- Learn where your expertise lies. There’s probably at least one area where you really know your stuff, but you might surprise yourself at the other knowledge you’ve picked up. Keep an eye on open questions and give them a try if you think you can help. If you’re not quite sure about something but think you might know, it’s okay to post that as long as you disclose your level of experience and certainty.
- Navigate topics. The site has over 900 topics, and though new questions are only asked in a fraction of them, the activity on the site is still spread over a wide range of categories. To get a sense of what’s going on in each topic, and what experts are active there, you can browse through the topic pages. All topics are listed here.
- Create a saved search. Once you’ve determined what kind of questions you’d like to participate in, creating a saved search will help you find them. A saved search will narrow down the questions on the site to those you wish to answer. You can filter out questions by things like topics, number of comments, and question state to customize which questions you see. You can run the search on the site, or have it send you alerts when a question matches your criteria.
- Answer thoroughly. Since the author of the question needs help in the first place, it’s likely that he or she will need some help with the suggestions you provide. Provide steps for how to fix the problem, or offer to walk the author through the process. Explain what you think is the problem and why it’s happening so the author can learn to identify that problem. If you don’t know what the asker needs, ask.
- Supplement links with explanations. A simple link without any additional text doesn’t provide any context for the author. If you have a link that provides steps or information the asker needs, post some information about the link, like where it leads and a summary of what it says, in case the link stops working in the future. Don’t be a Google Monkey!
- Be attentive, not pushy. If the author posts an update or a clarification question, follow-up with any information they request. If the author hasn’t commented in an ongoing question in a while, it’s okay to post a single comment asking if they still need your assistance. It’s not appropriate to ask the author to award you points.
- Be courteous to everyone. You will find that different askers will have vastly different levels of expertise, and some will need more help than others. Also keep in mind that all participating experts are working to answer the question as well, so working with other experts can help the author get a solution. You will also encounter users who have different language patterns and customs. The best way to avoid any issues with the other users on the site is to be courteous to everyone and treat everyone with respect.
- Write an article. If you find yourself answering the same question over and over again, you should consider writing an Article on that subject. You can earn points and awards on the article itself, and you can also post a link to your article while answering a question, and receive bonus points if that comment is accepted as the solution. And of course, you won’t have to keep writing out your response over and over.
How to Succeed at Experts Exchange as an Answerer
Here are some best practices to keep in mind when you’re answering questions on Experts Exchange.