There's a saying that "there are no stupid questions", and it's really the whole idea behind the whole Q&A system. If there is something you're wondering about and don't know the answer to, you should ask! Odds are that you're not the only person wondering about it.
However, the quality of the answer can only be as good as the quality of the question, if you want to get good answers and specifically, answers on the specific topic you're asking about, you need to write good questions.
Something that is a good rule of thumb for writing both questions and answers is to write it with everyone in mind, remember, you're not the only one asking this question and you're not answering to a specific person, you're answering for the community, try to write so it's useful for as many as possible!
Asking a Question
Before you're clicking on the "Ask A Question" button you should do a search to make sure that the question have not been asked before, you might save yourself some trouble!
The first thing you're supposed to fill out is the title. This is the first thing people will see when they see the question, so it's important that this is accurate and contains just enough information for the person reading it.
- Phrase it like a question! - If you don't do this you might turn it into a discussion instead of a question and you won't get the answers you're looking for. Make sure you don't forget the questionmark at the end.
- Keep it short! - If you can say it in 4 words, don't go with 8! Keep it as short as possible!.
This is the part where you explain your question in more words, your title is used to get the reader's attention, this is where you explain exactly what you want answer on. This should provide some background on the question and whatever information that's useful.
- Background - Provide a background on the issue to give the readers more insight into your situation, maybe they can give you some solution that you did not ask for.
- Keep it short! - Again, if you can say it in 4 words, don't say it in 8!
- A picture says more than a thousand words! - Make use of links (will give the link a tooltip) and icons, here's an example of a Jedi Knight. Check out this article on how to insert icons into your post
Tag your question with all relevant tags, but don't overdo it!
Answering a Question
So, you've found a question you have an answer to, before you go about posting your answer there are a few things you should do first.
- Read the other answers first! - Maybe someone already provided the answer?
- Don't post nothing! - If you don't have anything useful to provide to said question, don't post it.
At the top of the answer you write a summary of the answer you want to provide.
- Keep it short! - Try to summarize your answer in as few words as possible, giving the reader the ability to quickly get the answer he is looking for without needing to read the details.
Here's the answer in it's full extent with all details you choose to provide.
- Format it properly! - If your answer is a long one, use the tools for formatting that is available to you, put your text into paragraphs for readability, if someone just see a big wall of text they won't read it! Make sure you use the tools available to you, such as the embedding scripts for icons.
This cannot be emphasized enough, providing sources to your answer is very very important. It will give your answer much credibility and will give the reader the option to read more on the topic if they so choose.
Handing out your votes
While voting is not something there's a set of rules for it there are some guidelines on how to use the voting system to push the community in the right direction.
Give your upvote to things that are and have
- Good content
- Good formatting and easy to read
Give your downvote to things that have
- Poor language
- Bad formatting
- Bad/Inaccurate content