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How to Be An Effective Answerway Expert

    Answerway is an online information and communications service, providing a free, public, large-scale, person-to-person question & answer forum. All information is provided on a volunteer basis by users of this Web site.

    By allowing people with specific Expertise to answer questions posted by people looking to learn, we bring together knowledge providers and seekers in a free and uncomplicated manner.

The above statement, quoted from the About Us page on Answerway.com, states the basic concept of Answerway. However, there are other sites on the internet that offer questions and answers. What sets Answerway apart from the rest is the thoughtfulness and excellence of its experts, and the quality of the answers that users consistently receive when they post questions here.

The purpose of this guide is to help everyone who participates as an Expert at Answerway to develop and improve excellence in responding to questions, and to help make sure that users will not only come back again but will tell their friends and acquaintances about Answerway. The popularity of the former AskMe.com proves beyond doubt that there is a strong demand for a high-quality information service of this kind, and that well-qualified Experts are willing to devote their time to providing helpful answers.

With all of this in mind, a number of Answerway Experts, most of whom are seasoned veterans of at least one other internet answer site, have collaborated to produce the following principles to guide the work of Experts here. It is our belief that adherence to these principles will not only maintain high quality in our users' experience, but will also create an environment that will continue to attract more outstanding Experts to Answerway.

- Index To Answerway's Expert Guidelines:

  1. No plagiarism.
  2. Improper or Illegal Activities
  3. Posting Questions vs Forum Discussions
  4. Competency to answer a question
  5. Civility and courtesy
  6. Appropriateness of posting
  7. Having something to say
  8. Responses should be genuinely helpful
  9. Matters of Opinion
  10. Direct Questions/Private Questions
  11. Dealing with Problem Users
  12. No Sniping at Other Experts
  13. Blocking Users
 

  1. No plagiarism.

    Experts should not simply copy text from some other source and paste it in, without attribution, as their response to a question. Reference to other sources where such information can be found (e.g., FAQs of other Answerway experts, web site addresses, or reference books) would generally be appropriate, and, within the constraints of fair use, an Expert might briefly quote (with attribution) or summarize this information in a response. It should never appear that the work of others is the original work of the Expert.

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  2. Improper or Illegal Activities

    Answerway's Terms of Service prohibit using the service for illegal activities. This also means that experts should not promote such activities when they are asked about them. Things like copyright infringement, piracy, hacking, cracking and other such activities should not be supported or promoted. Experts should discourage and warn users about the potential illegality and repercussion of such activities.

    Similarly, Answerways facilities are not to be used as a vehicle for promotion of MLM ventures or other commercial schemes, or as a means of recruiting customers for such schemes. Answers that appear to violate this principle should be reported to Answerway.

    Experts posing as Management are considered suspended due to Improper Activity. The only Management/Owners/Operators of this site are Jay Dathaeus Lee and Vijay Nath.

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  3. Posting Questions vs Forum Discussions

    Generally, it would not be considered appropriate for an Expert in a category to post questions in that category. Experts looking to clarify or broaden their understanding should probably utilize our category forums so they can get input from other experts.

    If an expert MUST post a question, they are admitting their lack of knowledge in the subject matter and therefore must appreciate and respect the answers received.

    Any disagreements on the Forums or QA Boards must be treated with respect. Violations of this policy will result in suspension.

    An expert not using their judgement in differentiating between posts that belong in forums versus QA boards, will have their expert status re-evaluated and possibly terminated.

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  4. Competency to answer a question

    Experts should not undertake to answer something when they do not know what they are talking about. Alternatively, the Expert should clearly state any limitations on his or her knowledge of the subject, and make clear how much (or little) reliance can be placed on his or her response. Answerway does not require that its Experts have a Ph.D. in a particular subject before answering; however, it is inappropriate for sheer guesswork or seat-of-the-pants speculation to masquerade as actual knowledge of a subject.

    The application of this principle obviously varies with the subject matter and context. There are obvious differences between "hard" categories, such as science, mathematics, law, or computer/internet subjects, on the one hand, where answers are generally a matter of fact or law, and softer categories such as philosophy, spirituality, or the arts, on the other, where opinions can legitimately vary and "facts" or "law" are elusive.

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  5. Civility and courtesy

    An answer to a question should be courteous, civil, and respectful. If the Expert is tempted to post something nasty, better to post nothing at all.

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  6. Appropriateness of posting

    Experts should not post "me too" responses that add nothing new to responses already posted. In this regard, where possible, Experts should review all earlier responses to a question before jumping in themselves. It is recognized that some duplication is inevitable where, for instance, multiple direct questions become public at about the same time when various Experts respond to them independently. Under no circumstances should any Expert take the work of another Expert and repost it as his or her own.

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  7. Having something to say

    Experts should not post a response that really does not contain any useful information. There may be rare exceptions to this when a lighthearted question calls for a lighthearted response. Common sense and good judgment will distinguish such cases.

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  8. Responses should be genuinely helpful

    It is important to read the question and determine what the person is actually seeking. There is always a temptation to jump in and start opining about things different from what was asked, or to respond simply that what the questioner wants to pursue seems like a bad idea. It is OK to say that something may be a bad idea, and even to seek to persuade the user that it is a bad idea, but if the question was where to find more information on that activity, and there is no moral or ethical problem with providing that information, then the information should be provided. It is up to the users to decide how they will live their lives.

    Often, an effective response is to provide a select group of specific web addresses where further information can be found, or to suggest a search strategy that will yield such web sites. This is particularly true when the question involves a topic of greater complexity than can be covered in an answer of reasonable length. In general, it is best for the Expert to view each recommended web site before suggesting it, to confirm that it really contains responsive information. Posting a long string of raw search engine results without any attempt to weed through them or determine their specific usefulness is not generally helpful and therefore not generally appropriate.

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  9. Matters of Opinion

    Answers in some subjects (such as religion, spirituality, or philosophy) frequently involve the personal viewpoint of the Expert, often on matters where debate has existed for decades, if not centuries. In such cases, in order both to maintain civility and to provide genuinely useful (and perhaps persuasive) information to a user, it is generally helpful to explain the reasons behind the answer, specify sources or references where appropriate, and state clearly when an answer may be controversial or based purely on the Expert's own opinion.

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  10. Direct Questions/Private Questions

    Answerway offers users the ability to address questions directly to individual Experts. Experts have the option of answering or declining such direct questions. If an answer is given, the Expert must determine whether the question and answer will remain private or whether it will be posted on the question board under which the direct question was sent.

    In cases where there is no obvious reason for privacy, Answerway prefers that direct questions and answers become public. By default, in non-sensitive categories where anonymous posting is not permitted, responses to direct questions are set to become public. The Expert can change this, however, and cause the question and answer to remain private. In sensitive categories where anonymous posting is permitted, the default is for direct questions to remain private. The Expert has the power to make these questions public, however.

    Users are asked to state that they want the question and answer to remain private, and to justify that request if the grounds are not obvious. As a matter of courtesy, Experts should generally honor such requests, and should decline the question altogether if for some reason the Expert does not agree with the request for privacy.

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  11. Dealing with Problem Users

    From time to time, certain users can become pests, or treat Experts discourteously (for example, sending numerous direct questions and then consistently giving low ratings to the answers). Experts should not let thoughtless and immature behavior by users lure them into unprofessional behavior of their own. When in doubt, a quick email to support@answerway.com will usually bring quick guidance and assistance. And, of course, the Expert retains at all times the power to decline a direct question and to ignore a public question.

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  12. No Sniping at Other Experts

    It is important to remember that the point of this site is to provide information in response to questions posed by users. Users will not be comfortable if the answers they receive contain potshots taken by one expert against another. If there are legitimate grounds for disagreement, or if it truly appears that another expert has given a faulty answer, courtesy should be used in noting such disagreement. This same principle applies in any rating or rating comment applied by one expert to another.

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  13. Blocking Users

    Answerway will be adding the capability for experts to block any other expert or user from asking them questions. This will prevent them from receiving any further questions either directly or anonymously from that user. You can check the users that you have blocked by selecting Blocked Users from your dropdown Quicklinks. See our online help system if you require help with blocking a user. If you are harassed again by a user you have blocked, please report this user to Answerway as this user will be in violation of our User Guidelines and will be warned and suspended if they repeat this after being contacted by us. Please do not respond to any provocative posts made by such a user as you will just be complicating matters and violating your terms of use as well.

Questions or comments about this document should be addressed to support@answerway.com

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