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What's wrong with my Firefox question? While I suppose it can happen on Windows, I've only had this problem on Linux, specifically Ubuntu. Is the question somehow stated poorly?

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    Probably because 1. Titile is not clear 2. Question is not specific to ubuntu 3. Question body is not undestandable at first look – Tachyons Dec 28 '12 at 11:23
  • @Tachyons on point number two, please reference meta.askubuntu.com/questions/5688/… ; your other points are appreciated. – Thufir Jan 6 '13 at 3:33
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Possible Reasons

The only way to be sure why a downvote was cast is if the downvoter explains it. I'm not one of the people who downvoted it, so I can only guess.

With that said:

  • It's not clear until one is well into the body of the question that the problem is happening in Firefox, or that you can subscribe with Google Reader to some feeds, just not others. By itself this is not such a big deal, but the title doesn't provide any help--it's not in the form of a question so it's not clear what your goal is; instead it just identifies the very general theme of the question.

  • You may have been thinking that the tag would clarify that the question is about Firefox. But tags are primarily used for sorting; all the information necessary for someone to answer your question should be included in the question whenever possible.

  • It's possible someone thought your question is a bug report (and thus off-topic for Ask Ubuntu). It describes a problem that someone might consider a bug. I think, in this case, that we don't have any good reason to think that this is happening due to a bug, and that taking any action assuming it is would be premature. However, others might disagree. There's nothing you can really do about that, but I don't think that's what's going on.

It was suggested that your question may have been downvoted because it might also apply to some non-Ubuntu operating system. If that's why people downvoted, they made a mistake. We don't care if questions also apply to non-Ubuntu OSes. We care if they do apply to Ubuntu. For example, questions about apt-get and aptitude (and a lot of other topics) mostly apply to Debian too. Questions about how to use command-line tools like ls, grep, and find apply to almost every GNU/Linux operating system.

Example

Consider the following rewording of your question:

Why won't Firefox subscribe to some feeds with Google Reader?

In Firefox, I want to subscribe to RSS feeds with Google Reader. When I click the green radio-style RSS button, for some feeds it offers Google Reader as an option. For others, it only offers Live Bookmarks.

I've noticed that it seems to offer Google Reader as an option for __ feeds, but not for __.

[or: I haven't noticed any pattern in which feeds Firefox lets me subscribe to with Google Reader, and which it doesn't.]

I would like Firefox to let me subscribe to any feed with Google Reader. Is there a way for me to add it to the list so it always appears? There's an option to add other applications, but when I try this, Google Reader isn't found on the system, maybe because it is an online aggregator.

[or, you might mean: ... isn't found on the system, which is odd, since it's an online aggregator.]

I know Google makes an extension so I can do this with a separate toolbar button, but I do not want that.

You certainly don't have to use that as a template. (You can if you like.) You're the one who's experiencing the problem, and you know best what you're asking. It's quite possible that:

  • My example template does not express what you need to know, with total accuracy.
  • You can ask it better, since you know best what you are asking.

Suggestions

I recommend reading over your question and editing it to improve its clarity and readability. You might decide just to change the title. Even if only the title is fleshed out (and made a question), the whole question would be much more accessible.

The downvotes are not very important. What matters most is that:

  • Your question can get one or more good answers, which help you and others with the same problem.
  • Other people with the same problem can read your question and understand that it's their problem.

By making the question clearer, you'll increase the likelihood of people noticing it and realizing they know the answer. (I don't know the answer, by the way, or I'd have answered it before posting this.) Even if the downvotes are not reversed, your question would likely be upvoted.

In terms of reputation points on the site, when someone downvotes your question you lose 2 points; when someone upvotes it, you gain 5. Upvotes count much more than downvotes.

Finally, if you haven't gotten a chance to read the FAQ yet, I recommend doing so, as it contains a number of useful points about asking and improving questions.

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