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Stubear
As per the subject line.

Here is link to a web page explaining the best way to ask for help. There have been a large number of posts recently that fail to properly explain the posters problem, leaving those who wish to help to drag the details out of the poster.

By following the suggestions in the linked site you not only improve your chances of getting a quick answer but also make it easier for people with the same problem to find answers through the search function.

Stu
DrWowe
Great idea! The admins should replicate this on every forum and make it sticky.
Joshp
What does it mean to make a post sticky? Sorry if this is off topic.

JP
Ethereal
QUOTE
What does it mean to make a post sticky?  Sorry if this is off topic.


I believe it makes it "stick" perpetually at the top of the forum listing.
offroadgeek
QUOTE
Great idea!  The admins should replicate this on every forum and make it sticky.


will do
padishah_emperor
mmh, not too sure about making people who want to get a quick answer to trawl through so much info, I got bored after the first paragraph. :shock:

We shouldn't get into the mind-set of shooting down questions, no matter how often they are asked, how dumb they maybe to some, or how ineloquently put.

IMHO.

I say, ask what you want, when you want, how you want, even if it's been asked over and over. Don't let self-styled geeks and gurus put you off. Be natural and relaxed, if you don't understand the problem you are trying to get help on, don't fake being 'clued-up', tell it how it is but don't be too vague, there are enough decent people here who will try their best to help no matter what, even if they do have to 'drag' more info out of you. It's part of the process, it opens dialogue and you can end up getting quite friendly with people, my favorite part of ZUG. As time goes on and you 'settle in' you will pick up how to ask better questions. That's my view. No thought police ;-)

IMHO.
Stubear
I'm not against people asking the same question over and over again - I'm trying to help people to help themselves,
The key to thst whole article is give as much information as you can when asking for help, that way the people who can help can do so quickly rather than waiting 2 days to find out that someone whose only info was "I cant do a NAND restore", "read the FAQ it doesn't work" hasn't actually unrared the nand backup.

I'm all for people being natural, but as a tech support person I disagree that dragging info out of people is (or should be) part of the process and I don't feel it does much for real dialogue either.

Stu
Mickeyl
To add a developers' view:

My opinion here is that I just hate lazy people demanding support. People not wanting to research or educate themselves before asking a question is like they're saying that their time is more valuable than my time, hence they ask me to research for them. This I find unacceptable behaviour, since they already got a lot from me for free.
Greg2
Stubear, This is an excellent idea!

It was brought up before in another thread awhile back and I never said anything. There are many more members now with many more questions, most of which have been asked before. There are times when I would like to help someone but I do not have the time to drag the details out of a poster.

Greg
coolass
Stubear, I noticed that thi spost came after you replied to one of mine. The question I asked was for anyone who has or had pocketworkstation working. For that person it would have been a very clear question as they would know what I was talking about ,also as I stated that I wrote a more detailed post but it never made it to the board which could have been my system but I digress. There is a valid point to your statment but sometimes people are in a hurry,don't know the correct jargin and lingo of the board or in many cases are newbies. In some cases it's not easy to put something into words if you don't understand it yourself. I have a degree in both Psychology and Arch.Enginerring plus I'm working on my degree in MIS and as we can see even I get stumped. This isn't Tech Support it's Z community support, for gurus and newbs alike.
offroadgeek
I see two issues here...

First off, people not knowing exactly how to frame up their questions, or maybe not even knowing exactly what's wrong. So it takes a bit longer for people to pull the details out of them to find a solution. I don't see this as a big issue overall. There will always be those newbies who just can't eloquently explain the issue, and that's OK... time and experience should fix this. Also, this is where I see the "How to ask a question the smart way" doc could help.

And secondly, people who are lazy and expect others to fix their problem without first putting any effort in resolving the issue on their own. I agree with Mickeyl completely, this is unacceptable behaviour and we shouldn't tolerate it on the ZUG. A little respect for your fellow community members goes a long way here. Often times these questions are quite simple, just as finding the answer is.

I generally have a tremendous amount of patience, but when I see people fall into the second category, it just ticks me off and you usually see it in my replies to these people (especially lately).

There have been a rise is posts lately where the issue or topic has been covered a hundered times. It's one thing if you say "I've searched the forums, FAQ, etc. and couldn't find an answer, so I'm now posting for help", but people aren't even doing that.

Stubear - I think this is a great idea. I know foxdie has already created a Forum Guidelines post, which is great... maybe we can incorporate some of the concepts in the link you provided to this existing guide, and put it in every forum as a sticky.

Any other thoughts or suggestions as to how this could be implemented successfully?
ScottYelich
interesting... when I saw the topic, I was going to suggest the esr document... but it seems that's the first
item in the topic :-)

I like to give people at least 1 or 2 questions... a little help .. friendliness -- then you can learn if they're
clueful, lazy, etc... and, they at least feel that you care. I don't have patience for endless questions,
when I'm doing something -- but if I'm just hangin' -- I'll do whatever I can.

Scott
padishah_emperor
I agree with offroadgeek and ScottYelich. As long as we are careful not to scare off people or come across as self-styled patriarchs, also bear in mind some people (esp. here, maybe other countries too) are on dialup connections, paying per minute, time can be an issue. I can only 'afford' to use a forum since going over to DSL. We should strive to be as accomodating as possible. This document should be paraphased to a short paragraph for those who need to get the information fast, it has nothing to do with who's time is more valuable.
Stubear
QUOTE
Stubear, I noticed that thi spost came after you replied to one of mine. The question I asked was for anyone who has or had pocketworkstation working. For that person it would have been a very clear question as they would know what I was talking about ,also as I stated that I wrote a more detailed post but it never made it to the board which could have been my system but I digress. There is a valid point to your statment but sometimes people are in a hurry,don't know the correct jargin and lingo of the board or in many cases are newbies. In some cases it's not easy to put something into words if you don't understand it yourself. I have a degree in both Psychology and Arch.Enginerring plus I'm working on my degree in MIS and as we  can see even I get stumped. This isn't Tech Support it's Z community support, for gurus and newbs alike.


Coolass,

It wasn't your post that set this off, it was a number of other posts where people gave no info - you at least gave the error message you were getting. Your post just happend to come in while I was writing this post.

I realise that people are often in a hurry, but they will get better answers if they tell us what is wrong and give error messages and tell us what they tried. I don't need (and rarely use) jargon - but I hope you can see that
"I installed fooplayer and it crashes when changing tracks" is a lot more helpful the "fooplayer doesn't work". The first gives a usefull start for tracking down the problem (and makes it easier for others with the same problem to search for an answer).

I agree with padishah_emperor that the document may be a bit overly convoluted for a forum like this, but it was the only document that I'm aware of that offers suggestion on asking smart questions. NOTE I'm not the author of the document, and I don't agree with everything in it, but the main point of the document is helping people to help themselves.

I never meant for the document to implemented as a rule (or even guidline) just that the issues it raises can help make the forum an easier place to find answers.

I look at rephrasing the document to make it more forum friendly (as well as much shorter)

Stu
Omicron
People should not expect other people to do thier work/research for them by posting questions but.....

However, if you have a complex problem that you know/think will take you over 30 mins to figure out and you think it is common enough that SOMEONE has probably already figured it out, I think it makes sense to ask.

Problem is, that people never know if someone know the answer off the top of their heads unless they ask.

So I say go ahead and ask the question, if someone would need to research it to answer the question, then they should say so.

I think that people who KNOW an answer right off the top of their heads and don't want to save some poor shmuck 30 mins becuase "they should learn how to use it" are totally wrong. Everyone will have their Forte's, even on a device this small. So posting a question before spending 30 mins pulling your hair out is a good idea. If people choose not to answer then so be it. But thier will always be newbies and thier will always be duplicated questions, which is why I propose a FAQ FORUM that is CONTROLLED by the moderators and READ-ONLY to everyone else. And it doesn't have to be limited to Frequent dups...just any really good knowledge on setup, and config would be a great thing.

My 2(0) cents.
dahukanna
Firstly, I agree with Stubear, offroadgeek and ScottYelich about letting people know from the start what is expected behaviour within forums and posting questions. I also think that as a community we should not lose perspective on why people may not request help in an ideal fashion. Most owners fall into a number of categories the main ones being
1. Total tech illiterate but willing to learn
2. tech literate but unfamiliar with zaurus/linux conventions and
3. know everything
I'm sure that that I could be more specific but that's just the issue, you don't know what you don't know.

One suggestion I would like to make is that user group members of more than 6 months ? or > 100 postings have some responsibility to produce how-tos, FAQs etc on all the things they encountered.
What do you think ?
padishah_emperor
Agreed. I'd love to help out more.
gizard
I tend to agree with what has been said - myself being a complete newbie to this forum and my shiney new C860. I have posted some questions and then wondered whether I could have done more searches to find the answer.

I have come across the same issues in other forums (of completely different subject matter where I have been more knowledgable) and as said I have helped out where I can but usually you do need to ask more questions - but if you know the answer just posting a link can be a great help. So yes I think rules of posting etc. maybe good - How about a template for questions - it may not cover enough though.

Anyway thanks for all your invaluable help so far - one day I may learn the force!!! - oh some of you might be pleased to know my MS pockect PC died again and lost all it's data the other day - (maybe the Zaurus gave it a good kicking when I wasn't looking! wink.gif )
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