I understand now, I was wrong. I had no malice whatsoever.
    – Mine
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 16:04
  • I'm sorry, maybe that was a bit to sharp. If you just mark and copy text on the site, links would not be copied. You'll have to go to "edit" your post and copy the content of the edit window, then you'd be able to copy the post including the links. :)
    – Murch Mod
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 17:19
  • The url shorteners created by Stackexchange are fine, they will only ever link to our own content, so we always know that they are safe. URL shortener linking to external content obfuscate the destination, though, and especially since we are talking about money here, it would be an obvious attack vector to direct people at malware. That's why we prohibit them. The meta post was not about your posts. :)
    – Murch Mod
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 17:19

3 Answers 3


I answer questions, when I'm interested in the topic, feel like I can provide a comprehensive answer in a reasonable amount of time, and the asker has made a reasonable effort to ask a comprehensible, specific question. Answering questions allows me to test and refine my understanding of the topic, provides a community service and is satisfying to me.

I usually don't answer questions:

  • wehn the asker doesntn evn spellhceck, or decent grammar
  • when the question is so broad that it's impossible for me to tell what facet of the described topic an asker is interested in
  • if I can't answer something in at most half an hour (although I sometimes misestimate, or even first research the topic when I'm really interested)
  • If an asker wants to do something that requires a lot of technical expertise within Bitcoin, but it's obvious that he has just discovered a topic and not done any research whatsoever yet, but already is requesting all sorts of unrelated details.
    E.g. I want to build my own house, can you please give me detailed instructions on the different steps such as how to pick the stones for the wall, mix grout, and angle the beams for my roof to cope with a middle European amount of precipitation.

  • I'm generally put off by questions that are based on elaborate contrived scenarios, or provide a huge wall of text to present the asker's current understanding. If the asker needs to provide multiple paragraphs of text to explain their scenario, often that is a sign that they should first rather do more research or ask a few questions about the background content of their question.

Addendum: Looking at your questions, it seems that you're very interested in the topic, but were eager to skip a few steps. If you want to get to the bottom of Bitcoin's technical concepts, you'll have to build up the vocabulary to talk about them. As an idea, you may want to consider three-fold:

  • Read! We already have several thousand questions on the site. There is a lot to discover and to learn. :)
  • When your questions get longer than ten sentences, take a step back and consider whether you can separate parts out of your question to ask separately. This may include statements you're making in your question that you don't confidently understand yet. Hereby, try to ask open questions, instead of making a statement and asking whether you've correctly understood. Smaller scoped open questions will be much easier for potential answerers to tackle. If you're tackling a complex topic, you might need to ask several questions in preparation before getting to the main topic of your interest.
  • When you're finding that answers throw up more new questions, consider asking specific follow-up questions to fill in the background instead of piling on comments.

That said, I see that you've been asking smaller and more focussed questions lately, so it seems you've already arrived at similar conclusions.

  • It's complicated. If I write too small of questions, people don't answer them thoroughly or in a manner which I can I would argue, the average person, can understand them. If I'm long winded, I tend to get more comprehensible answers. That's why I ask them like that. Why are people rewarding me with the details I seek when I'm more elaborate, but when I'm not, I'm punished with answers I can't work with? Its why I'm asking people 'why' they post here and trying to correlate that to the "purpose" of these forums; so I can try to adjust but I'm not seeing a middle ground.
    – Mine
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 19:56

I enjoy answering the questions on here just because if I can help, I feel good for doing so. Its extremely educational as well, testing your own knowledge when explaining to others. But agree with Murch, I use similar guidelines myself, and I think the fourth point especially relates to your questions. I've noticed that your questions ask for a lot of technical details but then you don't seem to understand them, so I'm not sure what you expect from the "elaborately detailed and step by step instructions for my questions" if they aren't going to be technical. For example, I'm unsure why you would be seeking technical details of transaction signing if you don't yet understand the core concepts of scriptSigs and transaction outputs well.

There is nothing wrong with asking challenging and technical questions, but I would say that its quite important for questions to be straight to the point and specific. It makes our lives as answerers a lot easier to answer questions if they are clear and specific. If you write long paragraphs surrounding the actual question, it can be quite off-putting and difficult to answer, and same goes if you ask broad questions instead of specific ones, such as questions surrounding the entirety of transaction signing rather than specific aspects of it. Same goes for asking followup questions in the comments, its a lot easier for us if you separate them out into separate questions.

  • 1
    An example of asking questions in the comments is what you just did ;) the technicality of the answer is purely based on the technicality of the question Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 21:51
  • Well I believed your answer required more detail, that it lacked, either due to my improper asking of a question (to which you would accuse me of typing "too much" if I did do it properly), or due to you making a mistake; where else but in a comment should I address that? Asking supplemental or helpful questions in a comment to facilitate the addition or correction in a main answer to a question; I don't see what's wrong with that at all. Prevents misleading everyone by adding it to the original question and gives the answer an opportunity to address it.
    – Mine
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 21:20
  • 2
    @Mine: I try to answer questions as simple as possible without misrepresenting the actual facts. Whether this will be comprehensible to the general audience depends on the topic and scope of the question. It is not reasonable to expect every topic to be accessible to any reader.
    – Murch Mod
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 5:49
  • Do you seek to explain the topics such that they are "accessible" to just about every reader? Or do you come here with a particular category in mind to whom you wish to explain such? Whether it is comprehensible to the general audience is also dependent upon your goals and whether you achieve them or not.
    – Mine
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 19:53
  • @Mine: Generally, I aim to answer the question that it is accessible to what I perceive the asker's level of knowledge to be. The more complex a topic the more knowledge I expect. Otherwise, I'd have to write a book every time someone asks a non-trivial question. I do try to link to relevant background information, though, when I'm aware of some.
    – Murch Mod
    Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 19:52

The problem you're having lies at the intersection of four different problems: complexity, empathy, length, and teaching.

  1. Complexity: In Bitcoin, new concepts build on previous concepts. If each concept requires two previous concepts, then the length of the answer doubles for every additional level of simplification. If I want to say something without using jargon, I need to introduce a bunch of related concepts before I get to the meat of what I'm trying to tell you.

    As an example, try to express "the second scriptPubKey of the transaction" without using the words scriptSig, scriptPubKey, input, or output. It's really hard.

  2. Empathy: People who understand a system inside and out tend to assume that others have a similar level of understanding. In other words, they explain something as though they're explaining it to themselves.

  3. Length: An answer can be too long. This is both because longer answers are hard to write, and because it's harder to find individual pieces of information. It's hard to link to a piece of information in the middle of an answer. It's hard for Google to point to a piece of information in the middle of an answer.

    You rightly point out that a detailed explanation would be easier for people who don't understand Bitcoin jargon. However, some experienced Bitcoin developers use Bitcoin.SE as a reference, when they've forgotten some detail of how Bitcoin works. ("How is a P2PK output represented again?") A detailed explanation doesn't help them, because they're just looking for one piece of information.

    One good way to reduce the size of an answer is to not describe a step, especially if that step is described elsewhere. (e.g. "Between step 4 and step 5, you must razzle your framastat, but that is out of the scope of this answer.")

  4. Teaching: Here's an analogy.

    You're trying to teach someone how to take a square root. They only know how to add together single-digit numbers. You can give them a purely mechanical procedure that tells them every step they need to do to take the square root. However, they won't understand why they're taking the square root, or what the purpose of the individual steps are, or how to sanity-check their result. If you ask them to extend the method to take a cube root, they will have no idea how.

    In a similar sense, there's a completely mechanical set of steps to verify a signature. However, if I tell you that, you won't understand why only some fields are hashed, or how you might modify the procedure for an altcoin.

These are the four reasons why you're getting the answers that you're getting.

P.S: May I suggest the Bitcoin glossary? It's been helpful to me.

  • I think I may have inadvertently skewed my original post, I will look into it. I'm getting some good answers, but it feels like I'm trying to pull teeth to get them. Then I wonder if I'm aggravating people, but I correlate that back to the purpose of the forum and then considered "why" each of these people helps on here and wonder to what extent I'm contradicting that or the premise of the forum. Then, to top it all off, I feel like, maybe I should stop asking questions due to how "resistant" people seem to providing them.
    – Mine
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 21:18
  • @Mine FWIW, I don't feel you're being aggravating.
    – Nick ODell
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 21:21
  • Thank you, though there have been...comments...and such...and seems as though there's been "scoffing" when I ask follow up questions where I will say "you didn't say this" and they'll say they did, when they're completely ignoring the fact that they said "a therefore b" when I basically just said I don't know what those are. Basically, I don't know their jargon, just pointed it out, and then they reference their jargon as the answer and basically force me to ask them, even more explicitly, through more comments, what that jargon actually means.
    – Mine
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 21:23
  • 1
    @Mine That sounds really frustrating. I'm not sure how to help, since the people answering the questions think they're being clear. To some extent, comments are not a great way to clarify a answer. You're asking a single person, who may not have the time, inclination, or actual knowledge to answer your follow-up questions. However, when you use Ask Question, you're asking the entire site. Some stuff still falls through the cracks (see: 85% answer rate.)
    – Nick ODell
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 22:00
  • @Mine: I was just rereading this whole question. When you're asking for explanations of jargon, you've definitely found something that you can create another topic for.
    – Murch Mod
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 7:49
  • @Murch Where should one draw the line on that though? If its 1-2 lines, does it really need a whole additional question? What if the explanation for something is already a bit big, but, combined therewith, would require 10 separate questions to answer all the jargon separately? Is it truly expected on this forum to have to go through half a dozen or a dozen separate posts to understand one "thing"? The better and more thorough the answer the more views and upvotes for the answer the answerer will receive as a reward, won't they?
    – Mine
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 15:50
  • I recently gave an answer to a question. It turns out it wasn't what the guy asking was looking for, to be fair his question wasn't as clear as it could have been. Either way I didn't really get credit for it as a result, which is fair enough. I tried to make my answer understandable by just about anyone (as I claim I seek when I ask questions). bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/58853/…
    – Mine
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 15:52
  • @Mine I recently gave an answer I think you and the accepted answer are saying the same thing. The accepted answer is just more certain about it. WRT jargon: it is hard to know how difficult something is to explain without asking for an explanation. There's no good solution for this, so just guess.
    – Nick ODell
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 1:20

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