Questions tagged [faq]

These posts are your quick guide to the what, how, where, and when of the Stack Exchange network.

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1872 votes
7 answers
603k views

What is the XY problem?

What is the XY problem? When asking questions, how do I recognize when I'm falling into it? How do I avoid it? Return to FAQ index
1835 votes
0 answers
113k views

FAQ for Stack Exchange sites

Community FAQ For sites in the Stack Exchange 2.0 network To see a list of commonly used words and phrases, see the glossary. For official guidance from Stack Exchange, visit the Help Center. Asking ...
1099 votes
1 answer
498k views

How does accepting an answer work?

What does it mean to accept an answer? How do I accept an answer, and what are the rules? Can I accept my own self-answer? What are the reputation benefits? Which answer should I accept? Should I ...
1032 votes
1 answer
104k views

What are "Community Wiki" posts?

Some questions and answers are marked Community Wiki and are owned by a community wiki user: (In fact, this very question is one of them) Why have Community Wiki posts? How do Community Wiki posts ...
862 votes
75 answers
183k views

The Many Memes of Meta

Catchphrases and concepts that spread from person to person are known as memes, which, courtesy the Internet, can now explode across the Earth like a highly contagious virus (hence "going viral&...
836 votes
1 answer
20k views

What does "user was removed" mean and why did my reputation change because of it?

Message appearing when a user was removed. It seems I lost 1765 reputation points on Stack Overflow yesterday. The reason given in my history is "removed", with the description of "...
823 votes
9 answers
46k views

What are the badges I can earn on each site, and what are the exact criteria for earning each badge?

Formerly List of all badges with full descriptions. What are badge name's requirements? Why didn't I get badge name (right now)? Which badges can I earn multiple times? Jump to: Question Badges ...
798 votes
14 answers
75k views

Recent feature changes to Stack Exchange

This is an unofficial list/changelog of new features and various changes to Stack Overflow and the Stack Exchange network. It is maintained by the community, while a Stack Exchange employee changes ...
755 votes
1 answer
135k views

Which tools and technologies are used to build the Stack Exchange Network?

What tools and technologies are used to build the Stack Exchange Network? See also: Which tools and technologies are used to build Data Explorer? Return to FAQ index
716 votes
1 answer
44k views

How do I get attention for one of my own questions without a good answer?

I asked a question almost as soon as I got my account. I got a few decent answers, but none of them helped solve my problem. The question has long since become buried by newer questions, and there's ...
674 votes
1 answer
129k views

How do comment @replies work?

How do the comment replies (aka "pinging users") work? Who can I send an @reply to? How do I respond to a specific user when entering my comment? Will they be notified? What do people mean ...
661 votes
1 answer
51k views

What is the association bonus, and how does it work?

I was just awarded +100 reputation on all of my Stack Exchange accounts. What is this bonus for? It simply says "Association Bonus" on my reputation overview. Also: What privileges does the ...
643 votes
8 answers
376k views

Are answers that just contain links elsewhere really "good answers"?

I have often wondered at the practice on Stack Overflow, Server Fault, and the other sites where someone will ask a question and an answer will come in that says "Look here: https://link ...
592 votes
1 answer
67k views

How does the bounty system work?

It's possible to offer and award bounties of reputation on questions. What is a bounty? How can I find questions that have a bounty attached? How do I start a bounty? When can I start a bounty? Why ...
584 votes
1 answer
109k views

What is syntax highlighting and how does it work?

I noticed that sometimes my code gets highlighted in different colors when rendered. What is syntax highlighting? How does it work? Why isn't my code being highlighted correctly? How do I report a ...
575 votes
1 answer
82k views

How does "Reputation" work?

On Stack Exchange, users may gain a certain level of reputation. What does reputation do? How can a user gain or lose reputation? See also What is reputation? How do I earn (and lose) it? in the ...
572 votes
1 answer
29k views

What is serial voting and how does it affect me?

I just noticed that I lost a bunch of points from my reputation score, and I used the "reputation" tab on my user profile page to try and track down the cause. During my investigation, I noticed ...
515 votes
1 answer
272k views

What HTML tags are allowed on Stack Exchange sites?

Stack Exchange sites use Markdown for questions and answers. Per the Markdown specification, intermixing HTML and Markdown tags is allowed, but not all the HTML tags are allowed, to avoid XSS. Which ...
504 votes
1 answer
89k views

How does deleting work? What can cause a post to be deleted, and what does that actually mean? What are the criteria for deletion?

What circumstances can cause a question or answer to be deleted, and what does that actually mean? How can a post be deleted? When can't I delete my own post? Can I still see my post even after it's ...
481 votes
5 answers
39k views

Is cross-posting a question on multiple Stack Exchange sites permitted if the question is on-topic for each site?

It is possible to migrate a question from one Stack Exchange site to another by closing, but if I have a question that I think is on-topic for multiple Stack Exchange sites, is it OK to post it on ...
452 votes
1 answer
22k views

A site (or scraper) is copying content from Stack Exchange. What should I do?

Since day one of Stack Overflow, all content posted on Stack Exchange sites by their users (i.e. you wonderful people) has been provided to the whole universe under the CC BY-SA license. For my fellow ...
424 votes
5 answers
17k views

What is a 'rollback'?

What is a 'rollback' on Stack Exchange sites? I have seen this mentioned but I do not understand the term. Please note: this question has been locked as it was used as a sandbox for performing ...
420 votes
1 answer
31k views

Which computer science / programming Stack Exchange sites do I post on?

There seems to be more than a few computer science/programming Stack Exchange sites. Stack Overflow, being the first, has by far the most users, questions, and answers. What is the reasoning for ...
392 votes
1 answer
8k views

What is a disputed flag?

In my flagging summary under the statistics, there is 1 flag listed as "disputed". This is the first time I've ever seen a disputed flag in my summary, so I'm just curious, what is a disputed flag? ...
379 votes
1 answer
267k views

How do I format my code blocks?

How do I post text so that it is formatted as code? What do I need to do so that my code shows up properly — not escaped or removed — when posted? And how to get the correct syntax ...
357 votes
2 answers
95k views

Database schema documentation for the public data dump and SEDE

Stack Exchange releases "data dumps" of all its publicly available content roughly every three months via archive.org, and also makes that information queryable over the Internet at the Stack Exchange ...
357 votes
1 answer
12k views

What are review tests (audits) and how do they work?

I recently received this rather amusing message while reviewing a user's first post: Congratulations! This was only a test, designed to make sure you were paying attention. This post has already been ...
342 votes
1 answer
74k views

Why do I need 50 reputation to comment? What can I do instead?

Users with less than 50 reputation points cannot write comments on questions and answers that they don't own. Why does this limit exist? But I want to contribute now. What should I do instead? But I ...
330 votes
5 answers
160k views

How do I write a good title?

A good title helps your question get the attention it deserves. What goes into a good title? Return to FAQ index
324 votes
1 answer
16k views

The Complete Rate-Limiting Guide

I noticed that I can only perform certain actions such as commenting a finite number of times in a given period of time. Obviously, rate limiting is in place to prevent accidental misuse or ...
307 votes
2 answers
37k views

Should questions include "tags" in their titles?

I've seen questions edited to remove the language name from the title. Won't search engines - and folks using search engines - have an easier time finding them if these "tags" are kept as ...
303 votes
2 answers
30k views

What are the “spam” and “rude or abusive” (offensive) flags, and how do they work?

When flagging, there are two special case options: spam and rude or abusive. What is spam, and when should I flag content as such? What is considered offensive, rude or abusive content? How does the ...
301 votes
1 answer
42k views

How do suggested edits work?

When clicking "edit" I see: Your edit will be placed in a queue until it is peer reviewed. We welcome edits that make the post easier to understand and more valuable for readers. Because ...
298 votes
3 answers
49k views

Can I answer my own questions, even if I knew the answer before asking?

I might want to answer my own question because: I arrived at a solution before there were any other correct answers or I like mine better, can I still answer my own question? I have a folder with ...
291 votes
6 answers
98k views

Do I have to worry about copyright issues for code posted on Stack Overflow?

I was wondering about the copyright of code snippets from answers. Let's say you ask a question and the solution consists of ten lines of code, which are given in an answer. Are there any restrictions ...
284 votes
1 answer
24k views

Do posts have to be in English on Stack Exchange?

Otherwise known as 必须用英语吗?(is English required?) ¿Necesito hablar en inglés? ?האם אני חייב לכתוב באנגלית Muss ich auf Englisch schreiben? Do I have to use English when posting a question, an answer ...
284 votes
2 answers
15k views

Stack Exchange Glossary - Dictionary of Commonly-Used Terms

What are the common phrases, words, abbreviations that are used on Stack Overflow, Server Fault, Super User, Meta Stack Overflow, and the other Stack Exchange sites? This is meant to be a very quick ...
276 votes
1 answer
31k views

How should duplicate questions be handled?

What should I do when I see a question that is a duplicate of another one? Should I answer it? Should I downvote it? Should I comment? Should I edit the question to indicate it's a duplicate? If I ...
273 votes
1 answer
85k views

How can I delete my account?

How can I delete my Stack Exchange account(s)? Also, What happens to my content? Can I request it be deleted as well? What if I'm suspended, rate-limited, or banned from posting questions or answers? ...
273 votes
1 answer
131k views

What can I do when getting "We are no longer accepting questions/answers from this account"?

If you are reading this, you may have been affected by one of our post quality bans. If so, it is important that you read the following information to understand what has happened and how to regain ...
268 votes
5 answers
15k views

How do I audit my reputation?

If I am concerned that my reputation score is incorrect, how can I audit it, or get a report of a detailed breakdown of my reputation? Return to FAQ index
268 votes
1 answer
43k views

How do question bookmarks work?

What does bookmarking a question mean? How do you bookmark a question? Do users get updates on their bookmarked questions? Are my bookmarks publicly visible? How do you see your own bookmarks? How do ...
255 votes
1 answer
98k views

Is Stack Exchange / Stack Overflow available for private or internal use?

Is the Stack Exchange engine that powers Stack Overflow available to download or install internally for an enterprise or company? I think Stack Exchange's engine is very great and could be very cool ...
250 votes
1 answer
21k views

What are the review queues, and how do they work?

I see a "review" link on the top of the page, which takes me to a few "review queues". What is a "review queue"? What are the various queues for? What can I do in each queue? Return to FAQ index
247 votes
1 answer
11k views

What are the limits on how I can cast, change, and retract votes?

What limits are there on how I can vote? How often can I vote? How do my votes become locked/unlocked? Return to FAQ index
245 votes
4 answers
51k views

How do I contact other users?

How can I contact another user, if that user has not specified any contact details in their profile? Return to FAQ index
240 votes
13 answers
28k views

Embrace the non-Googlers

There seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to "easy" questions that involve quickly answering by copy/pasting embarrassing links to lmgtfy.com (or similar responses in comments, which aren't downvotable) ...
225 votes
4 answers
74k views

How is the default user avatar generated?

Is there a name for the default avatars that are generated for users who do not assign one themselves? Not the avatar of the blank user, but the one made up of shards, shapes, and colours: Is ...
219 votes
1 answer
51k views

Which browsers are officially supported, and what else do I need?

Which browsers are officially supported by Stack Exchange? Also, what else is needed in order to use every feature of the site? Return to FAQ index
214 votes
3 answers
9k views

What is the etiquette for modifying posts?

I'm getting pretty close to the reputation where I can start to edit others' posts, and I'm wondering what the etiquette for when (and when not) to do so. I figure that I should edit in the following ...