12,063,909 members (64,564 online)
It's a simple system that allows you to ask questions and receive answers. It's very similar to our current message boards but it has been tuned specifically to make it easier to spot the best answer to a given question, and to allow you to search and browse for answers to questions.
This system is different from our message boards in a number of ways.
Most importantly, questions and their answers are presented in a flat list (BBS style) instead of a threaded format. This is in keeping with more traditional Question and Answer style boards and helps emphasise working towards getting the best answer. However - we still provide a threaded discussion at the end of each question to allow clarification or rambling discussions.
We've also moved back to our old forum's voting system, whereby questions and answers can be voted on a scale instead of just good/bad. We tried to encourage members to vote Good question / bad question but it never really worked. We strongly believe that life works in shades of grey.
We have also worked to integrate this Questions and Answers system into our main content system. When searching for content on the site you no longer need to search the forums then search the articles: you can now search from a single location and have all the results appear in one spot.
By moving to a flat-format we've also been able to offer different options for viewing answers: order by the top answers or order by the latest answers. If there are more answers than will fit on a page then you can page through and still keep the original question in view.
We also now allow anyone with sufficient reputation to edit any question or answer. By moving our Question and Answer system into our main content infrastructure we automatically gain versioning, rollback, and the ability for any member of sufficient level to edit the questions and answers. Think a question is poorly worded? Then edit it! Not only does this help others answer it, it adds to your reputation.
A great side-benefit of our system is that we now support snippets and tips n' tricks. Got a small tip or piece of code that doesn't warrant an article? Post it as a Tip & Trick!
Finally, you will notice that there is now only one message board for questions and answers. We will keep the discussion-oriented boards open such as the Lounge, but everything else will be merged into one board (a long awaited goal!) which means no more cross posting, no more hunting around forums, and no more questions posted in the wrong forum. To ensure you don't get swamped we make it easy to set your filters so you see only those topics in which you are interested.
Because it's overdue. 4 years ago we started experimenting with different ways in which our forums could better serve the community. We tried flat (BBS) style forums, different voting systems, child forums or a single forum with filters (a system we built into our article content management system early).
Around a year ago we toyed with the idea of using our article content system as a replacement for our forum system, and once we had in place enough of the pieces for the article system (different articles types such as Technical blogs, versioning, editing permissions and parent-child article relationships) it all fell into place very easily.
Our forums just weren't well suited for targeted questions and answers. Discussion threads are difficult to follow and finding the best, or at least a good, answer was much harder than needed. Our forums are great for conversation threads so we're keeping the Lounge, Soapbox and other discussion-based forums.
A few simple rules when posting your question.
First, select "Post a Question" from the green tile on the home page.
Next, enter your question or "subject." Make sure to that your subject is between 20 and 250 characters, and between 3 and 50 words.
Then, begin typing your related tags in the subject field. If existing tags are related to what you begin to enter, a dropdown will appear with those tags which you can select from.
If you have question typed in another program and want to cut and paste it into the window, make note of the options below.
Questions provide the option to "accept" an answer. Only the author has this ability. This is done by clicking the "Accept Solution" button. The author also has the option to undo this operation. Though multiple solutions can be accepted we recommend choosing as few as possible. By far the most common scenario is to have one accepted solution. But this depends, entirely, on the nature of the question.
We strongly encourage authors to choose an accepted solution as often as possible. Of course, assuming such a solution exists. When an solution is designated as accepted its header is highlighted in green. It also appears at the top of the "Top Rated" tab.
Sometimes we get so deep into a problem that we lose the ability to describe it in a way other people can understand. It's OK. If members are commenting on your question, saying they do not understand your query or need more information, please use the "Improve question" option in the bottom-right corner. Please excuse our members curtness in the comments. This is a common problem we see in the hundreds on a daily basis and our volunteers on the Quick Answers fields are battle-weary. Please do not re-post or bump your question. If you approach other members with unending politeness and improve your question earnestly the world will be a better place.
The ability to edit posts is dependent on your levels for specific reputation types. The following describes one or more levels and a set of associated reputation types. You have edit permission if you are the author or if you match all the levels with any one of the associated reputation types. We're still fine-tuning these rules so they may be tweaked.silver
The ability to delete entries in Quick Answers is dependent on your member type[^]. In order to delete entries in Quick Answers you must be either a Subeditor[^], Protector[^], Editor[^] or Admin[^]. We're still fine-tuning these rules so they may be tweaked. You can find all privileges such as deleting questions or answers at the Member Privileges page[^]
A tag that is "closed" can no longer be used to tag new questions. Only members with sufficient reputation are able to close tags. A tag may be closed for any of the following reasons:
Reputation is something you gain - or lose - as you contribute to our communal knowledge base. Posting an article increases your reputation, but posting a bad article that other members down- vote decreases your reputation. If your goal is to increase your reputation then write good articles, vote for other good articles, hope that others in turn vote for your articles, and help out by organising and cleaning up the questions and answers. Vote them up, answer questions, or edit questions and answers that need a little help.
Full details can be on the Reputation system page.
The ability to create new tags depends on your reputation. Specifically, if you have the reputation level for any of the reputation types described below, you can create tags (if this is unclear see the Reputation system page for more info). We're still fine-tuning these rules so they may be tweaked.silver
Currently you can only "accept" answers posted by other members. Stay tuned.