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This is a Canonical Question / FAQ Candidate to help our users write better answers


Essentially, good answers come from good questions. Good answers also cite sources and summarize quotes.

Assuming a good question has been asked...the goal is to provide a useful, detailed answer (to any question).


How do I write a good answer on Sports SE?

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    Why did this get a downvote? A number of sites are making a post like this right now... – Aarthi Sep 6 '12 at 21:32
  • Not sure how to interpret the question here... Don't get me wrong I definitely welcome the discussion and appreciate the effort, but not sure what it says as a meta question? Are we supposed to chip in and fill in the blanks, a la community wiki? – posdef Sep 6 '12 at 21:37
  • @posdef You know these sites are driven by the community. We determine the standard in writing good questions and answers (through downvotes, comments, and flags)...so let's define the "unwritten" standard. – user527 Sep 6 '12 at 22:52
  • @posdef "chip in and fill in the blanks, a la community wiki?" Yes. – user527 Sep 6 '12 at 22:53
  • For starters a good answer is informative, detailed and backed up with some reliable reference. – posdef Sep 10 '12 at 5:35
  • That's a start. What are examples of and considered informative and detailed? Is a reliable reference a source, an expert, etc? Are links/quotes/etc. from the reference supplemental or dominate the answer? – user527 Sep 10 '12 at 15:08
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A good answer on Sports Stack Exchange creates unique, direct value. Consider the following while answering a user's question:

  • Is it concise? Extra words distract from the point.
  • Is it properly formatted? Leverage your answer to create proper emphasis.
  • Is it supported by "authority?" Back up claims by referencing sources. This is particularly important when discussing rules.
  • Can I provide a unique perspective? Add something new. If you have insight to add to another user's answer, consider doing so in a comment.
  • Can I share my personal experience(s)? Expertise shines through.

Original Response

People who care about our sites should be focusing on writing great answers that make the internet a truly better place.

SE Podcast #37

Solving the asker's curiousity isn't enough. A great answer creates unique, direct value that can't really be found anywhere else.

Common characteristics of great answers:

  • Concise. Extra words distract from the point.
  • Formatting. Leverage it to create proper emphasis.
  • Supported by Authority. Back up claims by referencing an authority. This is particularly important when discussing rules.
  • Unique Perspective. Add something new that no one else is talking about.
  • Experience. Expertise shines through. Share pearls of wisdom from personal experience.
  • Wonderful. Although this would go beyond sports specifically, it catches a majority of what we want to capture for answers on Sports SE. Thanks for your time and contributions. – user527 Dec 6 '12 at 14:22
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I'm going to answer with a link to an example.

https://sports.stackexchange.com/a/877/496

I'm not trying to blow my own trumpet at all here but this is the answer I have posted which so far I am happiest with. I feel like I answered the original question, went above the asker's effort expectation and backed everything up with facts.

If I was to state my definition of a good answer I would just cite the answer I posted there.

As with everything here though - I will listen to all arguments for and against.

  • I have that chip on my shoulder as well. This answer took about four hours of research and another two hours to construct it. Answers will vary. Your answer is not a typical answer, but is a great example of an exceptional one. Typically, it does not (and should not) take much time to write an adequate answer. – user527 Sep 10 '12 at 15:16
  • @edmastermind29 - I had not seen that answer. It's quality and certainly not deserving of so few votes. – Ste Sep 10 '12 at 15:18
  • Perhaps we can build a list of adequate examples (above and beyond and typical alike). Then, describe commonalities among them. – user527 Sep 10 '12 at 15:26

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