If the goal of stack* sites are to become a FAQ; why not to allow an user to be able to post tutorials and associate a list of possible questions to it?


2 Answers 2


When a question gets asked many, many times, we will often ask a users to create an awesome, canonical answer so that all the numerous duplicate questions can finally, once and for all, be referred to the one canonical answer.


But posting a tutorial is a bit awkward in this Q&A format. I don't think it will go over that well, in and of itself. Perhaps it would be better to provide the best possible answer to the question; if that included also linking to a tutorial appearing elsewhere on the web, that would be kindly regarded as all the more helpful. But the answer should reside in the text of the message.

As for "faking" a question as an excuse for posting something; it is certainly allowed, but how it is received depends on the context. If you have a helpful answer to a problem you have actually faced, it might be seen as helpful. But if you were to create a tutorial and forced a question to point to it, that could be construed more along the lines of spam and might not be received as well. The guideline I would use is to make sure the content is very organic to the site. It's best to wait for the occasion of answering an actual question, but failing that opportunity, make sure your faked question part of a long line of otherwise useful contributions to the site.

  • This makes sense to me. Do you have any links to SO questions that have been merged into a single canonical answer? (A canonical canonical answer in other words.) Commented Feb 10, 2011 at 15:04
  • @Kirk Kuykendall: Nothing specific I can find at the moment. I know this was recently a big issue on Server Fault, where users were sick of the same few questions being asked over and over, so they developed a set of canonical answers to those questions. See, for example, this discussion Commented Feb 10, 2011 at 17:34

One downside of tutorials is that they take a lot of space so other answers can't be seen. It is just as useful to post a tutorial on a blog and link to it where relevant.

Also tutorials are more general and often not suited to specific questions. If it is a relevant answer to a question then I don't see why it wouldn't be allowed.

  • +1 I prefer a concise answer that highlights the key idea(s) that led to the solution over a tutorial style (do this, then that, then...). Here is an example that I think balances step-by-step with key ideas, while this one is definitely too long. And, full disclosure, I sometimes tend to be too wordy myself. Commented Feb 11, 2011 at 0:17
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    I just stumbled across Spatial Analysis Online. spatialanalysisonline.com/output Despite its name, it doesn't really offer spatial analysis. However it is a good site edited by experts. If they would provide finer-grained urls to their topics it seems like their content could be driven by Q&A topics from gis.se. Perhaps a hybrid of knol and wikipedia. Commented Feb 14, 2011 at 18:15

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