The StackOverflow FAQ includes a lot of information on how to ask questions and what questions to ask, but very little information on what makes a good answer. I often see answers (example) of the sort that simply reference an external site and say, in effect, go read this. Unfortunately, over time this will lead to answers that are merely broken links as the linked information is moved (or removed). On occasion, I've added comments indicating that answers that link to external sites really need to have a summary so that they remain useful over time. I'd like to see something about how to construct a good answer addressed in the official FAQ along with the information about how to construct a good question.


You can now find the (linked in FAQ) content on writing a good answer at https://stackoverflow.com/questions/how-to-answer

  • but there is another side: a page by the link may be edited to reflect some changes, but a textual answer will remain the same.
    – user145842
    Commented Sep 11, 2010 at 13:50
  • 1
    Yes, please. (I'm talking here about the FAQ baseline, not SO in particular.) On some sites, bad answers are a bigger problem than bad questions, and there's no place to really hang that guidance in the FAQ. I raised this on a per-site meta and a member of the community team responded that the "answer" dialogue provides this guidance to low-rep users, but I think it needs to be more findable than that. Commented Apr 23, 2013 at 21:31
  • Oh well, so much for using bounty as a useful means to raise the profile and/or provoke action on old questions. This is the 3rd or 4rth time I've tried it, to little effect. My thanks to those who who stopped by long to share some of that most precious of resources, attention, on this. ;-) Commented Apr 29, 2013 at 21:16

4 Answers 4


It does now -- see https://stackoverflow.com/faq#deletion


I can't help with Stack Overflow's FAQ in particular; this is a general response.

When I asked on another site about adding answer guidance to the FAQ I got push-back from a member of the community team, who pointed out that (a) the FAQ is supposed to be short and (b) new users get "how to answer" guidance when actually composing an answer.

But some sites (particularly the ones covering more-subjective topics) attract bad answers, so that's not really good enough. What seems to help is to create a meta post describing what makes a good answer on your site, and then link to that post from your FAQ. (And from comments posted on answers that violate your guidelines, as needed.)

Here are a few examples:

  • 1
    Thanks for the examples of usable workarounds. I'll study them with interest. With regards to the push-back comments: by that reasoning there's no need for a FAQ for good questions either. Commented Apr 30, 2013 at 21:37
  • 1
    I agree with your push-back on the push-back. And it seems that at least one site has added an answer section to their FAQ anyway, so there seems to be some flexibility here. Commented May 1, 2013 at 2:15

Adding a bit to this question.

Recently on Super User, I noticed more answers which were not actually answers. For example, these questions:

To such answers, I referred that answers should be indeed, answering the question, or at least bringing something to help, and not simply saying that you have same, or to give your opinion in general, and to this i refer to the FAQ.

But I noticed indeed that the FAQ is really detailed about questions, what to ask, to not ask there... But tells nothing about answers. In this case, it's more than "how to write a good answer", it's about basic ground rules, even if they seem obvious to people using the site regularly.

Maybe indeed the FAQ should include such disclaimers, like for the questions. It probably won't prevent such answers from being posted, but at least we can refer them to some ground rules.


Yes, it should.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .