I find SO a great way to learn. I am trying to become a useful member of the community, but am struggling with down votes.

This is similar to another question when answering a coding question, is it better to just answer the question, or rewrite the OP's code?

However there is another aspect I'd like to address.

I have been a member of SO for 1.5 years. I have only recently been brave enough to answer questions.

  1. There is a pressure to answer quickly, which impedes the quality of my answers. I know this is discussed at length. I am wondering how to adapt my attitude, so I can give time to answer a question with research, without feeling like it will be a waste of time; as others will have jumped in before hand.
  2. I appreciate (as I have needed) that sometimes people need the answer spelt out in a step by step way, as they are very new. However, when someone has for eg already created tables and clearly understands how to use SQL. I have suggested loose algorithms and added links for eg to the NOW() function. Offering a little generic code with a comment..//insert your parameters. I have found these answers can be voted down and the answer that gives the precise code needed to answer the question gets voted up. To me, this is NOT in keeping with the idea that we are in a combined learning environment. I am wondering if there is a way I can improve my answers to make them worth contributing to the environment.
  3. What is the value- if a question is answered with clarity via a link, eg someone wants to understand what an 'unreachable page' is within the context of SEO. I posted a link with a table of the problems that cause these errors. Another member, copied and pasted the table. I need clarity. Is it better to send someone to the link (explaining what the link is about) or to copy and paste.

Another really stupid question, what does OP stand for?

Please, I know this is long winded. Please suggest an edit before voting me down. I am learning and taking the risk of posting and it is not easy to be voted down without explanation. I would prefer to totally modify the question, so it is acceptable.

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    Regarding 1, if you're answering a relatively easy question, try to think of aspects of the problem that the cursory observer would overlook, and focus on those in your answer. That way you're not just repeating what everyone else has said or is going to say, and your answer has real value. – Asad Saeeduddin May 24 '13 at 2:44
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    OP stands for Original Poster – FDinoff May 24 '13 at 2:45
  • Oh, ty Fdinof! Asad, Yes that is a good idea... I did have that with one, where someone wanted to create a loop if a calculated height was negative or zero, I pointed out that the input data should be validated, and that this should be checked for negative or zero, and not the result.. I was totally ignored. – user310756 May 24 '13 at 2:50
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    You mention in your question above that you've only recently felt 'brave' enough to answer questions. Odd thing; I'm always much more reluctant to ask questions! Funny how people are different! – Andrew Barber May 24 '13 at 3:38
  • Yes that is true Andrew! I actually feel really embarrassed asking questions, but as I am supposed to need help when asking a question, figure it's not so bad if I look like an idiot. Either way I feel pretty stupid! And we're all from a minority group here (programming) so we should feel at home.. :-) – user310756 May 24 '13 at 3:41

First of all, OP is 'Original Poster' - the question-asker.

To address your points:

  1. Not really. Don't go have coffee to think it over, but don't rush and mess up either. Answers posted within 15 (correct me if I'm wrong) minutes are randomized in what order they show up in the answer list. As long as you are within 10-15 minutes of the asking of a question, you're fine.
  2. Well, you seem to have done your research. Questions with code that works get voted up. Post those. Personally, I tend to post an overview of what needs to be done, with a working code sample at the bottom.
  3. Copy and paste! (with proper attribution). It's always better to have the info right there than for it to be hidden behind a link. Again, attribute it properly. Often, something like this works:

I found this:

some image or chart or code or table or something

Source: 3k on SO, so I must be doing something right. However, you deserve whatever happens to you if you take my advice.

Now, go forth and answer! Help those who need it!

  • I really appreciate your answer. You have cleared up my anxiety over point 1. As ridiculous as it might sound, I am a very literal person, so if given instructions, I will follow them. Yes, I will take your advice on point 3. As for point 2, isn't it a good idea to encourage someone (who has experience with that code) to write the code themselves? and point them to the solution? – user310756 May 24 '13 at 3:10
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    @yvytty Glad to be of assistance. It does take quite the load off of you when answering, doesn't it? – Undo - Reinstate Monica May 24 '13 at 3:11
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    Yes it does, I don't want the forum to be stressful. I want to be useful and productive. This is a great adjunct to the SO. As I didn't realise it was here and it addresses all those issues :-) – user310756 May 24 '13 at 3:25

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