When looking for a link to give to someone new to the site about what kind of answers we look for I noticed the FAQ talks a lot about how to ask good questions but not about good answers.

Kind of a strange omission since it's actually good answers that folks are after. Even stranger that it took me 18 months to notice!

I wonder if it would be useful to have a series of before and after examples to show. For example:

Q: Where can i find Yak migration data?

Poor A: Yakyaka.com has a ton of great data, have you tried there?

Better A: Yakyaka.com has an archive going back to 1764, though the period from 1812-1855 is a bit sketchy. For quick overview of the holdings see the [online map viewer] and the raw .csv and shapefiles are on their [ftp site]. Note the data is free but commercial use requires permission (usually easily granted).

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    Sounds good to me. How do we go about updating the FAQ? Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 4:05
  • Along those lines, the FAQ examples and screenshots are from the Bicycles.se site, can these also be tailored to GIS.se? Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 19:51
  • Mods can edit only the first section of the FAQ, which is the text spanning (but not including) "What kind of questions can I ask here?" and "Please look around to see if your question has been asked before...". Changing anything else might require a system-wide modification! I have added the feature-request tag to see whether we can get someone from SE to weigh in.
    – whuber
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 21:47
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    @ChadCooper what examples and screenshots are you referring to? Thanks for mentioning Bicycles.se, I hadn't run into it yet. They have an interesting take on how to build a terminology page which might be worth emulating. Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 18:06
  • @mattwilkie - look at the How to ask questions here section for a bicyles screenshot. Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 14:13
  • The FAQ link has for many years redirected to the Tour so, while the intent of this question is important, I think its text needs to be heavily revised.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 22:32

1 Answer 1


The new help center page now addresses answering.

How do I write a good answer? section is a start link one can provide for new users.

Additionally, we might consider building a GIS Meta thread with specific guidelines to improve answering on GIS SE.

How to answer on GIS SE?

We already started this with questions:

What makes a good question?

As these kind of threads become mature, they can evolve to a FAQ status.
For example, in Cross Validated Meta, there are specific how to ask and how to answer threads.

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