What Quora Users Can Learn From the Stack Overflow FAQ

After browsing through a few questions on Quora, I realized I was looking at Stack Overflow for non-programmers. Both Quora and Stack Overflow try to bubble up the best answers to a question, based on other users’ votes.  Stack Overflow has been around a couple of years; and techies have been using less sophisticated versions of the idea (bulletin boards with reputation levels) for as long as I can remember.

Will the community-driven Q&A model work across other, less objective, disciplines?  Or will the good questions and answers — the ones that actually help people solve a problem — be drowned out by open-ended philosophical discussions?

Quora goes some way toward addressing what decent questions and answers are here.  But I think the best guide to Quora is the Stack Overflow FAQ.  Their guidelines are short, to the point and apply to everyone, programmer or not.  Some highlights:

  • look around to see if your question has already been asked
  • ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face
  • avoid asking subjective questions
  • be honest

The full FAQ has plenty of other good advice.  Let me know what you think.