Difference in describing a scene/asking about it and momentum for obtaining information

Hello there, another question that might have been answered elsewhere…
Up to which point is disclosing information about a scene just describing it; or up to what point are players just asking innocent questions, and when is spending momentum to obtain information actually appropriate?
I guess as GM I have to tell the players all the crucial traits of a scene from the beginning anyways? Is obtaining information already for things that are directly helpful for a skill test or for extra secrets otherwise unobtainable?

How long is a piece of string?

There isn’t really a right answer here.
You could have a straightforward scene like in Desertfall where the party is ambushed in the alley. All of the key info is out there at the start, but you might be able to give some small additional information about the attackers or Mara (i.e she has a crysknife) that isn;t obvious if they use their talents or momentum.

On the other hand if they are attempting to infiltrate an enemy residence then you may just start with a simple description of the building. If they ask their ‘innocent’ (no player is innocent) questions you can say that they can see 5 guards patrolling and some movement near the roof.
After that they need to start rolling or spending momentum to get more out of you. There are additional guards near the wall, that movement is a hunter-seeker, there is a gap in the patrols they can exploit, etc…

It will depend on your GM style and how your group works. Some will ask lots of questions, others almost none. Some scenes are simple others you want to make your players work for their knowledge.

Not that helpful I know, but GMing is always more an art than a science.

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Yup, very much this. Essentially anything that adds to their knowledge to help pursue the plot of the adventure might be ‘obtain information’.
So, the colour of an assassin’s jacket would be obtain information if the answer helped track him down. If it just shows he’s a stylish dresser and the PC wants to get a copy made it need not be an obtain.

As a side note I’m also a fan of saying the players ‘you tell me’ when they ask a question about a detail. It can be a good way to let them fill in details and sometimes help take the story in interesting places. If you want to be really crazy you could use obtain information as a way for players to add to the scene. When they do it, they have to answer their own question and the GM then incorporates it. In that way it can be as important as they or you want to make it.