Do I have to read a book before I ask a question about it? Can I ask questions about books I haven't finished reading yet? Do I have to read a book several times before I ask a question about it?

  • 3
    By extension, do I have to read all the sequels before asking about a book? Even if that book is Dune? Do I have to read all letters of Tolkien before I ask a question about The Hobbit?
    – b_jonas
    Jan 19, 2017 at 13:07
  • 2
    @b_jonas - no but you have to read Silmarillion.
    – DVK
    Jan 19, 2017 at 17:08

1 Answer 1


There shouldn't be any strict requirements about this.

Some questions, such as questions, are best asked before someone has read the books. But even for plot explanation or literary analysis questions, it shouldn't be necessary to have read the book before asking questions about it.

If someone who hasn't read the book posts a question to which the answer should be obvious (say, "whom does Elizabeth Bennet marry in the end?" or "who's the main character in 1984?"), then we can mark such questions as bad by downvoting them if necessary. But that doesn't mean we should require people to read the book before posting questions about it. It's perfectly possible to post high-quality questions about something you haven't read. (Source: I do it all the time over on Science Fiction & Fantasy, and have rarely if ever embarrassed myself by doing so.)

  • 2
    I even got a Nice Question badge on a question that was based on a faulty premise, about something that I hadn't watched.
    – Mithical Mod
    Jan 19, 2017 at 13:18

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