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I thought it might be wise to have us come up with a list of good, general guidelines to follow when posting answers to various questions. Obviously, everyone has their own opinion about how to go about things, but I was just wondering if anyone had additional suggestions. Here are some of mine:

  • Try to post links to external resources whenever you can. It costs nothing to the reader (besides some text being a different colour), and allows them to better their own knowledge on a particular subject (should they have the desire to do so). Think of posting links like commenting code (post more links then you feel is necessary).
  • Be concise in your writing. Avoid using extraneous words ("fluff" words) in your writing, and remember, quality != quantity.

I wanted to post this as the equivalent of a coding standards document for a programmer. As a community, hopefully this will help direct the flow and quality of the answers we post in the future, and give people general ways to focus their writing. Your suggestions can be about pretty much anything related to writing answers (form, quality, formatting, etiquette, respect, etc...).


It has also come to my attention (thanks slhck) that there already exists some answer guidelines posted on the SU website. Hopefully we can help to expand the list on that page, either by offering new suggestions, or expanding the existing ones.

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In case you don't know it yet, there's a page for that!™

How to Answer

Welcome to Super User!

Thanks for taking the time to contribute an answer. It’s because of helpful peers like yourself that we’re able to learn together as a community. Here are a few tips on how to make your answer great: [...]

In my opinion, this page summarizes everything that makes up a good answer. It's short enough to actually read it, and it covers a broad range of common mistakes, including the suggestions you already mentioned.

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    No, by all means, keep it open (at least for a while)! I don't know about the state of the FAQ redesign (which has been going on for some time now) -- so if there's a chance to improve the existing FAQ with community help, we might collect some ideas here. – slhck Jul 29 '11 at 13:57
  • that's fine, this is great to have a community FAQ question talking about how to answer questions... great work @Breakthrough and slhck. – studiohack Aug 1 '11 at 1:19

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