How to Ask a Question
The Answers feature helps you to grow a community of experts around your site by empowering users to help each other with their projects. All information on Answers is collaboratively edited by the community (private or public) and administrators. If a user asks an interesting question or writes a useful answer, other people can categorize the question or edit the original text to add clarity. The goal of Answers is to build a database of solutions that is useful for years to come. This is a general overview to help get you started with the features and benefits of using Answers. The Answers layout, by default, sorts posts by recent activity. On Answers, the title, category, and latest action on a Question are visible at a glance.
Here's an example:
All How-To Guides
Get around Answers by clicking the tabs and links along the top of the page. These tabs help you to see the most recently active posts, search specific categories of Answers, and view questions you are subscribed to. Easily find questions using the search field, or view which questions are the most helpful or need responses using the buttons on the right side of the menu.
You can even see all users on Answers and which posts require moderation using the Members and Moderation links on the right side. You can find a more in-depth description of these navigation tools in the guide below.
You can ask a question from three locations:
- From the home page of Answers
- From a category page
- From a step-by-step guide
Before asking a question, search to make sure a similar question has not already been answered. If it's your first time asking a question, you will be greeted with some tips to help make your question perfect.
On some forms of Answers, you may check a box to make a question a Discussion Topic. Discussion topics are useful when a question does not have a direct answer. This makes the exchange more like a traditional forum post. Members still receive reputation from votes, and scores are still displayed, but the default display shows posts sorted by date, rather than by score. Additionally, the original poster may not accept an answer.
Question Follow Up
Other site users can post an Answer or Comment on your question to help find a solution. You can contribute by answering other users' Questions as well!
When you ask a Question, you are automatically subscribed to receive notifications when an Answer or Comment is posted for your Question.
You can elect to receive notifications about other Questions on the site as well by subscribing to those Questions using the guide below:
Site moderation goes a lot better when there is collaboration involved.
Moderation is accessed by selecting Moderate from the Options menu on a question, comment, or answer.
Off-topic questions should be removed, while weak but relevant questions should be edited by the community to increase their pertinence. If questions are voted on as soon as they come in, it increases the likelihood of a positive result for the poster and prevents backlogs.
If a new question doesn't have enough information to be answerable, do something about it! Try asking the poster for more information. If that doesn't work, the community should vote to take appropriate action.
Follow the guide below to learn about the different moderation options.
Just like users from the community can submit votes on Questions, users can also submit moderations votes on Answers.
The original poster of the Question has supreme power for moderating Answers to their question and can bypass community voting to moderate Answers submitted for their Question and select the chosen Solution for their problem or question.
Moderators and administrators can accept answers on behalf of the original poster, but this should almost never be done. In the past, we have seen votes to accept answers where it was not clear that the answer solved the poster's question. You should be cautious when forcing an answer to be accepted because it has a very specific meaning. Questions can be easily cleared out of the unresolved queue by just up-ticking answers. You should only force accept answers when it is clear that the poster's issue has been resolved, and that person didn't understand that they needed to click "accept."
Follow the guide below to learn about all moderation options for Answers:
The Moderator Votes page allows administrators to view all pending votes from Answers. Since admins can decide to pass or fail any vote, this page makes it easy to quickly go through and approve or deny pending votes.
Should I Decide to Pass or Fail a Vote?
If you're an administrator, you have the authority to decide whether a vote passes or fails. Sometimes it is hard to determine whether or not to pass a vote. A post may have some signs of spam within it, but also contain valuable information, making it unclear whether the poster was trying to spam or not. In this case, removing a post as spam would fine the author 100 reputation points. Another option would be to edit the post, remove the spam, and send the poster a message regarding spam.
For more information, check out Moderating Answers.