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I had to get used to the different way this Q&A site works. I also see many people using it the way they use a forum (as they both look a bit the same). Should we provide users with a primer when they create an account?

Things that I have seen go wrong are:

  • people use the answer buttom to actually respond to other messages (without providing a new answer to the question)
  • people do not "accept" an answer, even though it solved their problem. This way the question stays on the unanswered list. It also makes it hard for people with the same question to get the right answer.
  • some people also respond to a correct answer with a new answer (instead of a comment) and then "accept" that answer, which will make it hard for people with the same question to get the right answer.

(are there more things that do not follow the unwritten rules of this Q&A site?)

What do you think?

UPDATE : I posted a separate Question which shows more clearly how should be used... (it's kind of an addition to the FAQ, please read it :-)

asked 17 Sep '10, 11:18

SYN-bit's gravatar image

SYN-bit ♦♦
accept rate: 20%

edited 04 Feb '11, 15:07


Maybe we should use this question to provide examples of good and bad habits. Do you mind if I edit the question/title?

(17 Sep '10, 12:36) Gerald Combs ♦♦

Not at all, lets make my question a living "document" :-)

(17 Sep '10, 13:27) SYN-bit ♦♦

Oooh! Can I do the "bad examples?" He he...

(17 Sep '10, 14:09) lchappell ♦

@lchappell Be my guest.

(17 Sep '10, 14:34) Gerald Combs ♦♦

I added a new question (look for apples ;-)) that gives an axample on how this site works...

Gerald, could you use the input from this question to enhance the FAQ and refer to my other question as an example?

(23 Sep '10, 08:21) SYN-bit ♦♦

I agree Sake - in fact, I'm not sure if this should be an answer or a comment... <g>

It bugs me that "unanswered" does not show "unanswered" questions, but all questions that do not have an "accepted" answer.

In addition, the default of "active" gives the impression there are no recent questions and will bring up "viral fluff" to the top.

Those points aside, I think we definitely need to do a primer - I started putting together a short video, but a simple doc should be available when accounts are set up. Here are some suggested topics:

  1. Finding answers already posted
  2. Asking a question - get the best results (e.g., provide x details)
  3. How/why you should accept answers that help you
  4. When to use Answer vs. Comment
  5. Proper question tagging
  6. Change your notification and subscription settings
  7. Setting your Gravatar
  8. We do need those stinkin' badges? <g>
  9. Why is that question listed as "unanswered?"

Just some ideas of topics to cover... I admit, it is similar enough to a forum to cause confusion.


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answered 17 Sep '10, 11:58

lchappell's gravatar image

lchappell ♦
accept rate: 8%

p.s. There is an OSQA User Guide at - could we point folks there when they set up a new account?

(17 Sep '10, 12:01) lchappell ♦

I think a video or blog post would be really helpful. Let me know if you need any help.

(17 Sep '10, 15:02) Gerald Combs ♦♦

The unanswered behaviour is correct. The asker of the question is the one who decides if the answer was indeed suitable, not others. It was his question after all.

(22 Nov '10, 10:19) chiggsy

Obviously it is not always clear to new visitors, how ask.wireshark works.

Should it be a good idea to show a popup, when people want to ask or answer a question?

Please take a look at stackoverflow.
When you want to ask a question, you are redirected to How to Ask.
You can't proceed without checking the box "thanks, I will keep these tips in mind when asking"

When you want to answer a question, you get this popup:

Your Answer
Thanks for contributing an answer to Stack Overflow!

Please make sure you answer the question; this is a Q&A site, not a discussion forum.

Provide details and share your research. Avoid statements based solely on opinion; only make statements you can back up with an appropriate reference, or personal experiences.

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answered 24 Jul '11, 07:48

joke's gravatar image

accept rate: 9%

I think the big thing that may not be obvious if you're used to traditional web forums is this:

Answers move around.

They move up and down depending on votes so that helpful information can move to the top. If you use and "answer" to reply to another answer or make a comment or otherwise assume they're time-descending, things can get confused very quickly.

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answered 17 Sep '10, 14:33

Gerald%20Combs's gravatar image

Gerald Combs ♦♦
accept rate: 24%


This one time I found a can of tuna that was dented.

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answered 17 Sep '10, 14:35

Test%20user%202's gravatar image

Test user 2 ♦
accept rate: 0%


This is off topic and is an example of a bad answer. Please downvote.

(17 Sep '10, 14:36) Test user 2 ♦

Not a bad idea, I for one wasn't too sure how to handle certain situations. For example, since comment field is limited (in # of char) I've had to use the Answer field in once case. And I still don't no who voted for what (good answer, etc.)

(21 Nov '10, 21:28) hansangb

Oops: I apparently I marked this as the "answer" when I meant to do a downvote.

I wonder how to "unaccept" this as the answer....

(11 Aug '11, 21:13) Bill Meier ♦♦

Answer: Just click the "accept" again,....

(11 Aug '11, 21:14) Bill Meier ♦♦
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question asked: 17 Sep '10, 11:18

question was seen: 6,686 times

last updated: 11 Aug '11, 21:14

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