The "How do I write a good answer?" help center page in theory should be something that every new and many established community member would find helpful. Who doesn't need advice on how to write a good answer?

Unfortunately, the page isn't mod editable. So that just means that it comes with some generic advice about "being polite" and "providing links". And I suppose that this advice is helpful. But on pretty much any Stack Exchange site I can think of, I can follow all of the advice on this page and still write a answer that isn't good. I don't want to link new community members to a resource that they can follow to the letter and still fail.

The problem is that every Stack Exchange community has different standards about what makes a good answer. Having a one-size-all faq page doesn't work.

I would like to propose that moderators be given the ability to edit the "How do I write a good answer?" help center page.

I read through Improved Help Center - site-specific pages and site-specific edits to all pages before asking this question. I think it makes sense to have policies that are uniform throughout the Stack Exchange network (for example, the be nice policy is one of the reasons why I participate here). But I think in the case of a page about how to write a good answer, a one-size-all approach to an faq page misinforms more than it informs. If it isn't possible to allow moderators to edit the page, it might be worth removing that help center page altogether.

  • 1
    I agree with this. Many individual SE sites have very different requirements for how to write a good answer; what's considered fine on one site might be heavily downvoted or even deleted on another. Jul 16, 2017 at 16:59
  • I think trusted users should also be able to do so. Of course to prevent spam and unnecessary text, there would be an edit history (like the ones for questions and answers) Jul 16, 2017 at 17:05
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    @AnthonyPham Well, allowing non-mods to edit help centre pages is a whole other feature request. I think none of them are editable by non-mods at the moment? Jul 16, 2017 at 17:06
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    +1, I appreciate the need behind this feature request. I don't agree, however, that removing "How to ask/answer" is better than leaving it static.
    – MTL
    Jul 16, 2017 at 17:08
  • @Shokhet I can't imagine the advice currently there being useful to anyone.
    – user160606
    Jul 16, 2017 at 18:18
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    @Hamlet: It is useful advice, even in its current form, but it would be more accurately titled "How do I not write a crappy answer (on Stack Overflow)?" Specifically, each of the subsections seems to be written in response to a particular class of bad (non-)answers commonly found in the Very Low Quality review queue on SO (specifically: "thanks!", "me too!", not solving the problem, link-only answers, unreadable mess, "fastest gun" answers to dupe / off-topic / unclear questions, flames / rants / trolling). Basically, it's an expanded version of this bulleted list. Jul 16, 2017 at 19:21
  • I thought mods were already able to edit their own community's help center pages. Maybe it's restricted to "What topics can I ask about here?" pages.
    – NVZ
    Jul 16, 2017 at 20:05
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    @NVZ That's correct, /help/on-topic is the only mod-editable help center page (though mods can add text at the top of /help and in various places in the tour).
    – Ben N
    Jul 16, 2017 at 20:21
  • @IlmariKaronen makes sense; but then shouldn't the page be titled something along the lines of "common pitfalls to avoid when writing answers"?
    – user160606
    Jul 17, 2017 at 2:21
  • This post seems to be forgotten about.
    – Mast
    May 6, 2021 at 15:20


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