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By MasterC at 2003-08-21 18:52
The following LinuxAnswer describes how to create and format a LinuxAnswer, a howto article from


The title of the LinuxAnswer should be appropriate for the content of the How-To, nor does it need to be super creative. Just state in simplest terms what the LinuxAnswer is going to teach.


If you need to describe a command or screen output, use the BB/VB codes. These codes can be found in the FAQ of the site.
  • [code][/code] should braqcket all terminal commands and terminal output.
  • [b][/b] for commands that are entered by the user.
  • [i][/i] for commands that are variable, such as username.
  • [quote][/quote] for presenting quotes, you can give credit where credit is due this way, as well as break out a point of a paragraph to show importance.

All of the above examples have spaces between the brackets and the first character of the code, this is to show you the code without actually using it. You must remove the spaces in your own articles so the coding will be used properly. See the FAQ for more info on BB/VB code.


Thank you for wanting to create a LinuxAnswer.
Here are some general guidelines to help you when deciding what and how to write:
  • Use English. Eventually we may make a multi-lingual site, but for now, please keep articles and other content in English.
  • Focus on a single idea. Instead of "how to use digital cameras," perhaps write "how to use application X to organize your photos."
  • Look for even narrower tasks. You would be amazed at how many more times people search for “listen to MP3s with Amarok” versus “listen to music on Linux.”
  • Use a recipe format. After a little preliminary info, use numbered steps. Make the first sentence of the step the action and the second sentence the result. For example:
    1.Click the File | Open menu. The Open dialog box will appear.
    2.Select the file you want to open.
    3.Click OK. The selected file will open.
  • Avoid distro specificity. Exceptions are noted below.
  • Don't be redundant. Make sure the content is original and not reproducing a topic that is already posted somewhere else. A LinuxAnswer that contains things that are straight out of the TLDP and has very little else might not be accepted
  • Related to this, before writing a LinuxAnswer you may wish to contact us via the contact form to ensure that the subject you would like to use is not already being worked on on Linux.
  • If you do copy someone else's work, give them credit, include links, and possibly even ask the original author permission.


If your FAQ is titled "How to setup a working firewall using IPTables," it is likely going to be in your best interest to be distribution neutral. Meaning, that anyone on any distro, using the standard set of tools could follow the instructions and successfully have a working firewall. Conversely, if your How To is titled "How to use the Mandriva Control Center to create new users," then giving distro-specific answers would be expected.


Providing a summary is not always necessary, but helps for those how-to's that are extremely long, or cover a lot of ground. A summary should be short, to the point and be as general as possible. You should do your best to refer only to your own document at this point, and provide references in a follow on section titled "References" or something along those lines, or "For More information..."

(Updated by: bproffitt on 03/15/10)

by twilli227 on Thu, 2003-09-11 23:20
Very well written MasterC. It answered some things I was wondering about. Thank you.

by JZL240I-U on Tue, 2003-09-23 09:30
... and most of all: Learn everything you can while you are here
Hehe, and that is the true and very real fun of this site.
Thanks all around, to all contributing to knowledge.

by spurious on Tue, 2003-09-30 09:49
I just submitted an article about HomePNA 2.0 networking. However, after I hit the 'submit' button, I suspected I left a typo in the article. Is there any way I can edit the draft after it has been submitted?

by JZL240I-U on Wed, 2003-10-01 03:08
Why don't you look just above the "post reply" button you obviously used ... ... at the "edit" button?

by spurious on Wed, 2003-10-01 18:51
Heh, thanks for pointing that out... but what I really meant was whether I could edit a submission to after I've sent it but before it is published; in other words, editing while it is in the submission queue. I guess I'll just wait until (if) it is published, assuming that I, as the original poster, has editing privileges.

by jeremy on Wed, 2003-10-01 19:00
An article cannot be edited while in the submission process.


by |2ainman on Mon, 2004-11-29 18:42
Is there any notification that your HOWTO submission is pending? I might have overlooked it, but I didnt see anything saying something like "Your HOWTO has been submitted and will be reviewed by the staff at ...."
If there isn't, it might reduce confusion, and double submissions. The only thing that howto left out about writing a howto is the whole process behind it ... ie the fact that there actually is a submission process (seems obvious) and how long it will take, etc)

by jeremy on Mon, 2004-11-29 23:52
The article is submitted as soon as you submit, but does not appear until it passes editorial review. I'd say the average is about 24-72 hours, but occasionally we get a flurry of submissions and it takes a little while to cleat the backlog. If you have any other questions, let me know.


by |2ainman on Fri, 2004-12-03 04:03
Still did not really answer my question :-/
Is there any affirmation that your submitting process was successful, not that your article has been approved, but that the "answer" was received. I'm asking because maybe people, when submitting, stay on the page for quite awhile before they submit, and then their credentials for the forums have timed out so they click submit, but maybe nothing really happens. Im just thinking that maybe the system could send a private message to the person. Also, if a person's LQ answer submission is denied, is that user notified?
Thanks for your patience

by jeremy on Fri, 2004-12-03 09:23
At this time, the user is not notified if the LA is denied. If it wasn't submitted, however, you will get an error message.



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