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Questions tagged [best-practices]

Questions about the best way to do something on a Stack Exchange site, not for questions about questions about best practices.

65
votes
5answers
42k views

Is there a good way to represent file structure in a question/answer?

I'm always looking for the best way to represent a file structure on my posts. I generally use this one: Project | +-- file 1 | +-- dir 2 | | | +-- file 2.1 | +-- dir 3 | | |...
44
votes
8answers
2k views

Are answers that just contain a regular expression pattern really “good answers”?

I have noticed an abundance of regex answers that consist of nothing but a pattern. Obviously, not explaining the patterns will lead the (often clueless) OPs to just copy and paste the solutions. ...
34
votes
17answers
10k views

How to ask a smart question

The title of the oldest revision of this SO question is, "Is it posible [sic]?" This doesn't provide any information at all. It should be mandatory for everyone asking questions on the Internet to ...
22
votes
6answers
530 views

Acceptable solution for 'answer copying'?

I am sure this scenario is familiar to all of you. You click an unanswered question and after reading the question, you want to help and answer. After you answered, you remain the first and only ...
21
votes
11answers
2k views

What’s the best way to ask a question if English isn't your first language?

First, I really like Stack Overflow and appreciate it. I always get useful answers and information from it. Now, English is my second language. So, when I submit any question, some people can't ...
21
votes
2answers
404 views

How and when should we use the “invalid flag” flag? [closed]

I found the "invalid flag" option, and have used it a few times. Mostly where someone's flagged a post as "very low quality", but it's either been fixed or it was never really that bad. But it seems ...
20
votes
1answer
983 views

Correct procedure for dealing with adf.ly links (shortening service that pays poster)

What's the recommended approach to dealing with posts that include links shortened using AdFly. Should it the link be edited away or replaced, flagged, downvoted, or simply ignored? Unless I've ...
18
votes
6answers
440 views

Tagging best practices

I am wondering what I should do when tagging a question that fits multiple tags, in the particular case were the question might belong to general as well as more specific tags. Let me give you an ...
17
votes
6answers
541 views

Best-Practices versus Subjective

What does it take for something to go from being merely subjective to a "best practice"? Is a "best practice" no longer subjective? It seems like something becomes a best practice when a lot of ...
16
votes
4answers
230 views

Should ♦ mods be spending significant time in ordinary review queues?

On a site I review¹, I notice one or two of the ♦ mods (especially newly elected) seem to be spending a fair amount of time in the review queues (FP, LA, SE, LQP, CV, etc). But those queues are almost ...
14
votes
3answers
244 views

Best Practice for Answering A Question if You Aren't Confident in Your Answer

Hi all, if this is a duplicate, I sincerely apologize. I wasn't able to find it when I searched, but that doesn't mean much. There have been several occasions (this one for example) on SO where I ...
14
votes
4answers
155 views

Is it OK to put a link to SO questions in a program comments?

In quite some codebase you can see comments stating things like: // Workaround for defect 'xxx', (See bug 1434594 on Sun's bugparade) So I've got a few questions, but they're all related. Is it OK ...
13
votes
10answers
704 views

Adding someone else's answer to your own to make a better answer

If you have answered a question and then later read another answer that is also correct, or another way of doing it, is it good/fair/bad to edit your answer to incorporate the other answer, so there ...
13
votes
0answers
158 views

Forward progress answers

I recently read a question I found very interesting. It's here, if it matters I put some effort into helping the person get a good answer, and when I was done I had made forward progress on solving ...
12
votes
7answers
5k views

Why is linking bad?

I've seen many people refer to linking to pages on SO and even other sites as being bad and saying things like "I hope they don't mind". Why is linking a bad thing? I did just read all about Google ...
12
votes
2answers
255 views

Are good practices really that opinion based? [duplicate]

I asked this question and it was put on hold as opinion based in less than an hour. A few months ago, I asked another question about good practices and it got squashed quickly as well. I didn't ...
12
votes
1answer
193 views

Is flagging to close old questions best practice?

Related: How to get attention required to close old posts? Every once in a while, I stumble upon an old (usually subjective) question that would have been closed before it left the front page if it ...
12
votes
2answers
247 views

Under which circumstances should I delete my own question or answer

While I was searching through meta I've found several postings about deleting. How it works, who can do it and so on. But I never saw a comprehensive list, in which cases someone should delete their ...
11
votes
1answer
3k views

How to ask best practice questions?

Somewhat extension of: How can I ask a question that can be answered with a better approach? In a related question there was a comment saying it was possible to ask "concretly about pros and cons". ...
10
votes
5answers
425 views

Poor answers and accept rate [duplicate]

What's the recommended approach when you ask a question and you don't actually get valid answers? It'd normally leave the question as unanswered but, of course, that leads to getting a low acceptance ...
10
votes
3answers
187 views

What to do when people take your arguments and use them in their answers?

There are certain type of questions which typically generate multiple diverging answers in a relatively short time, all posted in the same time window. These questions, for example: What is the ...
10
votes
1answer
142 views

Linking to answers - possible “self promotion”?

Let's say a new question is posted, and I've answered that question before in depth. If I link to my answer in my comment, would that be considered "promoting" that answer - an attempt to gain more ...
8
votes
3answers
417 views

Are questions about best practices bad?

I was looking at asking for some help from the SO community in relation to best practices for ASP.NET MVC. I planned on making it a Community Wiki as well. But, when I was typing my title, I was told ...
8
votes
4answers
207 views

How do I write a good edit summary?

As a user, I don't often ask questions (in fact, I believe I have only asked two questions in total across the entire network, excluding meta). However I do a lot of answering, flagging, commenting ...
7
votes
5answers
160 views

Closing questions just because the OP knows the answer: good or bad?

It seems some think if an OP knows the answer to their own question, it should be closed as "Not a real question." I disagree. Here is an example. The OP posted some C# trivia. The question was ...
7
votes
2answers
130 views

How to approach a major grammar edit?

The text of this question is written with broken English and very little grammar. I understand it is completely acceptable for me to go in and edit specific grammar issues, but what are the rules ...
7
votes
1answer
103 views

Best practices for asking a question inside another thread

Is it considered bad form to post an answer inside another thread asking a related question to the OP's original question? Sometimes I would like to leave a question as a comment, but being a Stack ...
7
votes
1answer
313 views

How can I ask a question that can be answered with a better approach?

I asked this question: How can I retrieve JSONdata from ASP.NET and send it to jQuery? (implementing FullCalendar) The heart-breaking story is: I'm trying to implement the FullCalendar-jQuery-plugin ...
6
votes
3answers
689 views

Answering the 'actual question' as opposed to the 'real question'

I notice a lot of answers that are somewhat tangential to the question in hand, especially when the answer goes against best practice. For example, if somebody asks "Why can't I do something in my ...
6
votes
1answer
820 views

Syntax Highlight sometimes not working [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why isn't syntax highlighting working in a question? Why isn't code coloured as it should be? I do not get it. If you look at this answer, you can see that the ...
6
votes
2answers
117 views

Re-asking a question

There have been a few cases where I've asked a question on StackOverflow, and received a number of good responses which then made me realize that there was a much better/clearer/more concise way to to ...
6
votes
3answers
261 views

Acceptable to group together many answers into a new one, explaining when each is appropriate?

I read this question when only this answer was present. I knew of other answers, but since there are so many possible answers I chose to give several of them giving use cases for each (e.g. the first ...
6
votes
2answers
109 views

When should I avoid mentioning a seemingly relevant person or company by name?

The wording of this question on Cryptography Stack Exchange raises an interesting question on how to write questions (no pun intended): [...] the manufacturer of a RSA key generation gizmo ...
6
votes
2answers
250 views

Why is the best-practices tag not allowed on SO any more? [closed]

I have nothing to add to the title: Why is the [best-practices] tag not allowed on SO any more?
6
votes
5answers
277 views

Should pictures be linked to, or embedded?

What are the general guidelines on when to embed a picture in an answer and when to link it? F.e. If you post a pictured guide on how to solve a question, should you embed the pictures or just link ...
6
votes
2answers
392 views

Editing questions with short titles (< 15 char)

The minimum question title length was recently increased from 10 to 15 characters. Some older questions have titles that are considered too short under the new rules. These cannot be edited unless ...
6
votes
1answer
55 views

Should I edit tags of a question to what the answer consists of? [duplicate]

As an example, see this question. This is probably a bad example, but should I edit the question to include a tag like timespan, because it is relevant to the solution but did not get mentioned by ...
5
votes
7answers
858 views

What are some good tips for searching Stack Overflow?

I have found that the best way to search on Stack Overflow is to start to ask a question and use the suggestions it gives me. I do this since I have found the search textbox to be mostly useless. ...
5
votes
6answers
402 views

Comment conventions

This evening I commented on an answer before I left the office and later I found that I might have been too hasty in my efforts. It was pointed out to me, in a comment to my comment that I didnt ...
5
votes
2answers
977 views

Is there a convention for accepting my own answer to my own question?

I asked this question in SO. Non of the answers I got over time satisfied me, and it wasn't that important for me to start a bounty. Eventually I resolved the problem by myself, and it wasn't exactly ...
5
votes
3answers
197 views

How much time is too much to spend answering a question?

I'm getting frustrated when I'll spend 30 minutes writing and expanding upon an answer, only to have a worse answer get enough of a head-start that no one even reads past it. Most recently was on ...
5
votes
1answer
110 views

Is it bad behavior to edit and answer a question?

From time to time I notice questions that could be improved (in style, punctuation, clarity of thought, tags, etc.) But I also have the answer to them. I just feel wrong editing a question (even for ...
5
votes
1answer
343 views

When to ask multiple questions in a single post ? (Revisited) [duplicate]

This question has been asked several times in similar (yet often slightly different) ways. The general consensus seems to be that it's best to ask multiple questions individually in multiple Question ...
5
votes
1answer
108 views

Advice on linking to code repositories for examples

Please take a look at this answer to this question. In the answer, I am suggesting that the OP take a look at some code that exists in the Linux kernel to use as an example, in particular drivers/...
5
votes
3answers
170 views

What is the best way to update your status on a question?

When progress is made after asking a question I have been editing my original post and adding progress at the bottom. Is this the best practice or is there a better way? Would comments be better? -...
5
votes
0answers
128 views

Is it considered bad practice to create and accept a summary answer when a subjective split leads to two or more acceptable answers?

Over on http://english.stackexchange.com, I created a question that contained unintentionally polarizing subjectivity. Because of this, I am now faced with the possibility of siding with a single ...
4
votes
5answers
233 views

Why is using “What is the Best way to…” in questions often discouraged?

Of course I know the problems that could cause open question (infinite debate...). But the words "Best Practices" exist. I think it's ridiculous to blame people for asking what is the best way to do ...
4
votes
2answers
315 views

“You beat me to it!” comments

Can we stop doing this? It doesn't add anything other than clutter.
4
votes
2answers
190 views

What is the best way to learn new things on Stack Exchange?

I am trying to figure out the best way to learn new things on Stack Exchange, and ultimately design a study plan to help myself and others. To this end, I'd like to hear how others use these websites ...
4
votes
2answers
139 views

Should 'click' be used with <kbd>?

When denoting a key combination, for example Ctrl+Shift+click, should click be shown as a button as well for better readability? (as such: Ctrl+Shift+click)