75

Are there guidelines for what constitutes a good answer? Let's discuss. Perhaps, we can come up with some ideas for the FAQ.

Building off Should the official FAQ include information on how to answer as well as ask questions?

For more information, see "How do I write a good answer?" in the Help Center.

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  • when answer a question the followings are to be indicated 01. T - Topic 02. E - Explain 03. E - Examples 04. L - Link the answer to the topic – user260932 May 22 '14 at 7:50
  • @user260932. I don't understand what you are trying to say. Do you mean all answers should be written in outline form with the headings "01. T - Topic", "02. E - Explain", "03. E - Examples" [...]? This seems quite unnecessary for a well written answer. Also, what do you mean by "the followings"? – user49844 Apr 28 '15 at 18:33
84

How to Write a Good Answer

  • Be clear.

  • Be accurate and correct.

  • Provide examples.

  • Link to more information and further reading.

  • Quote relevant material to keep the user from having to click on every link given to get basic information.

  • Revise your answer to include more information as it comes along.

  • Be sure to monitor your answer for comments so that you can reply with explanation if questions come around about your answer.

  • Don't duplicate other answers.

  • Actually answer the question. Do not post an answer stating you have the same problem or one which only answers a question different from the one that was asked.

  • 28
    Could you provide some examples and links to further reading? – JoshDM Aug 6 '13 at 20:50
  • 2
    @JoshDM Link to more information and further reading. – nilon Oct 12 '16 at 14:09
  • An abc for LaTeX has plenty of relevant material and links (for the question from that SE site). That may serve as an example, even if off site, of being clear, with examples, and a bit of quirkynes that may, or may not, add some fun and ammenity to an answer. – nilon Nov 8 '17 at 22:11
36

I blogged about this a while ago. The bullet points from that article:

  • Read the question (carefully)
  • Code is king
  • Answer the question and highlight side-issues
  • It's okay to guess, but be honest
  • Raise the overall accuracy level
  • Provide links to related resources
  • Care about your reader: spelling, grammar and style matter
  • A time-limited answer may be better than no answer at all
  • Don't be afraid to delete (or edit heavily) useless answers
  • Be polite
  • Don't "answer and run"
  • Have fun

(Obviously the post goes into rather more depth on all of them :)

You might also want to read the answers to this rather similar question (now deleted; visible to those with 10k+ rep).

15

Good answers do more than simply reference an external site and suggest that the OP refer to it. Answers that primarily reference an external site should include a summary of the information so that it becomes a primary source as well as a reference. This will help the answer to stand the test of time.

  • It is also good for situations where the provided link becomes invalid. – Michael Walter May 7 '18 at 15:22
8

Don't just provide the code which solves the problem - try to help the OP understand this code as well, and why it works. This also helps others who come along afterwards.

2

The accepted answer has good points, but I think an important one is missing:

  • Keep to the point; the answer should be as brief as possible for a complete answer. Don't write about other things than what the question asked for.

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