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What is asking and answering questions?

The most basic privilege of all – the right to ask a question, and the right to contribute an answer. This is generally available to everyone, regardless of reputation level.

When should I ask a question?

Good questions are always welcome, provided you have done your homework first, and can share the results of your research with us.

When should I answer a question?

Whenever you feel you have something of value to contribute that legitimately answers the question in some way.

Please try to avoid providing "answers" that are:

  • requests for help, or another question entirely (which should generally be posted as a new question instead – as long as it's on-topic!)
  • "me too!"
  • duplicates of existing answers
  • requests for clarification about the question or another answer (which should be posted as comments instead)

Remember, if it's not an answer to the posted question, it does not belong among the answers!

What happens after I ask a question?

When you post a new question, other users will almost immediately see it and try to provide good answers. This often happens in a matter of minutes, so be sure to check back frequently when your question is still new for the best response.

If your question needs clarification or improvement, you will see comments in smaller type below your question. If other users ask you for more information in the comments, edit your question using the Edit link just below your original question. Providing clarification promptly will help get you the best answers.

As you see new answers to your question, vote up the helpful ones by clicking the upward pointing arrow to the left of the answer. Answers are normally sorted by vote score, so the most highly voted answers float to the top. Other users will also vote on the answers to your question.

When you have decided which answer is the most helpful to you, mark it as the accepted answer by clicking on the check mark to the left of the answer. This lets other people know that you have received a good answer to your question. Doing this is helpful because it shows other people that you're getting value from the community.