(Preliminary question: Is our FAQ editable at this point? If so:)

I have recently started being more active in reviewing. Mostly, of course, you review a new user's first questions, and are often called upon to comment to help familiarize the user with the site's operation and features. It is common to point the user to our FAQ for info on asking questions (I'm also quite enamored of this blog post by @PeterFlom: How to ask a statistics question, which does a good job of covering material not included in the FAQ).

Sometimes, however, I review a new user's first answer, and feel obliged to comment in an analogous manner. Unfortunately, there seems to be less available to point people to. You can still recommend reading the FAQ (it certainly doesn't hurt), but that information is more geared towards question askers, rather than answerers. Sometimes I think the about page might be helpful, if only because the figure can spark the idea that we don't simply want to help answer the OP's question, but that an ideal answer spans all four types of content / goals. Nonetheless, that page is pretty sparse, and not oriented towards informing new answerers about what makes for a good answer, etc. I am aware that there are some meta threads (both here, and on SO), and perhaps some SE blog posts, that are pertinent to answering questions well, but the mere fact that there are several means that that information is not centralized. In addition, they are not very accessible to someone who wants to throw out a quick (but hopefully helpful) comment.

Should we include such information in our FAQ? Can we? What should that / those sections contain?

Note that the following meta thread exists: What should our FAQ contain?, but I thought it better to ask a new and focused question, rather than add this idea to the list of old answers there.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Of note, @JeromyAnglim also posted some recommendations: How to Ask Me a Statistics Question. $\endgroup$
    – chl
    Sep 17 '12 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't know about that one. It looks good (no surprise there). Thanks, @chl. $\endgroup$ Sep 17 '12 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ Re the preliminary question: Moderators can edit the FAQ up to, but not beyond, the first expandable header ("What kind of questions should I not ask here?"). From that point on it's boilerplate supplied by SE systemwide. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Sep 18 '12 at 19:45
  • $\begingroup$ @whuber, that makes it sound like we're pretty limited here. We could petition the SE team, or add a short note about answering questions (say, a couple of sentences), but that's it. $\endgroup$ Sep 18 '12 at 20:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Take a look at meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7656/…. We could link to this from the FAQ if it would help. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Sep 18 '12 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ @whuber, if that's the best we can do, I would be in favor of a couple of sentences of intro & then linking to that post. There is good info there, especially in the first 2 answers, but it's more focused towards good SO answers than good CV answers, & there's potentially good info that isn't there. It wouldn't be my ideal solution. Another possibility, is we could ask another meta-CV question to have our own discussion about good answers here, & link to that. $\endgroup$ Sep 19 '12 at 2:13
  • $\begingroup$ That's a great idea, gung. Are you volunteering? :-). $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Sep 19 '12 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ See also meta.stats.stackexchange.com/questions/1479 - Actually about how to ask questions, but still FAQ material, although it may be a little narrow in it's current form. $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Nov 23 '12 at 7:50
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    $\begingroup$ @gung, now that we have the help center which addresses your question, maybe it would be a good idea to you answer your own thread linking to the help center. Moreover, this thread can remain for further recommendations about answering (maybe, in the feature it might be tag as "faq"). Just an idea to keep advancing with this thread. $\endgroup$ Sep 2 '13 at 15:39

Information on how questions might best be answered on CV has been compiled here: how-should-questions-be-answered-on-cross-validated, and this thread is linked in the help center here: on-topic.


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