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What makes a good Answer?

Bridget Community Manager Feb 18, 2020

To kick off the conversation in this Group, I'd like to hear from YOU, the seasoned Answerer, about what you think makes an A+ Answer. 

Feel free to post examples of Answers you've written/admire! 

21 comments

Thanks @Bridget for inviting me.

A good answer is one that gets to the point quickly. Allowing for further information from the 'Asker' if they want it.

Q: What time is it?

A: Its 1053am

The answer did not include a question e.g. 'well that depends on where you are'.

Let the person who is asking that question solve that next section of the algorithm themselves.

I have tried to use this discipline in this answer @Bridget 

Did I succeed? :)

Thanks

Like # people like this
Bridget Community Manager Feb 18, 2020

Welcome, @PJ

Bonus points for posting the first Answer in the Answerers Group!

I LOVE the logic in your tip. The asker would surely followup up with, "What time zone are you in?" and hopefully would learn their lesson and be sure to ask a complete question next time. 

Perhaps we need an "Atlassian Askers" Group as well! ;) 

Like # people like this
David Willson Community Leader Mar 22, 2020

That makes sense if the person knows about 'time zones', in this case it is trivial, but I have to say establishing context is critical to answering a question. The reason? new users "don't know what they don't know", and might not know to ask 'what timezone'.

As a ACE leader and someone who is introducing Atlassian to new people and my company plus teaching concepts and best practices that go with it, new users don't alot.

Also, they know exactly how other tools do the things they want, and they want Atlassian products to work exactly the tools they know. I would strongly encourage Answer's to ask lots of follow up questions to gain the context for a clear answer.

Like # people like this

What makes a good answer? then I would say a good question.
example - 
Two friends meet at the Theater.
A- Hey what are you doing in a theater?
B- Hey I am playing cricket in the theater! Obviously I came to watch a movie.
What a question it is! It's called silly type questions.
That's why I said a Good question makes a good answer.

Hope you like it! @Bridget 

Like # people like this
Bridget Community Manager Feb 20, 2020

LOVE that! So true. Ok - so as an Answerer, what do you look for in question?? 

David Willson Community Leader Mar 22, 2020

Are there any tools for users to increase the quality of their questions?

What makes a good answer?

Then I must say first you need to address the question that was asked.

Then the answer should be very clear and pretty relevant to the question that was asked.

Good answers are helpful to both the original asker and to anyone else who has the same question.

@Bridget 

I hope so my answer is also relevant to the question.

Like # people like this
Bridget Community Manager Feb 20, 2020

Yes! Answered like a true expert :) Nice one, @Kiran Jadhav 

Dominic Lagger Community Leader Feb 19, 2020

Hi All,

I agree with all the answers above, but because we are the Atlassian Answerer and not the questioners group :), we don't have any influence on the questions. So, for me, a good answer has to be a little bit polite. That means a simple hello and a simple goodbye. 

I also like to answer with pictures and with useful sources as links.
And I like links connected with a text, not as a long link. 

And to cope with my own demands, I wish you all an awesome day :) 

Regards, Dominic

Like # people like this
Bridget Community Manager Feb 20, 2020

a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words-quote-1.jpg:)

Like # people like this

Hello,

- Time : Quick answer after the questions was posted

- Clear : The user must understand the answer given by the answerer

- Tone : Propose than order

- Outlook (optional) : Go further than the original question

-----> (: Feel the smile within the answer :) <-----

Like # people like this
Bridget Community Manager Feb 20, 2020

@Richard Bouchacourt are you sure you don't work for the Atlassian brand team?! You hit the nail on the head with this one. I definitely feel the smile! 

Like Richard Bouchacourt likes this

Hello everyone,

I suggest including a link to the relevant page(s) of the support docs. In many cases users with questions are not familiar with the 'correct' terminology, so their googling does not give them the answer they are looking for.

All the best

James

Like # people like this
Bridget Community Manager Feb 20, 2020

Spot on. So many question askers are just confused about the terminology that Atlassian enthusiasts are so comfortable with! 

Hi,

lots of great input in the previous answers here. Let me add my two cents as well:

  • Start with the obvious
    • be brief, factual, concise and polite
  • Then expand upon the answer, if relevant
    • Add examples
    • Add links to resources
  • Ask for more details from the asker, if there is room for misunderstanding and/or the initial question was not specific (enough)
Like # people like this
Bridget Community Manager Feb 20, 2020

Great order of operations here! 

Hello,

More of a question than a suggestion. Does anyone request likes / votes / mark accepted answer? If yes, how?

Cheers

James

Like Bridget likes this
Monique vdB Community Manager Feb 20, 2020

@James Conway _Comalatech_ we are piloting a system for this with Community Leaders. These are our general guidelines:

  • It is clear the answer is correct

  • It has been three days since the answer was posted

If you have an example of an answer that qualifies, let me know! 

Like # people like this

Hm,

IMHO good answers arise from "good" questions.

Apart from wrapping up the question (Did I understand the problem the same way as the questioner), I try to point to either already solved questions of the same topic or try to reference documentation. If this doesn't work out, I'll try to show examples of my experiences (config snippets, step by step explanation,...)

I want to encourage the questioner to build up knowledge on his side, not just copying a step-by-step plan, which eventually will fail on his side.

On questions referring to addons/apps, I'll try to bring someone in from the app manufacturer or post a link to the support channel of the Atlassian partner.

An important aspect is to point out to newbies, that we're not Atlassian employers, but we're doing this on a voluntary basis. Sometime the tone of a question is quite rude, I still try to answer polite as the rudeness could arise from language problems of the questioner.

What I would like to see, is a link to a guide or examples of good questions & an explanation why these examples are good questions, eg. the answerer has the feeling that the questioner took some time to explain his problem/question & didn't just enter a question subject with four words w/o a body eg. "Database is not running" ;-) I tend to not answer these questions as the ping pong game will be long. I would also like to see the ability on my side to use canned responses (maybe shared with other answerers) giving us the ability to question needed information for answering a question w/o typing the same answer again and again (Server/Cloud while this is handled much better now, Jira/Confluence version, environment, addons, database. It surely depends on the question...

This is getting a bit long here.... Sorry about that.

Like # people like this

love the the precise and argued explanation 

Bridget Community Manager Feb 24, 2020

Yes, this is an A+ answer!!! 

Maybe they could implement some feature in the community that would allow us to flag how the quality of a question could be improved. If we give the person asking the question the benefit of the doubt in their question, we have to assume they don't know what they don't know. When people are rude to me in real life, I like taking the default position of giving them the benefit of the doubt, and assume they are frustrated and need help.

It would be cool to be able to provide some sort of template feedback, like "please elaborate more on this", or "the reason why you need this needs to be clarified", or "why do you want to do this?". Or some way of the answerer to mark up where they need clarification (kind of like how English teachers do it on writing assignments). If that additional context could be added easily and quickly it would send signals to the author that they need to improve their question any others stumbling on the question will know that it's not a fully formed question.

Hi all,

I agree with PJ (couldn't mention him), @Dominic Lagger@Richard Bouchacourt@James Conway _Comalatech_ and @Thomas Ohrbom :

  • Be objective to avoid communication noise 
  • Provide links for further reading/development
  • If you had to make assumptions to give your answer, ask for clarifications at the end of your answer
    • if you receive no additional details, your assumptions were correct
  • Always use the community forum resources to enrich the communication
  • Leave a footnote favoring further discussion

How does it sound to you ?

Regards

Like # people like this

Thanks @Tiago Machado 

[I dont know why you couldn't tag me though]

I agree with your points too.

Bridget Community Manager Feb 24, 2020

Yes! Great summary :) 

In the context of Atlassian a good answer would contain:

  1. The right set of steps that can solve a problem.
  2. The stumbling pain point behind which lies the solution.
  3. A honest and frank "I don't know and am Interested" instead of a long-winded answer to nowhere.
Like Manoosh Majdzadeh likes this

Hi,

Thanks for inviting me to the group! A good answer is the one which has:

  • Step by step instructions to solve the problem
  • The reason why a problem occurred so the person is prepared for it in future
  • Resources which can be used to further gain the knowledge about the issue.
Like Manoosh Majdzadeh likes this
  • Be clear.

  • Be accurate and correct.

  • Provide examples.

  • Link to more information and further reading.

Like Manoosh Majdzadeh likes this

Good morning all.

Layterms and use of the UI are generally sufficient to resolve common issues.

Some of the responses do go into too much depth and are too technical.

This isn't just a technical resolver group, but "I need help" group.  We should be mindful of our audience, their skill levels and try to respond accordingly.

Sometimes you do have to dig around to find the simplest answers.

Regards

Paul

Like Manoosh Majdzadeh likes this

A good answer? Hm... 

Everything is well mentioned above. 

A good answer, obviously, would be a clear objective one including any relevant links to Docs, blog posts, guides, etc that can help the questioner dive deeper into the answer if needed. An example or a comparison of the case(s) would also be very helpful.

As for the answerer, knowing when and how to say "I don't know, but I'll search and get back to you asap" is a great plus!  And finally the answerer's tone can also be an important factor to make the questioner feel comfortable when it comes to asking questions. 

Peace ✌🏽

I would agree with  Kiran_Jadhav and go a step further to say that the Answerer should read and understand the question being asked.

How many times have you seen someone answer a frequently asked question rather than the actual question being asked?  Because they're used to seeing a similar question asked multiple times, they neglect to actually read the whole question, which can lead to answering the wrong question.

Also, I like to use technical writing techniques such as:

  • white         space
  • bold or italics
  • bullets/numbers for lists
  • using screenshots or
    • code snippets
  • writing to the lowest common denominator (you never know who will read the answer in the future)

In summary, read the question, and make the answer easy to read.

Like # people like this

I love the comment "write to the lowest common denominator".


I'm an admin and responsible for any config, workflows, post functions, automation etc, but use this from a GUI perspective only, not a technical perspective.  I can make our systems jump through hoops and truly get how this bolts together, however......


Often, when I go hunting for answers, I don't understand them and a lot of people do, and they are clearly technical.

Perhaps when asking questions, we should encourage others to clarify their level of knowledge (basic GUI user through to writing complex code).

This would help the person answering, and the person looking for answers.  Straight away I'd avoid the really complex answers!

Like # people like this
David Willson Community Leader Mar 22, 2020
  • Answer assuming the person has good intentions and is frustrated and is looking for help, and wont know all the deep technical details or lingo.
  • Answer with links BUT guide them WHERE to look on the page. Getting a response of "go read th;s tomb of information" is demoralizing and frustrating.
  • Ask questions to claryify the question, users don't know what they don't know, and having the highest quality question possible is going to give the best chance of getting a working solution
  • Clearly stating if the core product can do what they want or if a plugin is required. Plugins are the lifeblood of the Atlassian eco system, but finding out the core product can do what they want AFTER buying a plugin to do it is maddeningly frustrating.
Like # people like this

This question is very important for even for asker and others that has that question. +A answer is when you have visualize the your answer. I mean with screen shot or gif file can show to asker what should he/ she do. Of course refer him/her to resource is very good point. Mentioning points in bullet is very good for finding the answer and easy follow. Many others items are there that my friends mention in their content but my final point is to put yourself in her/ his shoes and consider when you ask a question how would you like to others answer you to find more easier.

Like Tiago Machado likes this
nina_schmidt Community Leader Sep 19, 2020

A lot was already mentioned above, that is so important. 
In addition I would like to add two points: 

- clarity if you understood the question right

- make a sketchnote or drawing or picture to support understanding 

Like Samuel Bar likes this
Liam Green Community Leader Oct 06, 2020

I think its really important to be friendly, provide clear guidance, and where possible add links / screenshots.

Joe Busch I'm New Here Nov 24, 2020

A good answer has several components, which are determined by the complexity of the question.

The basic components should include the following:

  • A greeting, acknowledging the questioner by name
  • Recognition of the problem, empathy for troubles caused by problem
  • Concise, easy to follow, response
  • Offer to walk through the response together
  • Confirm the issue was fully resolved, thanking questioner for alerting us
  • Closing that encourages feedback and follow up if needed

The value of providing empathy, encourages the questioner to provide more details and possibly discover other problems not in the original question. The commitment to walk the user through the steps provides assistance to those who might be afraid to ask and look inadequate. Confirmation encourages feedback and makes sure that the problem is fully resolved, with the ability to request feedback in the future if it does not resolve the problem.

The goal is to build community involvement by making all questioners feel welcome and encourage further communications. Initial positive engagements will build acceptance and make future engagements more cordial and productive.

Joe Busch

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