I think questions should be tightly focused so that it is obvious what is being asked. Ultimately we what people and search engine to find our content.
I agree with the above.
I don't think the problem is much the count of "? marks in a question, but if the whole is clear and coherent. In other words, I don't think there is a problem having many questions within a question. But a "bare enumeration" format with very tiny sentences for each question is something else: the individual questions may not be very clear, and they don't seem contribute to understand the doubts of the questioner.
@ChrisW answer has elaborated on his own question formats with lots of sub-questions. As someone who posted answers to them, I can say I like them.
I think they have a very focused theme (a main question mark), they may even come with a current thesis informing from where the person comes from. And the lots of (related) sub-questions either add to understand his place (which indirectly adds to the understanding of the question) or adds to the question itself, but still grounded in the main question. Furthermore, even if a sub-question, by itself, comes as opening broad territory, its surrounding context still makes one feel rooted in the main question, and so a reader (and an answer) may not get so distracted by it.
On the answer side, I don't think chris' examples tax who wants to write an answer (as the enumeration taxes). First because an elaborated question is very personal, whereas the bare enumeration...
...is the opposite. Also they are more superficial. If something is not very clear or seem broad, there is this short period of trying to decode it. The problem for me is trying to decode an impersonal, one-sentence question, that is, to put the effort to understand and write an answer for a question that did not get the same effort -- and perhaps, have not much importance for the one who posted it?
In this format, all sub-questions have the same weight, and it seems to me it only takes one of these sub questions to come as too broad or difficult to understand to be put off with the entire post, whereas a clear question still can be answered, and one is free to just ignore sub-questions he is not interested in trying to understand or answer. Presumably, voting is still as clear as any other simple question.
Finally, to go back to one of chris examples, a short answer may still satisfy the core question: Andrei's answer, the accepted one, is very short.
The question of matter (Buddhism's views on environmental stewardship questions) is interesting in this discussion, I think, because there are many sub-questions, they are in the same theme, and yet don't seem quite right.
I would try to synthesize all this as: if we can at least delineate "a main question"....not necessarily to be able to succinctly write it down in a sentence (since many of our doubts have trouble with being boxed that way), but if we can identify a point that is the main one asked to be clarified, we might be in the good track regardless of the number of parts a question has?
With these questions I would like to
- Politely ask OP to split them up
- Wait a bit
- Ask again and inquire if they need any editing assistance
- Cast close votes and ultimately put them on hold as been too broad
I think the above is ungrumpy, unhysterical and reasonable.