This post is written for new users of the Writing - Stack Exchange (or Writing.SE, for short) - especially those who have just asked or answered their first question, and have been surprised by the feedback.

First, welcome!

We hope you find Writing.SE enjoyable, interesting and fun… and not too daunting when you first arrive.

Writing.SE is different

Public Domain

Writing.SE is very different from many online forums (such as mailing lists, bulletin boards, and the commenting systems on blogs.) It is also somewhat different from many other web sites in the Stack Exchange family, such as Stack Overflow, that you may be familiar with.

As a result, the Writing.SE community can appear to be a little hostile to new users. Many first time users — perhaps even most first time users — are surprised when their contributions are judged against an unexpected set of standards. I urge you not to be disheartened by this. Have a look around, and you will quickly understand how we work. We hope that you will soon learn to appreciate the value that these standards bring in ensuring that the content you find on Writing.SE is very high quality.

What is Writing.SE For?

Writing.SE is a Q&A site for writers and about writing. Our Q&A format makes our content clear and straight to the point — and the best, most helpful answers rise right to the top!

We're a great site for questions at any level of expertise — whether you're setting pen to paper for the first time, or a seasoned pro tackling a thorny problem.

However, our focused format is also a limitation: Not every request for help will work well as a Q&A. Some topics are discussions which don't need a single "answer"; sometimes people need help editing a piece, not a formal Q&A; and so on and so forth. (Some common issues with poorly fitting questions can be found $HERE.) Questions the community finds a poor fit for the site will be closed.

Question Closure

Questions often get closed. This does not mean the question has been banished forever. It's an opportunity for the community to improve it; wherever we can, we want to have the definitive questions and answers on a subject. Learn more about closed questions.

Sister Sites

These are sites on related, but different topics. A few questions might straddle this site and one of our sister sites.


If you haven't come across a Stack Exchange site before, Writing.SE may seem a little alien.

However, if you hang around for a bit, you will see we take legitimate questions very seriously, and we will likely impress you with the quality and thoughtfulness of our answers.

  • Yoinked from the lovely, welcoming intro page at Skeptics.SE. This page is a WIP in a very early stage; I'll be working on this over the next few days. Please feel free to contribute, or suggest what should be focused on. – Standback Jul 12 '12 at 10:17
  • 1
    I don't like the image. There is one smiling. – John Smithers Jul 12 '12 at 11:09
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    "The lone smiley-sphere, oblivious to the ruined lives of the morose spheres surrounding it, prepared to gleefully skip along the street." – Goodbye Stack Exchange Jul 12 '12 at 16:09
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    I just assumed he was gloating over their abject misery. – Standback Jul 12 '12 at 16:13
  • Isn't it supposed to mean that Writers.SE is the only smiley site? – justkt Jul 12 '12 at 19:07
  • @Standback - You scamp, you. (he said, while smiling.) – Goodbye Stack Exchange Jul 13 '12 at 1:18
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    I think he is the one who got published..... – Schroedingers Cat Jul 25 '12 at 14:27
  • Why is History a sister site? (Just curious.) – Goodbye Stack Exchange Jul 26 '12 at 1:22
  • @NeilFein: Serves me right for working on a draft in public :P – Standback Jul 26 '12 at 4:52
  • Nice! There's now a literature site, which we probably want to add (but I haven't yet reviewed their scope so haven't added it here yet). – Monica Cellio Oct 24 '17 at 12:52

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