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Some assorted thoughts and principles:

  • Questions are underappreciated. Everyone wants to reward answers, few admire a good question.
  • It’s fine to ask an ‘easy’ or ‘basic’ question, as long as it’s focused, coherent and not a duplicate.
  • The best questions are atomic, focused on a single problem. The worst questions are those that require untangling several layers of confusion.
  • If the question asked about X, the answer should be about X. Even if the question falls victim to the XY problem, you should still explain why X is a poor solution to Y.
  • Researched answers are better than speculative answers. Cite standards. Cite the source code. Cite papers. Cite historical evidence. Don’t just go by your memory or gut instinct.
  • Beware of experiments. Just because something worked for you once doesn’t mean it will keep working when the environment changes. You must understand how the experiment depends on the experimental conditions before drawing conclusions from the results.
  • The best answer is often the one with the fewest downvotes, not the most upvotes.
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