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Do domain-specific how-to's fit well within Q&A?

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I've recently gained some PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules) knowledge. I had written a Reddit post plus reply and then thought the stuff I shared would fit well here.

Do domain-specific how-to questions like this fit well within the Q&A category, or would this work better in something like a "Recipes" category?

("Domain-specific" here means, "related to a particular aspect of Linux Systems management or development." E.g. the "domain" in this case is PAM application and module development. Thus the title of the question I would post is, "What is the process for writing PAM modules and applications?")

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Clarify and elaborate upon what exactly "general" means (2 comments)

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My immediate reaction would be that yes, it can definitely fit in the general Q&A category. And there is no rule against self-answers to questions.

However, please do take a bit of care with how the respective posts are written. Mainly, the question needs to be self-contained, and it should allow for others to also post answers proposing alternative solutions. You should not assume a priori knowledge of the answer you have in mind within the question.

It's probably best to pose the question as a generally applicable problem, sufficiently specific that someone without any additional knowledge of the problem but with knowledge of the solution space would be able to propose a solution; and then in an answer suggest that (for example) PAM can be used to solve that problem, and explain how.

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I certainly think "how to do X" is perfectly good for a question on Codidact, so long as X is sufficiently focused. A well-explained overview of a system is also useful, given it contains enough information that the user can continue researching more specific aspects of them, too.

Every question must be focused, so the question cannot ask for too much, and an answer should not be a full novel on a topic. That said, if it's too much for a single post, you can always post multiple questions. That needs to make sense, though.

In addition, ensure that it's directly useful. An answer listing a million potential explanations or troubleshooting steps, isn't necessarily so useful. Most of the point with Q/A is that people can quickly search for their problem/issue, then very easily find a direct, clear, and concise solution or explanation. Once they land on the page with the answer, it should already be filtered. Of course, this isn't always possible, but it's a goal to strive for.

If the question and answer do end up a bit unfocused, or simply too large, that isn't the end of the story. As long as the information is a useful addition to our knowledge repository, we can find ways to break it up, and move parts into new posts.

Looking at the specific content you posted at Reddit, it actually seems a bit thin in certain regards. Avoid link-only answers; include explanations inside the answers themselves; use citations where necessary. As your text currently stands, it's mostly a list of links. The general rule is that an answer must include enough information that it's still useful should all those links be unavailable. The reader should be given enough knowledge and explanation without leaving the page. So when the question asks "what is the process for writing PAM modules and applications", the answer must explain that whole process without relying on off-site links. Obviously, you can't cite an entire manual, so that can be left as simply a link to a useful resource.

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Elaborate on "a bit thin"? (3 comments)

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