I wrote these five guidelines in a few minutes so they can surely be improved. :) Make your suggestions, also about points I might have forgotten.


Some guidelines on how to write a proper post (answer or question):

  1. Always include context, details, background. There is a question body so you can elaborate on the "title/question" in order to be more specific and clear about what you're asking. Providing info, not only reduces the risk of down-voting, but it also improves the chances of having a proper answer. The better the question, the better the answers!

  2. Write appropriately and use the correct formatting. This means use capitals letters and punctuation when it's required, also use the blockquotes for quotes and not the code-field, which exists to write code. A well-written question/answer is one of the steps of attracting better answers or upvotes too. Also, avoid writing a huge single paragraph. Five small paragraphs are more readable than a huge single one.

  3. Don't write links like "this" or "here". Choose a wording where the text-link is the title of the document you're linking; specify when it's an image, for those who have slow connections.

  4. If possible, include a reference. Stackexchange sites are about definite, objective answers and not about opinions, (that's why we have the "subjective question" close vote), so providing reference, you're assuring the OP and the readers that what you say is true and backed up.

  5. Avoid one-line answers. It might be correct, but an answer made by a single sentence is not that informative. A bit of elaboration is very useful for the reader.

  6. Be kind to other users. If you're writing a question, remember that you're asking to be helped, so make sure to show your appreciation to the ones who answer by being kind. If you're answering, instead, don't attack the OP and don't be aggressive. It won't bring any good to the site. Like they say "Treat others as you wish to be treated".

Last, but not least, look at this page on how to ask a question properly: "Writing the perfect question".

Ideas? Questions? Doubts?

  • This question has been posted here instead of the FAQ.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 23:43

2 Answers 2


I would also suggest something about the attitude to other users. The Stack Exchange network is a great system for exchanging information with beginners and experts around the world. Users should take the opportunity to learn and help others learn.

A little piece of advice: be kind to other users. If someone points out some mistake in your question or suggests an improvement, don't take that as an offense. Try to understand what they are saying and edit the question, if necessary. Use the comments section to ask for clarification or to politely disagree.

  • I was thinking... I added it because it's a good point you make, but it's too general. I mean, it doesn't refer strictly to how to post properly... how do we include it in the post-writing-how-to? :D
    – Alenanno
    Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 11:02
  • I corrected it. :D
    – Alenanno
    Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 16:45
  • @Alenanno, I couldn't express myself better :-) Commented Dec 31, 2011 at 12:29

It looks like a good set of guidelines. I think a point about writing answers is that the writer should try to strike a balance between answering the questions directly and writing an answer that is supported by current research.

Ideally, a question will have a simple and direct answer which is relevant to recent research, but some questions are not directly relevant to current research. In this case an answer writer will want to choose between answering the question exactly as it is, or answering a slightly different but related question for which there is a clear line of research.

I would suggest the latter approach for two reasons. First, answer writers benefit from writing answers if they can get practice synthesizing current research into a clear non-technical presentation; and second, such an answer might be more useful to the original question poster by making him/her aware of issues that weren't considered when first composing the question. Of course, if a question does have a direct answer grounded in current research, then there is no rationale for subtly shifting the focus in an answer.

  • Thank you for writing! I'm not sure I understood what you wrote, though... Are you only talking about writing not too technical or write technical also including some plain explanation?
    – Alenanno
    Commented Dec 31, 2011 at 17:47
  • The issue that I am trying to bring up is that an answer should be relevant and direct, but should also be well-researched. Some questions are not directly relevant to current research questions in linguistics, so an answer writer will want to choose between answering the question exactly as it is, or answering a slightly different but related question for which there is a clear line of research.
    – user483
    Commented Dec 31, 2011 at 21:26
  • Can you make a simple wording for that in your answer? Thank you!
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jan 1, 2012 at 13:33
  • Sorry for the late feedback! Anyway, I don't exactly understand the wording. Do you mean that between "answer the question directly" vs "answer the question talking about a different line of research but that is more consolidated"?
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 18:10
  • I added the list to the FAQ; when I understand and we write your proposal, I'll add it. :)
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jan 15, 2012 at 11:48
  • Hi, I'm traveling for the next two weeks, I'll update when I get back.
    – user483
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 3:23
  • Have a safe trip! :)
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 9:43

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