Many topics on Server Fault, Stack Overflow, etc. are framed as a question. People respond with their answers.

I have a topic that I would like to discuss, but it is more of a tip than a question. I would like to get people's feedback.

I'm trying to write the post like this: "I have this idea to do $SOMETHING. This seems like a better solution than what most people do. What do you think?"

Are we allowed to post tips? If you had a tip, how would you phrase it?


4 Answers 4


Stack Overflow is a nice mini-blog

In addition to the "normal" question/answer SO use, I treat Stack Overflow as sort of my technical "mini-blog". These generally fall into two categories:

tutorial mode. topics expressible in a Q/A which I've wanted to write about. In a lot of cases I've heard these questions before in other areas, or they were something that I had to figure out myself.

Is there a performance difference between i++ and ++i in C?
cx_Oracle: How do I iterate over a result set?
Oracle: how to create an identity column?

"engineering notebook" mode. questions I've had and figured out the answer to. If I put them on SO, it will be easier for (a) other people to to get help from them, and (b) allow me to find the answer later when I've forgotten it!

cx_Oracle: how do I get the ORA-xxxxx error number?

Of course, the SO system (software and peopleware) does not handle these cases specially, but treats them as normal questions/answers, subject to the standard rules and voting mechanisms.

I'm very grateful to Jeff for pointing out early on that this was a possibility. I used to write a lot, but slacked off for a while. Stack Overflow has gotten me back in the habit of writing about technical topics. Thanks Jeff!!


It's like Jeopardy: frame it as a questions and self answer it.


Because this is a questions and answer site, and if your tip doesn't fit well in that form it probably doesn't fit well into the mission and culture of SOFU.


Avoid it being subjective and that it would require an extended discussion and I think it would be OK.

Jeff has talked about posts like this being OK and Joel wants SO and related sites to be the the main source of information for it's type on the web.

In the Venn diagram we have a blog section so there is some merit for it. I wouldn't do this all the time but if the tip is interesting and could result in some community feedback, then I see nothing wrong with it.

  • Am I the only person with >4,000 rep that has never seen the About page?
    – Earlz
    Apr 23, 2010 at 17:53
  • 7
    @earlz: Yes, you are
    – squillman
    Apr 23, 2010 at 17:57
  • 1
    @Earlz the about page was the first thing I remember seeing on SO. The graph and the peoples' portraits (although I think there were only three back then.. in the long long ago).
    – Pekka
    Apr 23, 2010 at 17:57
  • 2
    PROTIP: When visiting a new website, always check their about page. You could find some useful information!
    – snicker
    Apr 23, 2010 at 19:30

In general, no. This is not a discussion site.

But, if your question is very specific like "I have this idea on how to make a jQuery slider do this special animation. Is this the right approach to take?" This kind of thing is sometimes ok, but of course you must always phrase it in the form of a question too... Also note that it's ok to write a question and then provide an answer to your own question.

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