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How to ask questions the smart way

Started by matt, April 07, 2005, 04:29:26 am

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matt

April 07, 2005, 04:29:26 am Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 04:10:48 am by matt
http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html


Excerpts


Before You Ask

Before asking a technical question by e-mail, or in a newsgroup, or on a website chat board, do the following:

Try to find an answer by searching the archives of the forum you plan to post to.

Try to find an answer by searching the Web.

Try to find an answer by reading the manual.

Try to find an answer by reading the FAQ.

Try to find an answer by inspection or experimentation.

Try to find an answer by asking a skilled friend.

If you're a programmer, try to find an answer by reading the source code.


When You Ask

Choose your forum carefully

Be sensitive in choosing where you ask your question. You are likely to be ignored, or written off as a loser, if you:

post your question to a forum where it's off topic

post a very elementary question to a forum where advanced technical questions are expected, or vice-versa

cross-post to too many different newsgroups

post a personal e-mail to somebody who is neither an acquaintance of yours nor personally responsible for solving your problem

Use meaningful, specific subject headers

Make it easy to reply

Be precise and informative about your problem

Describe the symptoms of your problem or bug carefully and clearly
.

Describe the environment in which it occurs (machine, OS, application, whatever). Provide your vendor's distribution and release level (e.g.: "Fedora Core 4", "Slackware 9.1", etc.).

Describe the research you did to try and understand the problem before you asked the question.

Describe the diagnostic steps you took to try and pin down the problem yourself before you asked the question.

Describe any possibly relevant recent changes in your computer or software configuration.