wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 11 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time.
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The Q&A sections on wikiHow articles give readers an opportunity to ask specific questions and get specific help on the topics they're struggling with. For quality control, new question-and-answer pairs need to be reviewed before they're put live on the page, and they occasionally need to be edited after they're posted, too. As a wikiHow volunteer, you can help with this task by becoming a Q&A Patroller. If you're interested in reviewing and editing Q&A, there's a test you can take to bone up on best practices.
1Become a booster or admin first. In general, we ask potential Q&A Patrollers to have a long history of contributing positively and conscientiously to wikiHow. For most people, starting with the booster or admin role is the best foundation for Q&A input, since these roles help ensure you know the site and our guidelines inside and out.
- There is room for rare exceptions to this, for niche topic editors who aren’t boosters or admins but have tons of experience in their areas of expertise. If you’re interested in this possibility, show your skills by answering a lot of Q&A questions with carefully crafted, accurate, and helpful answers. If you reach Top Answerer status, have a wikiHow account that’s more than three months old, and have more than 300 contributions, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the possibility of becoming a Q&A Editor through this alternative route. Keep in mind that this requires the ability to answer questions in your area of interest at an expert level.
2Get to know the Q&A guidelines. No Q&A Patroller has to be perfect, but it’s important that you take care with the task. Knowing what style of answers helps readers the best is crucial. Keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Questions and answers should have perfect spelling, grammar, capitalization and punctuation. Make sure questions are really phrased as questions. (Many reader-submitted questions are not).
- Keep the writing style simple, clear, and concise. Use an authoritative but approachable tone.
- Use first person (“I”) for most questions, and second person (“you”) for most answers.
- The ideal length is 1-2 sentences for questions, and 1-4 sentences for answers.
- Be as general as possible without losing meaning. Remove overly specific details like names, places, and personal backstories to make the questions more general. Generalize things like gender and age if they aren’t important to the context.
- Remove conversational phrases like “thanks” and “please help” from questions.
- Don’t hesitate to delete bad/unhelpful questions, or reject unhelpful answers that you don’t have the knowledge to improve. It’s better to wait for a new question or answer to be submitted than to approve unhelpful or misleading content. If in doubt, you can always skip.
- Rejecting the answer puts the question back into the pool to collect another answer.
- Deleting the question removes it from the site entirely and discards the answer.
3Be prepared to take it slowly. The Q&A queue is long, but it is not one we need to rush to get down to zero. It is better to have a long queue than to have bad Q&As on our site.
- Speed isn't ideal here, since it's not like RCP/wikitext, in that accidental rejections/reverts and accidental approvals can't be so easily undone. If you accidentally reject a good answer, it’s gone for good. If you accidentally approve an unhelpful answer or one that contains a mistake, nobody else will be re-reviewing the item, so you need to be the one to fix it.
- If you become a Q&A Patroller and choose to use the tool, it comes with a higher set of obligations than regular patrolling. You need to follow up if you make any misclicks or mistakes. Skip any time you’re not sure, and don’t let mistakes sit. If you’re not sure how to fix them, ask for help from another Q&A Patroller/Editor.
4Email email@example.com for the Q&A test only when you’re ready. Remember, if you’re not an admin or booster already, you generally won’t qualify to take the test, unless you fit the scenario for a topic-niche exception.
5Wait for feedback. You’ll be contacted via email after you complete the test, for feedback and/or next steps. If you don’t hear from Jayne after a week, feel free to drop her a note to check on the status of your test.Advertisement
QuestionHow do I know if I’ve reached Top Answerer status?Top AnswererLook at an answer you wrote in a Community Q&A section. If you have reached Top Answerer status, "Top Answerer" will be written under your name instead of "Community Answer".
QuestionDo you have to be Top Answerer to be a Q&A patroller?Community AnswerYou don't have to be a top answerer to be a patroller of Q&A. As stated in the article, you can also gain access to the tool by being an admin or a booster, then passing the test. Contact the Community Manager for help with this.