Asking a good question
Every upvote you receive on a question earns you 5 reputation points.
- Ensure the question you ask is on-topic; take a look at the relevant sites FAQ, and take their tour, to find out what sort of questions they don't want you to ask.
- Show some research. Many sites look unfavourably towards users that ask a question without making any attempt to find the answer for themselves. Google is your friend. You will also want to check to make sure that the question has not already been answered.
- Grammar and punctuation! These are big players in how a question is received.
Answering questions with good answers
Every upvote on an answer earns you 10 reputation points. If your answer is accepted by the original asker, you earn a further 15 reputation points.
- Try to be descriptive in your answer, and attentive to both the original question, and any further comments the asker may have made; some users will add additional information in the comments that can be used as hints towards what they are looking for.
- Grammar and punctuation! These are big players in any edit you submit to this site.
- Where applicable, use media. Use images to highlight main points - but do not over do it. If I am posting an answer in regards to using a particular feature of a computer program, for example, I quickly capture some screenshots to highlight the steps, and edit them for use with paint. I also make use of ScreenToGif to capture areas of my screen to convert into gifs, where helpful. I find this very useful to convey key elements of my answers, when answering game development related answers. This is less applicable to other sites, but just use common sense.
- Formatting! Formatting! Formatting! Use it, but do not overuse it. Use blocktext for quotes, code format for code, and spoiler format for key plot spoilers. You can take a look at our formatting sandbox for ideas and help.
- Answer bounties. If you answer a question that has a bounty, and the bounty issuer chooses your answer as the best, you are awarded the bounty reputation on top of any additional upvote reputation. The minimum bounty is 50 reputation - instantly allowing you to place comments. If your question is the highest scored answer at the end of the bounty period, but the issuer does not award the bounty to anyone, you will still be given half of the posted reputation. You can also post a bounty on an answer that has already been posted, just to reward that user, so providing high-quality answers can still net you bounty reputation.
- In my opinion, earning reputation from edits can be rather slow. You earn 2 reputation points for every approved edit, until you have enough reputation to make edits without requiring a review.
- While slow, they can be an easier way to earn reputation on sites where you are still learning the ropes, and are having difficulties finding good questions to post or answer.
- Look for areas where you can improve the general quality of the question, but do not blindly add or remove content. Also ensure that you read over the post for further opportunity to improve; edits may be rejected for being "too minimal", even if they are technically appropriate.
- Provide a detailed summary, explaining why you edited. I can not tell you how many times I have accidentally rejected an appropriate edit, because the user was adding information that the original asker personally posted as a comment, but did not mention that it was a comment. You can not see comments, when you review an edit.
- If you see the original asker adding information via comments, edit it into the question. Ensure it is seemless; i.e. we do not want edits that break away from the post with things like "EDIT:" or "COPIED FROM COMMENTS:". However, the user clearly intended the additional information to be considered, if it is relevant; it should be in the answer. Ensure you note that you are adding information from comments in your edit summary.
Be conscious of the community
Different communities have different standards. As a result, your experience may vary. For example, some communities will be more forgiving of poor spelling, and even fix the mistakes for you. Other communities will frown on poor spelling, and express discontent in their downvotes. Some communities will downvote an answer if it is on a question that is very obviously off-topic; other communities will be more lenient, if they see you are a new user, and simply let you know of the issue via comments. If you are ever unsure, ask in the relevant meta. Even if your question is poorly received, you do not gain or lose reputation in a site-specific meta. It might be an idea to ask this question in the specific meta, to gain a more specific point of view of what that community looks for in their questions and answers.
Most importantly, do not post your comment as an answer. We see this a lot; users do not understand why they can not comment, so they post their comment as an answer. These posts are downvoted and deleted. This won't harm your reputation that much, but it is not action to start from. The fact that you are asking about improving your reputation to comment, as opposed to already doing this, tells me you are already off to a good start.