Tips for providing Great Answers

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Chris Allingham

Staff member
Here are some excerpts from tips posted by GarenT, a moderator from HP's consumer products forums, for providing great answers to other members. I think these work the same here on TVWBB, too.



Part of being in the community here is helping other people. Here are some great tips that will provide some ideas to use when you are answering questions. We love having you as part of our community forum and hope to have you participate and help answer questions.

Be Nice
Try to keep a friendly tone and refrain from making personal attacks. Absolutely no flaming. We are building a community and while we don't all have to agree on topics, we do need to keep things civil and polite.

Be Patient
Try to remember that even though the answer may be obvious to you, it may not be obvious to others. It is even possible that your intermediate steps may not be obvious - you may need to break them down as well. Even though you may feel an answer has been provided, you may need to show how friendly you can be by providing further help if required.

And depending on the frustration the original poster is having, you may have to be extra patient and friendly with them.

Read The Question
Make sure you understand what the poster is asking before posting a reply. Read the question carefully and give it some thought. Explicitly state any assumptions you make. If you don't understand a question, it's OK to ask for clarification (nicely.) Sometimes people make mistakes, and you can point those out to them. But it's important not to assume that the poster is incompetent.

Read The Answers
Sometimes you'll come upon a question to which you know the answer, but the question has already been answered. What to do? You should always read the existing answer and think about it. If it's a great answer, you might just move along. But if the answer omits some important details, you might reply and add the missing information. If you think the answer is wrong, you can reply and say so -- nicely. The important thing is to read the whole thread before getting involved.

Admit When You Are Guessing
Nobody knows everything. There are even some things which no one knows. If somebody asks a hard question, it's OK to guess at an answer. But please, please, let them know when you're guessing.

DejaVu All Over Again
If you know that the question has already been answered in another thread, politely direct the original poster to that thread or suggest a search phrase that that can use with the search facility.
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