Results from the 2022 Developer Survey are here.

In addition to the Q&A format that has been established on Stack Overflow since its inception, Collectives also consist of Articles. Articles are intended for relevant content to a collective that doesn’t lend itself to the traditional Q&A format.

Like Q&A, there are guidelines that Articles must adhere to. If an Article doesn’t follow the guidelines, it will be unpublished. Authors may then edit the Article to address the issue(s) outlined, and an Article can be republished if it is fixed to meet the guidelines. Article guidelines are as follows:

Article types

Articles cover different ground than Q&A in two ways:

  • Knowledge articles cover topics too broad or open-ended for a single Q&A. They may compare the pros and cons of different kinds of implementations or approaches, and may be more subjective than is the norm in Q&A, provided opinion is backed by solid evidence.
  • How-to guides likely offer more than the answer to a single question, providing multiple steps (and potential pitfalls) on the path to accomplishing a technical goal. While it’s totally possible that some overlap will occur, we see Articles as being a home for content that would be too wide of a scope to cover usefully in Q&A format.

Topic and content

  • Articles should focus on a practical problem that programmers actually face.
  • Articles should contain sufficient context for the identified issue and fully address the problem they are intending to discuss.
  • Readers should be able to get a clear understanding of how to solve their problem from reading the Article.
  • Articles should be germane to the topics included within the collective and should relate to one of the tags that are included within the collective, and within the greater, already established scope of Stack Overflow.
  • Articles may be about any of the following, provided that they are clearly related to the topic of the collective:
    • Algorithms
    • Tools or software libraries used primarily by programmers
    • Specific programming problems
  • Articles cannot be about any of the following:
    • General computing
    • Network or server administration
    • Legal advice
    • Purely opinion-based topics
    • Hypothetical or speculative articles, rants, etc.
    • Anything not directly related to programming
    • Programming topics not directly related to the topic of the collective

Quality

  • Articles must be the original work of the author posting them, or - in the case of multiple authors - the poster must be one of the primary authors.
  • Articles must back up their claims with facts and verifiable, reputable references.
  • Articles should be subjective vs. objective in nature.
  • Link-only Articles are not acceptable. If an Article contains links, it must have sufficient context that visiting the links is not necessary, and content must be resident on the collective.
  • An Article does not necessarily need to be (but ideally is) content written exclusively for the collective. Reposting your own content from elsewhere on the internet is allowed, provided it meets the other guidelines.
    • When reposting content from elsewhere, the author is encouraged to mention this fact and link to the original.
    • It’s also important to recognize that anything posted to our site is licensed under the Creative Commons license.
  • Articles must be in the primary language of the target site that they accompany (currently English, since collectives "accompany" the main SO site; if there's ever a collective for another site, like the Russian SO site, it must be in the primary language of that site).
  • Articles should use good grammar, spelling, and punctuation to the best of the writer's ability.

Length

  • Topics that would require extremely long Articles to address in full should ideally be split into multiple Articles.
  • If there is additional context required, the Articles should clearly indicate what context is needed.

Title

  • The title must summarize the content, without being misleading.

Closing

  • As with the rest of Stack Overflow, the use of the phrases “thank you” and similar salutations and closings/signatures are not considered best practice. However, there are times when this may be appropriate. For instance, if an earlier Article solicited opinions and the author found them helpful, it might be reasonable to hear a “thanks” to the community for weighing in on the prior Article. Outside of a situation where there was a substantive piece of work done, though, Article writers are encouraged to not include “thanks”.

Code of Conduct

  • Articles must follow the Code of Conduct; abusive or insulting language will not be tolerated. All users must be treated with respect, as should anyone who is mentioned within an Article. Particular care should be taken when referring to living people.
  • Articles may not engage in excessive or undisclosed self-promotion.
  • Articles should not be exact duplicates of existing Q&As or Articles on Stack Overflow.
  • Plagiarized Articles will be removed and may lead to moderator action.

Guidelines for user roles

Moderators

Stack Overflow’s moderators remain the community’s “exception” handlers and the arbiters of the above guidelines. They continue to be vested with the authority to moderate content within collectives, though they are encouraged to be sensitive to the needs of the collective’s sponsoring organization. In case of dispute, issues can (as always) be escalated to the community management team.

Recognized members

In addition to moderators, each collective has “recognized members”. Recognized members have the ability to edit any Articles within the collective.

Use cases

While Collectives are in a beta phase, community members are encouraged to remember that there may be some experimentation around potential additional use cases. Feedback is welcome in these cases, as we all get used to this new content type.