Ever had a burning question about the technology you use, and didn’t know the answer?
We all have, at some point. You might have turned to the Internet looking for the solution, but ultimately didn’t find the answer you need. There’s a better way.
MakeUseOf Answers is a bit like Yahoo Answers, but with one key difference. The people who answer your question are the same people who write for us, and truly know their stuff. If they can’t help you, nobody can.
But here’s the kicker.
We only publish a small portion of the questions we get asked. Only the best written, most coherent, most novel questions get published. We hope to be your last, best shot at solving your technological puzzles. So, how does Answers work, and how can you get your question published?
Asking A Question
Asking a question is easier than you think.
First thing’s first, you need to navigate to our question form and fill it out. Remember to use lots of detail, and to use a valid email address. Questions with an invalid email address will be rejected.
Then, click submit, and wait for one of our editors to read it. Then, one of two things will happen. They’ll either reject it, and you’ll be sent an email with tips that’ll increase the chance of your next question being answered.
Or, it’ll be published on MakeUseOf Answers, and our staff of writers (and selected contributors) will do their best to give you the answer you need.
At this point, you might be wondering how you can improve your odds of getting your question published. Here are some helpful pointers.
The first rule of Answers is “the more information, the better”. The more detailed you make your question, the easier it is to answer, and therefore the greater chance it’ll be published.
So, what do I mean by detail? Well, to illustrate my point: is the issue with your phone? Or is it with your iPhone 5c running iOS 8? Are you having problems with your laptop, or with your Toshiba Satellite L50 running Windows 8.1?
You get the idea. Detail is key. Be precise, and try and tell us as much as you can. Even the most unlikely information can help us solve your problem.
When you ask a question, it isn’t automatically published. It goes to a person who checks it, edits it, and ultimately publishes it.
As a result, write for a person. Don’t, for example, use texting shorthand. Try to ensure that you’ve checked your spelling, and that you’re explaining your problem in the simplest, clearest terms.
We’re not expecting Pulitzer quality writing, but we do want to be able to read it, and we do expect full sentences.
We’re all about tough, challenging questions at MakeUseOf. The more novel, the better.
That means that if it’s been answered elsewhere, either on a blog or on a different Q&A website, we’re not going to be able to help you. Before you ask your question, try googling it first.
There are some common problems that we simply won’t answer. These are mainly about resetting social network and email account passwords. But don’t worry. That’s because we’ve either answered them before, or have published articles about those topics.
Fill In All The Fields
When you ask a question on MakeUseOf Answers, you fill in a short form. Here, it’s crucial that all parts are filled in with the appropriate information. And again, in full sentences.
If you put “none” in response to “what steps have you taken so far”, your question will be rejected.
Similarly, if you answer “Everything” to that question, your question will be rejected. To hammer the point home, you need to be expressive, accurate and detailed.
Consider The Type Of Response You Want.
Whether looking for advice, or help, it’s always useful to think about the response you wish to get. If you don’t want a “yes or no” answer, don’t ask a “yes or no” question. Answers Editor Bruce Epper says:
If you ask “Can you set up an email server?” the answer is an emphatic “Yes!” as I have done so dozens of times.
“Can I” and “How do I” are two very different questions, and will produce two very different answers.
Similarly, if you’re looking for a “best” recommendation, think about what “Best” means to you. Fastest hardware benchmark performance, lowest price, specific feature set, etc.
Ask Me About Answers
These are just five helpful tips that’ll improve your odds of getting published on Answers.
As the Answers Manager, I’m here to help. If you have any questions or queries, please drop them in the comments below and we’ll chat.
Photo Credit: I H8 Txt Spk (Rachel Carter)