Author Topic: How to ask a question.  (Read 54421 times)

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Offline dunkTopic starter

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How to ask a question.
« on: July 08, 2007, 06:06:53 AM »
so while this might sound like an obvious one, it's harder than it sounds to ask a good question.
if you want helpfull responses to your posts, here's a few things to keep in mind:

1.1 make the "Subject:" field relevent to the question being asked.
a bad example came up recently but it's a fairly common example: "Subject: Help ! need help!!!!!!". this tells the reader nothing about your problem.
a FAR better subject for this post would have been "Subject: Help locating code for Stampy the Sumo Robot".

2.1 explain as much as possible about your components/equipment/software/design/etc you are having problems with.
if you don't have a piece of information that you think is needed for a component, explain in the post that that information is missing.
provide links to the components you have used whenever possible.
it's you asking for help so don't expect other people to do the hard work of finding your components on line for you.

2.2 explain a little about your application. what is the thing you are making going to be used for?
while this may not be strictly necessary to answer your question, it will be more likely to get others thinking about your problem.

3.1 include as much information as possible about what you have tried so far to solve the problem.
this will save the time of others explaining things you have allready tried.
it will explain more about the problem you face and stimulate others into thinking about the problem.
it will also be recorded in the forum post so others can learn from what you tried. while it maybe didn't work for you, it might be the hint someone searching the forum is looking for.

3.2 provide the search terms you have used as well as where you have searched. (, and should be on the list...)
for example: "I have searched on the forum for 'internet controll robot' and googled for 'internet', 'robot', 'controll', 'teleoperation', 'webcam'...."

4.1 be patient.
people post here for fun. if you want to remind people about your topic after a suitable period of time that is fine (and sometimes recommended, it's easy to forget about that post you meant to reply to...) but try to include an update on any progress you have made or other things you have tried since the first post.
simply posting "really i need help!!!!!!" six hours after your first post with no additional information is just rude.

if you find me referring you to this post in the future, please don't take it the wrong way.
i deal with professional engineers every day that forget to include critical information in email on technical matters. (don't get me started on the ones that don't read the answers...)
asking a good question is tougher than it sounds. the list above is just my recommended minimum of things to think about when you do.
remembering to even try to ask a good question is also something it's pretty easy to forget to do when you are battling a problem.


Offline Admin

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Re: How to ask a question.
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2007, 06:46:12 AM »
Dunk makes a really good point.

Two things to add:

1) Before posting, spend some time trying to solve the problem on your own. If you go a decent amount of time without progress, then post. In the end, only YOU can build your robot. We are just there to help you when you get stuck.

2) If you follow dunks rules, the experts are 10x more likely to answer your question, answer it much faster, and give you a much better answer.

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Re: How to ask a question.
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2007, 08:17:05 AM »
Yet another five rules:

1) DO NOT DOUBLE POST!!!!!!!!!! This just mucks up the whole forum. Don't triple or quadruple post, either.

2) Do not send me an IM informing me to reply to your post every time you send me a post. I will answer your post when I can. I'm not getting paid to help you! :P

3) Do not title your subject line "Admin answer me now!!". And do NOT include "ADMIN PLS ANSWER NOWWWW" in every one of your messages. There are 900+ other people in this forum that could potentially answer your question.

4) Keep your posts together. For example, if you want to know how to use X sensor and have 5 questions about the sensor, don't make 5 posts asking a different question on each post. It makes it much easier for people to answer you all at once. If you noticed your posts getting merged, this is why.

5) And lastly, despite this post, people still are making useless posts. Dont reply unless your comment will truely add to the conversation. I have made the official decision to delete these posts when I see them. Too much muck . . . And if you want to make a joke, make sure its followed by words of wisdom and doesn't result in the topic going off topic . . .

edit: changed wording a bit
« Last Edit: May 07, 2009, 10:28:03 AM by Admin »