Difference between revisions of "User:Tepples/Stack Exchange"

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(Answering: Yes, these warnings sound scary; I'll try to tone that down. There is a rate limit before the post ban so as not to bite the newcomers quite so much. Edited posts don't carry near the stigma that I had thought when I started on SO.)
(Answering: Is it about avoiding having to contact the team?)
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And due to [[wikipedia:IPv4 address exhaustion|IPv4 address exhaustion]], users in some countries are behind [[wikipedia:carrier-grade NAT|carrier-grade NAT]].
 
And due to [[wikipedia:IPv4 address exhaustion|IPv4 address exhaustion]], users in some countries are behind [[wikipedia:carrier-grade NAT|carrier-grade NAT]].
 
A user who ends up with the same public IP address as a user with a post ban<ref>Stefano Sanfilippo. "[https://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/267025/is-it-a-good-idea-to-have-an-ip-level-question-ban Is it a good idea to have an IP-level question ban?]". ''Meta Stack Overflow'', 2014-07-29. Accessed 2014-12-23.</ref> might even have to pay extra to the ISP for a dedicated IP address in order to avoid the limit of one post per week imposed by the "Anti-Recidivism System".<ref>Grace Note. "[http://modnewsletter.stackexchange.com/2014/05/may-2014-newsletter/ May 2014 Newsletter]". ''Stack Exchange Community Moderator Blog'', 2014-05-13. Accessed 2014-12-23.</ref>
 
A user who ends up with the same public IP address as a user with a post ban<ref>Stefano Sanfilippo. "[https://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/267025/is-it-a-good-idea-to-have-an-ip-level-question-ban Is it a good idea to have an IP-level question ban?]". ''Meta Stack Overflow'', 2014-07-29. Accessed 2014-12-23.</ref> might even have to pay extra to the ISP for a dedicated IP address in order to avoid the limit of one post per week imposed by the "Anti-Recidivism System".<ref>Grace Note. "[http://modnewsletter.stackexchange.com/2014/05/may-2014-newsletter/ May 2014 Newsletter]". ''Stack Exchange Community Moderator Blog'', 2014-05-13. Accessed 2014-12-23.</ref>
It used to be worse; the rate limit wasn't added until October 2014, and new users would head straight into the post ban with several questions that cannot be salvaged.
+
It used to be worse; the rate limit wasn't added until October 2014, and new users would head straight into the post ban with several questions that cannot be salvaged,
 +
though users in this situation can contact the team for assistance.<ref>BoltClock. "[https://meta.stackoverflow.com/a/280876/2738262 Answer to What should an user do when he's in a question ban with unsalvageable questions?]". ''Meta Stack Overflow'', 2014-12-21. Accessed 2015-05-10.</ref>
  
 
It's wise to answer before you ask.<ref>NReilingh. "[http://meta.music.stackexchange.com/a/333/13519 Answer to Why is my post about getting a music producing software off topic?]" ''Music: Practice & Theory Meta Stack Exchange'', 2012-04-07. Accessed 2015-03-29.</ref>
 
It's wise to answer before you ask.<ref>NReilingh. "[http://meta.music.stackexchange.com/a/333/13519 Answer to Why is my post about getting a music producing software off topic?]" ''Music: Practice & Theory Meta Stack Exchange'', 2012-04-07. Accessed 2015-03-29.</ref>

Revision as of 15:23, 10 May 2015

Stack Exchange is a family of question and answer web sites. Like a role-playing video game, Stack Exchange sites give experience points that unlock additional abilities for users that the system has learned to trust. But just as some people need a walkthrough to get through video games, some people may need a walkthrough to get over reputation humps in Stack Exchange. Here's how to get started.

Sign up with OpenID

Creating an account on a Stack Exchange site gives you 1 reputation.

You can't earn reputation anonymously. To get started on Stack Exchange, first log in to your account on Ubuntu.com, AOL, Google, or another OpenID or OpenID Connect provider. But if you don't have any, Stack Exchange has itself become an OpenID provider; you can sign up with your e-mail and password. Then find a Stack Exchange site that interests you and follow the "sign up" link at the top. Specify your OpenID identity and follow the prompts, and unless your IP address is in a bad neighborhood, you'll have a new account with 1 reputation point. If you want to ask or answer on multiple SE sites, make sure to use the same OpenID when signing up on each so that you'll receive notifications and an association bonus. If you have multiple OpenID identifiers, you can add them all to your Stack Exchange account, and you can log into each. Associating more than one identifier with your account also helps you keep your hard-earned reputation if your OpenID provider shuts down, as myOpenID and Hyves did, or if a site stops being a provider.

Edit five posts

Like a wiki, a Stack Exchange site lets all registered users edit other users' posts. Each suggested edit to a question or answer must be approved by the post's owner or by two or three other users with high reputation. Getting five edits accepted will give you 11 reputation.

Some questions and answers require citing sources. These could be links to the research used in forming a question or answer or links to related questions on Stack Exchange. To be able to post more than two external links in a question or and answer, you'll first have to build up at least 10 reputation points to earn the privilege to cite more than two sources in a post. If you just start posting without citing sources, you may end up getting your questions and answers downvoted for violation of the Back It Up! guideline. Being able to cite more sources is a 10-point privilege everywhere but Skeptics Stack Exchange because in the past, spammers have "cited" products that they want to advertise. This limit is lifted on Skeptics because its format cites sources more rigorously than that of most other SE sites.[1] But on other sites, it still frustrates new users.[2] One workaround when posting your first answer is to cite sources using something other than clickable hyperlinks. Cite the title, author, website name, and other information sufficient to locate each source in plain text. This should help readers locate a particular page even after the site reorganizes its URLs. Then after you receive a couple upvotes, go back and add the links.

Posting images is also a 10-point privilege, and if a question actually requires an image in order to be useful and clear, not having enough reputation to post an image may result in downvotes and a question ban.[3]

To earn this privilege, along with the 5-point privilege to ask for clarifications of the site's scope and norms, find five different posts (questions or answers) with errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics, or minor errors in fact, and edit these posts while logged in to your account. But be careful not to change the meaning of a post. When you edit a post, you'll see the Markdown source code that makes it up, and in most browsers, you'll get a real-time preview of how the post will be rendered. If moderators or high-reputation users accept your edits as improvements, you'll get two points for each. While you wait for the moderators to evaluate your edits, consider reading the resources in the Help Center, particularly how Markdown formatting works, what makes a good question or answer, and what is on-topic for each SE site. So long as you don't try more than five edits per week before three-fourths of your edits are helpful,[4] suggested edits can be a useful tool to learn Markdown and community expectations.

In addition to reputation, each site awards badges for positive contributions. By this point, you should have earned Excavator, which the site gives for improving a months-old question or answer.

Tags

Now you can find tags that interest you to make the site your own.

After you have signed up, you can start finding questions in your area of expertise. Browse the site's front page, then look at the "Questions" and "Unanswered" areas. Each question has one to five "tags" describing topics related to the question. If you set one or more tags as your favorite, questions in those tags will be highlighted on the front page, giving you an idea of what to look at first. Finding tags to watch will help you get over the 50 reputation hump faster.

One way to learn a site's available tags while earning easy reputation is to participate in tag cleanup. Before you can participate in a child meta site, you can still read it and look for questions requesting tag cleanup. For example, Meta Stack Overflow has the retag-request and burninate-request tags. Each tag cleanup question names a tag that should be removed from many posts, and the tag's name is usually a hyperlink to a list of questions using that tag. Some questions list alternate tags that you can edit into a post; for others, you can find alternatives among the tags already on other questions with that tag.

Answering

Give complete answers to unanswered questions and earn 10 points for each user who finds them useful.

You'll have to be careful when you start out. If your first few posts are not well received, you'll run into a rate limit that blocks you from posting new questions or answers for several days. This rate limit keeps people from repeatedly posting while not biting newcomers who just "got off on the wrong foot." It gives new users a chance to cool down, RTFM, and prove that they can become positive contributors.[5][6]

Some but not all Stack Exchange sites[7] also automatically place an indefinite ban on accounts that continue to provide poorly received questions or answers despite the rate limit. Though one or two bad answers will not trigger a ban,[8] three have,[9] and downvoted questions count even more if deleted.[10] And due to IPv4 address exhaustion, users in some countries are behind carrier-grade NAT. A user who ends up with the same public IP address as a user with a post ban[11] might even have to pay extra to the ISP for a dedicated IP address in order to avoid the limit of one post per week imposed by the "Anti-Recidivism System".[12] It used to be worse; the rate limit wasn't added until October 2014, and new users would head straight into the post ban with several questions that cannot be salvaged, though users in this situation can contact the team for assistance.[13]

It's wise to answer before you ask.[14]

Until you have built up at least 50 reputation, you will not be able to ask for clarification of a question. Posting comments on others' questions is a 50-point privilege because it too has been abused. So instead, you'll have to camp the site's "Unanswered" stream, which lists questions without an answer that another user has upvoted, to find a question in your area of expertise that you can answer without any clarification.

You could just take your best guess at interpreting an ambiguous question and answer that, but that's risky. If you guess wrong, the asker might edit the question to clarify why your answer isn't the desired one, and your answer might get downvoted for not answering the revised question. Though "question morphing" is officially discouraged,[15] it still happens.[16][17] You can try to reduce its effect by restating the question in your own words and then answering that restatement, as seen in this answer.

On fast-moving sites such as Stack Overflow, you will also need to watch for the "fastest gun in the west" (FGITW), a phenomenon that occurs with easy, clear questions where other users beat you to answering a particular question, and then your answer gets downvoted for being a duplicate answer. In some cases, you can post the outline of your answer and then flesh it out over the next few minutes. For example, on Stack Overflow, you could post a complete answer in prose, open your IDE, make some working code, and edit it into your answer. Even if someone beats you, you can edit an alternate approach to solving the problem into your answer to distinguish it from other answers. You can also avoid FGITW effects entirely by answering one of the more specialized questions that fill the "Unanswered" page.

The threat of misinterpreting or being late can in some cases make earning your first 50 reputation harder. But once you earn and keep 200 reputation on one site, you'll earn an "association bonus" that provides comment privileges on all SE sites.

Asking

Asking questions also gives you reputation: 5 points for each person who finds a question interesting, on-topic, and clear.

The attention of people answering questions is a limited resource on any SE site, so don't flood the front page. In general, don't try asking more than a question every few days until you've already asked a few questions on the same site that were well-received by the community. Otherwise, you'll run into rate limits and question bans.

Make sure to read over what's on topic on each site, and look at its meta site to see why questions get downvoted. And make sure to show the results of your research before you got stuck. In some cases, this too can be limited by the reputation requirement to cite sources.

Security

HTTPS does not work consistently across Stack Exchange because of Stack Exchange's use of fourth-level domains with a variable part other than the first (meta.*.stackexchange.com and chat.*.stackexchange.com). The HTTPS Everywhere plug-in for Firefox successfully secures all subject Q&A sites, Meta Stack Exchange, and the child meta of subject Q&A sites that have their own domain (Super User, Stack Overflow, Server Fault, and Ask Ubuntu). But you can't log in to child meta sites that lack their own domain (Worldbuilding Meta, Programmers Meta, etc.), and you can't participate in chat. To log in to a child meta (which requires 5 reputation), you can temporarily disable HTTPS Everywhere, log in, and immediately reenable HTTPS Everywhere. But to participate in chat (which requires 20 reputation), you'll have to leave HTTPS Everywhere turned off, as the chat periodically checks to see that the user is still logged in. This leaves you vulnerable to use of Nevan King's Firesheep rule for Stack Overflow on those sites.

References

  1. Konrad Rudolph. "Answer to Remove number of links restriction for new users". Skeptics Stack Exchange, 2012-04-20. Accessed 2014-10-29.
  2. Randy. "Why so many hurdles?. Meta Stack Exchange, 2013-06-24. Accessed 2014-12-23.
  3. Slightly Not Average et al. "I cannot ask questions on Stack Overflow even after I edited my questions. What do I do?" Meta Stack Overflow, 2014-05-13. Accessed 2014-11-11.
  4. Waffles. "Answer to Too many of your edits were rejected, try again in 7 days editing". Meta Stack Exchange, 2011-05-23. Accessed 2014-11-12.
  5. Tim Post. "[What is the reasoning behind limiting “recidivists” to post one question per week?]". Meta Stack Exchange, 2014-10-14. Accessed 2015-05-06.
  6. Tim Post. "Answer to My account been banned from asking questions, how can I delete my account?". Meta Stack Overflow, 2014-10-14. Accessed 2015-05-06.
  7. kiamlaluno et al. "Are question/answer bans implemented in Stack Exchange 2.0 sites?". Meta Stack Exchange, 2012-10-22. Accessed 2015-01-04.
  8. "Why are answers no longer being accepted from my account?". Accessed 2014-11-19.
  9. iharob, George Stocker. "Why am I banned from answering in stackoverflow?". Meta Stack Overflow, 2014-11-17. Accessed 2014-11-19.
  10. Tim Post. "Warned about ban from asking - is deleting old “0 votes” questions a good idea?". Meta Super User, 2014-08-20. Accessed 2015-01-03.
  11. Stefano Sanfilippo. "Is it a good idea to have an IP-level question ban?". Meta Stack Overflow, 2014-07-29. Accessed 2014-12-23.
  12. Grace Note. "May 2014 Newsletter". Stack Exchange Community Moderator Blog, 2014-05-13. Accessed 2014-12-23.
  13. BoltClock. "Answer to What should an user do when he's in a question ban with unsalvageable questions?". Meta Stack Overflow, 2014-12-21. Accessed 2015-05-10.
  14. NReilingh. "Answer to Why is my post about getting a music producing software off topic?" Music: Practice & Theory Meta Stack Exchange, 2012-04-07. Accessed 2015-03-29.
  15. Isaac Moses. Answer to Policy regarding changing questions after a period of time? Mi Yodeya, 2012-07-05. Accessed 2014-10-24.
  16. Simon O'Hanlon et al. "Edits that do not change the meaning of the original post but invalidate posted answers". Meta Stack Overflow, 2014-09-15. Accessed 2014-10-26.
  17. Slanec. "Correct answer became incorrect after a question edit, what now?". Meta Stack Exchange, 2012-05-01. Accessed 2014-10-28.