Recently, some questions have arisen about why questions are closed. This is intended to give an overview from the moderators as to...
How to Answer Questions
Give an Answer
Constructive answers meet a few general criteria. They:
- Tell us something useful in response to the question.
- Offer support for the claims being made. (see Good Subjective, Bad Subjective)
- Include assumptions, biases, or shortcomings of the answer as well.
Answers don't have to be perfect, or answer every piece of the question. In fact, it's completely okay to answer a part, or to come from another view point so long as it helps to steer the asker in the right direction, and you keep the above criteria in mind.
Many times, answers are posted that have the bare minimum number of words and a link. If that link disappears (as is likely to happen given time), we're left with very little information. Links that support your answer are great, but the answer itself should contain the context in which the link is relevant.
Vote for @Pedro [and Comment Too!]
If another user posts an answer that you find helpful, vote that answer up. If the answer isn't helpful, then don't vote for it, or, if it's plain bad advise, vote the answer down. Comments are a great source of help for letting readers know about your views; others may not be so knowledgable to know why an answer is good or bad, but telling others how you voted can help them come to a better understanding. "+1 for XYZ" can be a huge help in determining a helpful answer.
Trouble Comes in Pairs
Chances are at some point you'll find a user asking a question you want an answer to as well. You can help the community and the asker by researching the answer as well. If it's still something you can't find, you can invest in the question by offering a bounty to draw more attention to the question.
Keep it Clean, Clear, and Under Control
When you're writing your own answers, aside from the general criteria for content, make sure you:
- Format your answers for readability (use headings, bullet points, and paragraph breaks!)
- Use proper (or at least understandable) grammar.
- Spell to the best of your abilities (using spellcheck if necessary, please!)
- Punctuate! (At the very least, correct spaces and sentence markers)
Answers that can be easily read and understood tend to get accepted and voted up more often than questions with poor grammar, poor punctuation, and poor spelling. The easier it is to read, the easier it is to understand.
Finally, and most importantly, be nice to everyone and have fun. This site is about improving our understanding of Martial Arts; we're all, after all, students. We can disagree and raise concerns while still remaining civil. There shouldn't be anything on this site at which anyone might take offense.
My answer got down voted and nobody posted a reason why! Why don't you enforce this?
Quite simply, we can't. Down voting is not personal; the community may be viewing the answer as dangerous, incorrect, or lacking effort. While it's generally considered good manners to explain the reasoning for a vote (up or down), it's not required nor is it enforced.
Do I have to have experience in the art to provide an answer?
This is not so simple to answer. For an answer to be "Good Subjective" [assuming the question can not be answered with verifiable fact], we generally expect the answer to be grounded in personal experience. If a user is asking about making a technique work, and you use a similar technique in your art, you may be able to shed light on why they are having difficulty. However, if your answer, for instance, violates the rules of the sport, you may receive down votes.