I'm new to StackOverflow. I have a detailed article on a particular topic (How WinSxS works - around 5000 words), which I would like to post somewhere where it can be discussed and people can edit it without having to maintain it myself, but I don't think it's appropriate for wikipedia.

Somebody on Slashdot suggested I post a question to StackOverflow, and answer it myself, which sounds like a good match except possibly for the length of the article (there was a question already on meta about "how to" articles, but this is more a description of a mechanism). Is this considered good etiquette? Is there a more appropriate place for this?


Oh my gosh, I am totally down with WinSxS information, check out my question about it on SuperUser:

Why does the /winsxs folder grow so large, and can it be made smaller?

This would definitely be a great Super User topic, though the length gives me pause. Here's what I recommend:

  1. Start a blog. Build your own online profile before you build ours! Post the full article there first, and cite it elsewhere.
  2. Post an abbreviated, condensed, "reader's digest" version as a self-answered question on Super User. Of course link back to your blog for the full thing.

Any other thoughts from anyone else?

That seems the best balance of building your online presence (after all you did all the work, so you deserve the bulk of the benefits!), while helping others too.

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  • His own blog would miss the wiki part. I'm pretty sure he is thinking about a CW question/answer. – Ladybug Killer Oct 5 '09 at 11:57
  • What does CW stand for? I do want it somewhere where users can edit it without my involvement. I'm sure there are inaccuracies in there and I wouldn't like it to sit there misleading people indefinitely. I definitely won't have the time or motivation to keep it up to date myself, and I'm not too bothered about getting the credit... The focus of the article is on programmers, and the information is of the kind that would be useful to a developer asking things like "I've put a manifest in my DLL, but I'm getting R6034 errors from the CRT, what's going on?" – user136788 Oct 5 '09 at 12:14
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    CW: community wiki. People with 100 rep and above can edit these posts. Without CW you must have 2000 rep to edit it. – Ladybug Killer Oct 5 '09 at 12:24
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    Jeff, I'm sure you suggested in one of the early podcasts that SO could be a place where folks who don't have an online presence could in fact post one off articles such as this. The rationale being that if you have a really useful nugget of techy info to share, then you don't have to build an established online presence to be able to publish, particularly if you only publish say twice a year. – Kev Oct 5 '09 at 13:41
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    yes but a 5,000 word essay is not exactly what I had in mind.. – Jeff Atwood Oct 6 '09 at 0:52

I created a blog for this: http://omnicognate.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/winsxs/

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My next suggestion is to truncate the article into several chapters and post for each chapter a question with one self-answer. Link the different questions, so the readers can follow the whole article.

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    This sounds like a good approach, but would require quite a lot of surgery. On second thoughts I think I'm going to stop being lazy and follow Jeff's recommendation of a blog. I'll create one just for the purpose of posting this article and I will make any corrections myself in response to comments on it. I'll link to it from stack overflow. – user136788 Oct 5 '09 at 12:29

Self-answering is good etiquette, lengthy answers are not. Can you reduce the article? If not maybe it is possible to truncate it into "chapters" and post one answer for each. Truncating the post isn't an etiquette yet, and I guess some guys will not like it, but Jeff could solve this issue, if he agrees with this approach.

Btw, you should post the question as community-wiki to make the question/answers editable for 100 rep users.

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    Actually, the question doesn't need to be community wiki, so that if others have answers they can still earn rep for them (and the author can earn some rep if people feel like voting for it). But his pre-written answer probably should be community wiki, to avoid the appearance of begging rep. – Joel Coehoorn Oct 5 '09 at 14:34
  • @Joel: The OP mentioned that he does not want to maintain the answers and others should be free to edit it. That's why I suggested CW. – Ladybug Killer Oct 5 '09 at 14:39

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