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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
  • me too!
  • duplicates of existing answers
  • another question entirely
  • requests for clarification from the question asker

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, 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 box outline 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. (If you don't do this, people will often politely ask you to go back and accept answers for more of your questions!)

Expanded usercards

When anyone is viewing your usercard on a question, an answer, or on the users list, they may hover over your avatar to produce an expanded usercard that contains extra information. This is also known as a hover card.

Comparison of normal usercard and expanded usercard

An expanded usercard is only available if there are at least 6 characters in the "About Me" section of your profile. When your profile is long enough to show an expanded usercard a drop shadow effect will be shown on your avatar.

Image of drop shadow versus normal

What information is shown on the expanded usercard?

Your expanded usercard will show the following information:

  • A larger resolution of your avatar
  • Your display name linked to your profile
  • Your reputation and badges
  • Your Location, if you have entered one on your profile
  • A link to your Website, if you have entered one on your profile
  • Your About Me section. Up to the first 298 characters will be displayed as the meat of your expanded usercard. HTML links and linebreaks/paragraphs will be rendered, but not formatting such as bold.
  • Any additional HTML links will be displayed and linked at the bottom of the expanded usercard. This does not repeat any links that are already shown in the previous part.

If you don't want the exact text of your About Me section there (such as it is too long and gets cut off, or because the formatting is weird), then you may use a summary comment using the following syntax:

<!-- summary: [your text here] -->

Replace [your text here] with your desired summary (of at least 28 characters), and that will be placed on your expanded usercard in place of your About Me section. Note that because it is an HTML comment, you cannot use any HTML such as for links. The spaces before and after summary: and before the closing --> are required to use a summary.

What if I don't want an expanded usercard to show?

If you have a long profile About Me, but don't want there to be an expanded usercard for any reason, you can use the summary comment with an insufficiently long passage to render your profile as "too short" for display. For example, the following will be considered too short.

<!-- summary: &nbsp; -->