To clarify: this question is about posting on meta sites.

To share knowledge, it is recommended to post instant self answer. However, what do you do if the knowledge isn't an obvious answer to a question?

I see the following options:

  1. Post the knowledge and ignore the question-answer format. This is the simplest option, but it has the downside of not corresponding to the post format of the rest of the site. Nevertheless, this is what I usually see when people posts statistics/graphs. I did it myself here, and another good example is this.

  2. Post the knowledge as an answer to an arbitrary question. To fit the question-answer format, people often try to create a question whose answer will fit their knowledge. However, not all knowledge easily fit the Q&N format, so this solution often leads to vague closed questions such as this one.

  3. Post the knowledge with a side question. This solution would be the same as the first, but adding a simple discussion-promoting side question to fit the Q&N style, as done here. This would follow the format of being a question, but likely not promote any good answers as there is no good question.

  4. Don't post the knowledge at all. Acknowledge defeat. After all, this is a question-answer site.

  5. Post the knowledge as a comment. As shared and demonstrated by Servy in a comment: Meta sites use way more comments than main sites, due to the nature of their purpose.

All of the methods have downsides to them, so I am not sure which one to use. Is it always recommended to use self-answers, even if the question might be extremely vague? Or is it better to ignore the Q&A style?

  • 6
    5. Post on your own blog...
    – rene
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 7:02
  • 1
    @rene Firstly, your opinion is pretty much covered by 4. Secondly, it seems that people actually want posts like this; just take a look at [graphs] - it is filled with high-scoring posts like these.
    – dwitvliet
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 7:20
  • 1
    Have a look at the faq and faq-proposed tags for inspiration on turning knowledge into questions with answers. Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 13:02
  • did you consider case method? In the context of Q&A site, this would mean to put a concrete, practical case into the question and answer it by analyzing the case and building a broader overview from that analysis
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 13:34
  • @FishBelowtheIce So your opinion is too always follow the Q&N format, even on Meta?
    – dwitvliet
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 16:24
  • @MattEllen I agree. This question is meant for Meta-posts only. I've edited the question to clarify this in the beginning of the post.
    – dwitvliet
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 16:26
  • 1
    @gnat Case method is another good solution, and it might provide Q&A format posts when otherwise not possible. Does this mean you'd always recommend Q&A format, even on Meta?
    – dwitvliet
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 16:29
  • 1
    on main sites I think you better stick strongly with it. As for meta this likely can be relaxed... or in some cases maybe even should be relaxed - when doing discussion posts strictly following Q&A model could easily be inferior
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 16:50
  • You left off the option that ends up being used most frequently, "Just use comments". Meta sites use way more comments than main sites, due to the nature of their purpose.
    – Servy
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 17:07
  • @Servy True, but that is very limited. I do not think any of the mentioned post examples would easily fit into a comment.
    – dwitvliet
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 17:11
  • @Banana I didn't say that is the only thing you should ever use. Several of these options are appropriate in different circumstances. It's not like all but one is universally wrong.
    – Servy
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 17:14
  • @Servy Ah, good point. I'll add it to the list then.
    – dwitvliet
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 17:15
  • Without a concrete example it's really hard to give a definitive answer. By and large knowledge dissemination is via a question-with-answer, but there are some examples here of say, announcements, that are put in the body of a "question" post and aren't expected to be answered. Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 17:16
  • @FishBelowtheIce Do you think this question would have been better off as a question-with-answer?
    – dwitvliet
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 17:23
  • I often see type one on meta sites. On main sites, you should always stick to the q and a format.
    – user212646
    Commented Aug 29, 2014 at 21:39


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