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Is it good to search and answer the questions?

Sometimes I don't know the answer, but i know how to find one (due to familarity or previous experience). When i find a solution (which is not really mine) should i post it as an answer or as a comment?

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As long as you don't be a smartass and tell them "oh and I Googled this answer because apparently you couldn't do it yourself." –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jul 16 '12 at 12:33
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As long as it's not a dupe (which google can even help you find...) –  Ben Brocka Jul 16 '12 at 12:36
    
Golly I hope so. Otherwise I'm going to lose a lot of reputation points. I consider it my reward for having better google-fu than others. –  Al E. Jul 16 '12 at 12:45
    
possible duplicate of How should we deal with Google questions? –  Shadow Wizard Jul 16 '12 at 12:45
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@ShaWizDowArd: No, it isn't. There are some questions which cannot be answered by a simple Google search, rather they require some digging. Like chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/442/… –  Manishearth Jul 16 '12 at 12:47

3 Answers 3

up vote 16 down vote accepted

You can do one of two things:

  • Post a link as a comment
  • Read the other post, understand it, write an answer in your own words. Link to the post if you wish, and sometimes quoting the awesome parts help. You can also expand on it, nothing stopping you there.

Just don't answer with just a link/copy-paste. That's a no-no.


Some examples of my posts where I've paraphrased, linked, and/or quoted (Feel free to add your own examples here if you have any better ones):

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Why not post is an answer?

If the answer is correct the answer is correct, and you have solved someone's problem! That's the goal of Stack Overflow and the other SE sites, after all. It doesn't matter how you figured out the proper answer.

Do try and word it in your own language and not copy text wholesale (which might be copyrighted and not licensed under a permissive license).

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Sometimes I don't know the answer, but i know how to find one (due to familarity or previous experience).

I think the "due to familarity or previous experience" is key here, as that enables you to value the search results before posting them.

If you truly feel the search result is okay, then I'd say posting it is fine. (In the way the other answers suggest.) Great.

But if you cannot really tell what the search result means, then please don't post it. Posting things you don't really know about might still give readers the impression that the answer was posted based on your own experience. It might even get some upvotes, just because it looks okay. Also, the sole fact that some answer was posted might keep others from even reading the question.

Or, if you can only assume it's okay, you could of course include some disclaimer like "It's not really my cup of tea, but Google suggests...".

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