How to ask a question
October 04th, 2018
The following article was originally posted on Phurix labs from at least
(HTML) ~2011-2013, but that site is no longer up.
I have reposted it here in its entirety because I have found it to be
incredibly useful over the years.
Some links have been changed from the original to maintain the
usefulness of the article.
If you are the original author and would like credit or would like this
taken down, please shoot an email to me at: zcrayfish at gmail . com
(HTML) The article was originally on the web, so here's an HTML version too.
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How to ask a question
I have helped out with a few different subjects on a few different IRC
channels and even some forums. This was created because it seems that
people find asking a question very difficult, so this is a short
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Always ask yourself... ``What information do I want to
know?'', once you know the answer to this question, ask the question
that will get you that information.
For further understanding, read below...
Educated questions are far better, try and google your issue first
before you ask in public, as you may end up humiliating yourself.
Now, are you sure you read the manual?
Read it again just in case you missed something, BEFORE you ask your
Is it a question?
One way to ensure people know you are asking a question is to put a
question mark (?) at the end of your sentence.
This will ensure that people are aware you are asking a question, and
not just making a statement.
To most this will seem obvious, but sometimes it is overlooked.
Don't ask to ask Just ask!
If you have a question just ask it, don't ask to ask.
Don't take surveys
Questions starting with (but not limited to) the following are bad:
You can bet somebody will know, or at least point you in the right
direction? so just ask your question!
Moving the goal posts is not allowed
> How many men are there?
< About 10
> No, How many men are there in the UK?
Avoid this by asking your question with all the requirements and
specification in the first place.
Try it first/Make a test case
Have you actually tried to do what you're asking about yourself first?
Try it out, make a test case. Tell whoever you're asking that you have
tried it, show them what you tried, and tell them the results.
Have you made a test case? Making a test case will make it far easier
for you to identify the problem.
Use your own domain/website
If you need help and it involves use of your domain, use your domain, or
if you are using a hypothetical example, use one of the example domains
(HTML) (such as example.com) as according to RFC 2606.
It's simple really, use your own domain, or the example one.
Showing us your domain/website can help us help you in many more ways
than you think.
We're not out to get you, so just tell us, save the guessing.
If it looks like a fish, smells like a fish...
Chances are it's a fish. Avoid stupid questions by assuming the obvious.
Only when you are still unsure should you ask.
Do not use private messaging without permission
The reason for this is that more than one person may be able to help
you. If one person shows explicit interest and requests you to private
message them, only then should you do so.
If your question is long...
Always try and make it as concise as possible.
(HTML) Remember a picture speaks a thousand words, try a screenshot.
(HTML) If all else fails, use a paste bin!
Always be polite and say thanks where due.
Help is a privilege not a right.
If you find the solution, let us know so others can benefit.
(HTML) *How to ask questions the smart way
(HTML) *Frequently Given Questions
(HTML) *Netiquette Guidelines
(HTML) *#CSS EFnet FAQ
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