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That means you can use Doing Business to find advice, ideas, perspectives, explanations, and answers to things you've always wondered about.
If your question has never been asked on Doing Business, then you can add it and even send it to experts on the topic.
Finally, you can use Doing Business to share what you know with others. Draw on your interests and experiences to write answers to other people's questions.
Be Nice, Be Respectful
A core principle of Doing Business is that people treat other people on the site with civility, respect, and consideration. Links that seek to harass or demean a person or group of people will be removed.
No spam, or links to sites that are purely commercial in nature
Links whose purpose appears to be to direct traffic to external commercial sites while providing little to no value back to the Doing Business Community will be removed as spam. This includes links to sites that are purely commercial in nature, such as online stores.
Per Doing Business's Policy on Sex-Related Content, Links featuring adult content (pertaining to sex, violence, and illegal substances) must be tagged with an adult topic. Links to pornographic sites or sites known to host sexually exploitative material will be removed as spam.
No deceptive or factually incorrect content
Links to sites with deceptive content, including sites promoting fake news or other false claims, are not permitted. This includes, but is not limited to, sites included in Wikipedia's List of Fake News Websites.
Links violating any of these policies may be deleted. Repeated posting of content that violates Doing Business policy may result in your account being blocked or banned.
Correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar make content on Doing Business better and easier to read.
Please include spaces between sentences -- the norm is one, but two is fine.
Please do not include spaces right before punctuation marks. Also, it's better if sentences end with one punctuation mark.
Please include one full space between paragraphs -- even if the paragraph is only one sentence or a sentence fragment.
Whenever possible, please use Doing Business's number and bullet list buttons to create lists, rather than using your own customized list style.
Good answers on Doing Business generally are not:
Insincere / not sincerely responding to the question. Answering a question with a joke, a follow-up question, or a comment is not helpful. An answer that simply debates the premise of the question is not helpful, even if it's entertaining or factually correct. If you don't like a question or don't know how to answer it well, just don't answer it.
Very short. We don't have rules against short answers, but even for yes/no questions, providing examples and further explanation is always helpful. The purpose of a Doing Business question is not to poll you; rather, it’s to provide information and insights that help lots of people.
Unsupported personal opinions and assertions that provide a minimal explanation. If you have no expertise on a topic and provide an answer with no insight or useful rationale → that's not a good answer. Stating your opinion or personal preference without explaining why others should share this point of view is generally not helpful to readers.
Difficult to read and understand. Bad grammar, spacing, punctuation, spelling.
In violation of Doing Business policies. Good answers don't plagiarize; don't attack other people or content; don't use images inappropriately; aren't spam.
Here are some examples:
- New York City (capitalize all words)
- Apples (fruit) (don't capitalize fruit because it's a clarifying term)
- Topics on Doing Business (don't capitalize on because it's a preposition)
- The Future (capitalize the because it's the first word)
- Into the Wild (don't capitalize the because it's an article)
In general, nouns should be preferred as topic names, rather than verbs, adjectives or questions. For example, use Running instead of Run, and use Safety instead of Safe. Occasionally, some concepts are too difficult to express as a noun, and so a question template, like What Does it Feel Like To Do or Be X? is acceptable, but where possible, a noun form is preferred.
Topics that are nouns should be named as the plural form of the noun unless the noun is a mass noun.
- Grapes (plural)
- Cats (plural)
- Cities in the United States (plural)
- Facebook (proper noun)
- Computer Science (mass noun)
Topic names need to be unambiguous. There can only be a single topic on Doing Business for each name; the system does not allow duplicates.
Topics names that would otherwise be ambiguous should be followed by a clarifying term in parentheses. For example, the film called Pi would be named "Pi (movie)" whereas the number pi could be "Pi" if it's the most common usage, or "Pi (number)". The clarifying term should be lowercased unless it should normally be capitalized, such as if it's a proper noun.
For the case where a clarifying term is left off because the topic is the most common usage of the particular name, the topic description should make it clear what the topic is.
Topic names should be just long enough to be unambiguous but no longer.
Topic names should be phrased in a way that isn't controversial, or inflammatory, and that would be agreed upon by people on both sides of an issue. Avoid slang.
When there is controversy over a topic's name, we generally prefer Wikipedia's conventions.
A good answer is helpful to anyone who wants to know the answer to the question. Good answers are helpful to both the original poster of the question and to anyone else who has the same question in the future. An answer is helpful when it's clear, credible, and sincerely addresses the question that was asked.
More specifically, helpful answers:
- Answer the question that was asked. Good answers are very helpful for someone who wants to know the answer to the question. You should always assume that people are asking in good faith and really want help. Helpful answers don't change the subject, obsess over faulty premises, or make fun of the question. A good answer often considers the frame of mind of the typical person that has this question — what are they wondering, what are they confused about, what kind of background they need.
- Provide knowledge that is reusable by anyone interested in the question. A good answer has facts and insights that are general and reusable. An answer is not the most helpful if it only helps one person with specific circumstances not listed in the question. Citing your own opinion or view is fine, but if you think your opinion is the right answer to the question, then you should explain and support the case for your point-of-view (i.e., why you believe that many people should share your point of view). The best answers to a general question sometimes cover many different cases with conditions (e.g., "if you're tall, I recommend X; if you're short I recommend Y").
- Support your answer with rationale. Helpful answers typically assume that the question is implicitly asking "Why?", even if it doesn't say so explicitly. This means you should include a convincing rationale so that the reader can understand why the answer is correct. Even in cases where a question is about personal opinion, personal experience, and/or individual expertise, it's still important to demonstrate why your answer is accurate and helpful (and not just popular).
- Demonstrate credibility and be factually correct. A good answer convinces readers that it's trustworthy. An answer that’s wrong or which includes incorrect facts or premises is not helpful. Answers can demonstrate credibility in a number of ways, including: providing reliable sources, listing good examples, and explaining why you have expertise or first-hand experience in the subject. Ideally, writers should indicate why they're qualified to answer the question. (You should provide good topic bios whenever it makes sense.) Some of the best answers don’t need to cite sources because they are written by people with expertise or first-hand knowledge. However, if an author provides an answer that depends on third-party facts and analysis — not based on their own personal expertise — it’s helpful to provide external links and source material.
- Are clear and easy to read. Good answers are very clear to read and understand, even for someone who is reading quickly or skimming the page. It's helpful to include simple formatting that adds structure and helps emphasize key pieces of information. Of course, a good answer needs to have the correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Any images or video in an answer should help bring clarity to your points. Good answers are also usually enjoyable to read. They are engaging and thought-provoking and may include empathy and humor. A good answer avoids insides jokes or sarcasm.
The best answer should aspire to be the most comprehensive, helpful, and trustworthy resource on the Internet for that question. For any question, Doing Business wants to attract the most helpful answer for someone who wants to know the answer to the question. Our best answers are the ones that will get distribution and wide readership.
Along the same lines, users are encouraged to (1) add questions that they know the answer to and then (2) answer these questions immediately.
Think about Doing Business as an accumulating database of knowledge. It's good to ask and answer questions you know the answer to, because once you put your knowledge into the system, other people can draw from it. If you add the answer and/or do the research yourself, subsequent users with the same question can get the answer with less effort. On Doing Business, it's not unusual for different people to be serendipitously interested in the same question. If you can share the work you've done of researching the answer, then that's a win for everyone.