How to provide good answers?
· How to provide good answers?
Giving good answers is a foundation of TibiaQA. The correct answer can help not only the person asking the question, but also any next users, who in the future will be looking for questions about their problem. Therefore, it is one of the most crucial parts of the fansite. Before you jump to answering, read the existing answers first! Check if someone has already provided an answer to the question that was asked.
Before posting an answer
- Ponder: If you are not going to provide additional or complementary feedback to the question that was posted, then there might not be a need to answer; you can also upvote the question(s) that answered what you were about to instead
- Comments: Sometimes it is also a nice and a useful gesture to use the comments section to indicate to a person how they can improve their answer; for example, if you see that they already put a good level of detail into it and they forgot to add something, if they made a small mistake in a long and elaborated post worth keeping as a main reference, etc.
- Answer!: However, if you have the impression that the answers available did not include the necessary level of detail, that they were badly formulated, if they are incorrect, or of course if there was no reply or you feel you can provide a much more valuable answer, you are very welcome to post your own answer!
And if you don't know the answer... simply don't answer! Sounds really obvious, but it is one of the most common mistakes. TibiaQA is not a forum - treat it like a wiki. Don't post if you are not sure of your answer.
Make sure, that your answer fully solves the problem presented in the question. Avoid short, brief answers. Instead of simple "yes" or "no" try to discuss the topic in more detail, present an argumentation why you have such an opinion. You can give some examples to better illustrate the problem. Use information from proper sources, like official, supported and promoted fansites. Rumors or your friend’s words, unfortunately, are not enough to be sure that the answer is correct. If it’s possible to add links to the sources, to give others wider insight to the topic.
Below you will find some points to guide you on how to write a good answer. Some are crucial, however, not all of them need to fit necessarily in one answer. Use them wisely to write the best answer ever!
- Structure: Provide all the information you know about the topic in a structured manner (you can divide your content in sections, use bullet points, etc.)
- Content: You should look for a good compromise and balance between elaboration, quality and quantity
- Elaboration: Dedicate the time necessary to elaborate with a good level of detail and care, and to expand on your idea
- Quality: On top of elaborating, try to bring into the explanation the key information: focus on quality; avoid redundancies, and try to find the right words
- Quantity: Try to not write too much, just the right amount of information for the people to understand the answer and the context. Manage the quantity of information that is provided
- Completeness: If you decide to post an answer yourself, try to make sure that it's complete. If there are other, incomplete answers, and you only post a part that is not covered yet, you are making your answer incomplete too. Imagine that no other answers exist. It's just the question and your answer. If you see that the existing answer is very close to being complete, commenting under that answer or editing it is probably a better choice (see also How to approach incomplete answers?)
- Examples: If it fits, you can use examples to help understand how to achieve what was asked
- Research: Do not hesitate to do further research before providing an answer, even if you believe you know it for sure: you might find complementary information, or you might even discover that what you thought you knew was different
- Sources: If you have used information from other websites or fansites, always cite your sources. On the other hand, make sure that your answer is not just a link to an external resource. Links are not yet answers. They are just pointers to a resource that might contain an answer. Linking to a trusted source like another fansite or the official Tibia website gives your answer additional credibility.
- Revision: Once you’ve written your answer down, take your time to re-read it from beginning to end. Sometimes you might even feel to rewrite or rework it to capture your idea best!
- Edition: Don't be afraid to edit your answer later on. Sometimes after some hours, we find that word we were looking for or a much better way to express what we were trying to say in the first place. Additionally, even if English is your first language, nowadays we have many corrector tools to help you correct typos and other errors. That shows effort in writing up your answer and will make it more understandable
- Disclaimer: When you feel your answer might be misunderstood and you need to provide contextual information, but you don't want to pollute the answer with these peripheral clarifications, you can use a disclaimer with italics. Try to make it succinct
- Use the editing tools: Bullet points, colours, underlines… There are many tools available that can help you with the structure of your answer. A better structure helps others to understand much better the information that you present! However, do not make overuse of the tools, as that might trivialize their purpose and confuse the readers!
- Use pictures: Do not hesitate to use pictures to complement your idea. A picture is worth a thousand words! You can also use tables, formulas, or any other resources that you think will help
- Be nice: Remember that there’s no player that knows everything! Always be respectful.
What makes a good answer? [Meta TibiaQA]
How to properly attribute the work of other fansites? [Meta TibiaQA]
How to approach incomplete answers? [Meta TibiaQA]