(Although LinkedIn no longer maintains question and answer forums, you'll be able to apply the advice here to any similar venue online).
I regularly answer questions posed by LinkedIn's members. Given the range of question topics and volume of submissions, I've adopted the following strategy to make best use of this opportunity to share my experience and insight and in the process truly help the individual who posted the question.
* I answer a question when I have specific knowledge or insight to share that's based on experience and/or study. If I don't know the answer or the subject is one with which I'm unfamiliar, I don't answer the question. In other words, I don't speculate or offer opinions on subjects outside of my comfort zone.
* I'm most likely to respond when there are a handful of previous responses, and/or the existing responses either don't directly answer the question or haven't offered specific information I have that I believe is directly relevant. In other words, I tend not to answer a question if another member has already responded with the gist of what I would have shared, or if there are so many responses my contribution risks getting lost in a sea of information.
* I don't generally respond to philosophical questions or those that are subtle (or, in many cases) not so subtle marketing pitches by the questioner.
* I don't expect the questioner to acknowledge my response, although I'm delighted when that occurs!
My goal in answering questions is to connect people with information (including other people) that helps to answer their question. I find many opportunities to do so on LinkedIn, while keeping the task manageable and enjoyable using the general guidelines I've outlined here.
(To find questions on LinkedIn, click on the "answers" tab at the top of the page. View question topics in the category list in the right hand column of the answers page.)