Before you read my piece, I would like to tell you why this is not a duplicate of my previous question, How can I improve my questions to regain the ability to ask questions on StackOverflow? That was asked as a frightened appeal to return to this great community - I was successful in that endeavour - but this is an appeal to understand how I can contribute to make this community better.
If you agree with my views, please click the reopen button. If not, pretend you do :)
Also, I am not currently banned. I feel that I am in a comfort zone, and am looking to increase my expertise in asking, and in answering, questions. This is a way for me to further understand my current issues, and build upon my strengths.
Several weeks ago, I was able to leave behind my question ban and have begun to improve based on your thoughtful suggestions. My question-asking effort has greatly increased, and my reputation has followed suit. Now I would like to take some time to reflect upon my current issues in order to continue this process.
With my level of programming (you guessed it, low) I have only a few main ways to contribute constructively on Stack Overflow - a site that I love dearly.
Answer the occasional easy question (or my own)
Obviously, that is a short list (and #3 comes up once in a blue moon.) Last weekend, I went on an editing rampage, and - to my surprise - was suspended from doing so for a week, after it became obvious that my edits were trivial. I am still waiting for that period to be over.
- So, my first question is, how can I improve my editing skill. What should I edit, and more importantly, what should I not?
Now, we come to my second way to contribute: Asking questions that are both relevant to myself and to the community. Personally, I think that my skill in this department has increased greatly - the ban gave myself a much needed shock - but I still think that I can improve, especially in deciphering inexplicable downvotes. One question especially is bugging me:
What could I have done to avoid the downvotes?
How can I make my questions relevant to others?
How can I increase the clarity of my questions?
Now we come to the weakest link: my skill at answering questions. Since I am not experienced in this department, I have only a few basic queries:
When answering, should I always test my code before-hand, or only if I am unsure? Is there any easy metric which I can use to deduce the answer?
Thank you guys so much for helping me out - and reading this long question! If you do decide to answer, you have the chance to win +150 rep. This question is also widely applicable to a large audience and will help the community at large.
I really appreciate all of the feedback. Lastly, don't hesitate to critique this post - that will also help me.