In the beginning there weren't that many high rep users who could edit questions. As that number grows I thought I would add some tips/tricks that I use for those of you striving to
earn a badge improve the quality of the site.
Finding things to Edit
askubuntu.com/review has a bunch of great ways to find things to fix.
- Low quality posts
- Search for "edit", this will bring up a bunch of answers where people forget the wiki aspect and just add EDIT all over the place.
- Keep an eye out for new Tumbleweeds, see if they need editing help.
- The three badges for traffic (based on views) are the most visible questions from search engines, we should try to make these "best of the best":
- This thread on meta.SO has links to searches you can do to find common junk that can be fixed.
- Troublesome tags
Clean up the title
People think in forums, so they title their actual question with a "topic" instead of their actual question.
- "Problem with Compiz", "A question about Unity", "What's wrong with Firefox?"
- You'll usually find the real question right at the bottom.
- People tend to put the version and "Ubuntu" in the title. We have tags and the site is about Ubuntu, so you can change "How do I install Chrome in Ubuntu 10.10" to "How do I install Chrome?". You probably don't need a version tag either, those are useful for hardware style questions but it's best if we keep questions without version tags so we can maintain them over time. You can also replace generic questions with specific titles, for example "Ubuntu doesn't suspend" to "Thinkpad X220 doesn't suspend". Here's a list of questions with Ubuntu in the title.
- If we had Ubuntu and version numbers in every title the front page would be unreadable. However I don't just drop it every time, I try to think of what the question would sound like if I asked someone in real life or "what would I google for?"
- Think long term – Assume every question you edit will be the #1 result for that question in Google, make it count!
- Here's some questions with "question" in the title, easy pickings!
Linking prexisting stuff
(It would be crazy to list them all, just searching for highly voted questions in that tag does the trick, you get the idea) – by the time you have the rep to edit questions you probably know a bunch of these.
- Any question asking about hardware – I have a hardware detection problem, what logs do I need to look into?
- gconf-editor – How do I use the gconf editor?
- PPA – What are PPAs and how do I use them?
Formatting – In addition to the normal spelling and grammar
- Linking to similar but maybe related questions if the auto-relation thing doesn't do it right. Or if something is close but not quite a dupe. Interconnecting links between questions can be useful.
- I concentrate on unanswered questions first, this gives the question a bump, helping the user!
- Sometimes people overdo the bold and stuff, I edit it out. Professional journals don't overdo text formatting, neither should we.
- Grammar – In my experience people who are not native speakers appreciate the help clarifying their question. If the editing is so invasive they will either let you know or you can always say something like "I tried to clear this up, is this what you mean?" as a comment.
- Watch out for new meta tags and stop them before it's too late!
Having the same instructions for a task that is repeatable and popular isn't ideal because if we ever have to update/change it we have to do it across the site, instead we can have one set of instructions and then link answers back to it to strengthen the links between posts, for example:
- Replacing "sudo apt-get install unity-2d" with a link to How do I install and switch to the Unity 2D desktop?
- You can do searches for popular commands and then just go back and edit them to point to the canonical question and answer.
Cross-linking with other documentation
- Link manpages to the online page: http://manpages.ubuntu.com/
- Link to official documentation at: http://help.ubuntu.com
- Questions about Alphas and Betas generally are too localized, if you can reword it to be more general (so it's useful for future releases), then that would be best, otherwise flag it for deletion!