How to Post an Answer to Community Q&A

If you see a question on the Community Q&A and think you can provide an answer, please do! This short guideline is intended so your answer can be more helpful.


Read and answer the question

This might be obvious, but your reply should answer the question. Before posting a reply, make sure:

  • you understand the question, and
  • answer the question or provide an alternative.

Questions can be indeed written poorly or lacking relevant details. If you are not interested in the topic, ignore the question. If you are, you can either:

  • solicit more information from the original poster with feedback on how to improve the question, or
  • guess or make assumptions and attempt an answer anyway. When you do, please state them clearly in your reply.

Indeed, state clearly the disclaimers of your solution, be it assumptions you make, limitations, or side-effects.

You don’t need to repeat everything that has been said before. Complement your answer with reference material be it books, user manuals, or web resources (links). In any case, provide a summary to any material you are referencing to. Bare links are not interesting at best and suspicious at worst.

For web resources, there’s a valid concern that they might become unavailable in the future. To guard against this, you can quote the most important points of the resources and post them in your reply.

Be constructive

If you’re questioning the purpose of the question, state that in your reply but also provide an explanation or an alternative. In other words, if your answer includes “don’t do that” or “why would you do that?” complement it with “because…”, “do this instead…”, or “why don’t you do this instead…”.

The community also provides a guideline to ask a question in a better way. But there would be questions that asked poorly. There might be a learning curve in writing a good question. If you do a see a subpar question (vague, lacking relevant details, etc.) on a topic that interests you, you can post feedback on how to improve it.

Use proper formatting

You can include relevant blocks of codes, maths, or links in your reply to improve your answer. If you do, please use the proper formatting. Check out this guide for help.

Check your spelling and grammar

As many of us are not native English speakers, it might be prudent to write things in simple English. But please do check your spelling and grammar to avoid confusion. Finally, try to avoid using too many slangs and jargons.

Be nice

People often post questions in frustration. A thing or two might also get lost in translation. But please find a way to be constructive in providing an answer. You can express your disagreement with certain behavior without being disagreeable yourself. If you read something that has indeed crossed the line, do flag the post and walk away.