Beefy Boxes and Bandwidth Generously Provided by pair Networks
Perl: the Markov chain saw
 
PerlMonks  

Comment on

( #3333=superdoc: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

Standard English version of this node

Make your question better

Chatterbox
If you are a registered user, you can ask simple questions in the Chatterbox. Sometimes you can get a very quick answer. Keep Chatterbox questions short and simple.

Search
Before you post a new question, you should always search for old questions. Monks in the chatterbox can help you find the right words for your search. There is also an advanced search, called super search.

Other places to Search
You should check the Perl documentation. perldoc has documentation for the standard parts of Perl. CPAN has documentation for more modules. There's also Google code search

Title
After you search, use some of the same words in your title. Next time someone doing the same search will find your question first. Use a title that describes your question exactly. Don't use a title like 'Perl Problem' or 'Help!', they are very bad titles.

Perl
Perl will tell you more if you have "use strict; use warnings; use diagnostics;" in your code. Test your code yourself. Don't post untested code.

Explain your problem
Say what you want to do. Say what you tried. Show your code. Put your code in 'CODE' tags like this: <CODE>my $code;</CODE> . Don't post too much code. More than 20 lines is too much.

Show your error messages. Don't show too much. The first error is usually the most important error.

Check your question
Use the preview button. Read your question. Have you explained your problem? Is your English clear? Perlmonks does not format your question. Use <P> tags to make your question more readable. Use the preview button. Use code tags and the preview button again.

Patience
Beginner questions are usually answered in less than one hour. Answers take longer on weekends. Never post the same question twice. When you have an answer, read it very carefully. If you don't understand it, reply to the answer. Say "please use simple English". Read everything carefully and slowly.

Don't change your question after you post it. Use preview or post a comment on your own question.

Not all questions get moved to the Monastery Gates. Your question will get answered anyway.

Rules
Many of the rules here are the same as any web forum. Be polite. Don't make demands. Don't shout. Don't post personal information, email addresses or passwords. There are more rules in the Perlmonks FAQ

Environment and sample data
What input you are using? What does the output look like? What operating system? Does it matter? If you aren't sure, say it anyway.

Why strict and warnings?
Always use strict and warnings in your code. It helps you find possible errors. Don't remove strict and warnings to make warnings and errors go away. "use diagnostics" helps to understand the errors. If you still don't understand the messages, ask someone.

Bad Questions
Bad Questions can be seen in Worst Nodes. Why are they bad? Are you doing the same thing?

Getting better
If you are already doing everything here, look at some of the other nodes about posting questions, including How (not) to ask a question.


Background

This potential tutorial is specifically aimed at new monks who take one look at How (not) to ask a question and just give up, thinking "that's too long" or "I don't understand all that", and thus repeatedly ask bad questions. I don't assume the reader is an idiot, but I assume he is a beginner, has difficulty with English, and is impatient. The 'Simple English', in the title is intended to be attractive and not insulting for new monks. I'm also intentionally avoiding modal verbs, idioms and obscure vocab. I've left many qualifiers out, like 'unless' 'except when', and 'for beginners'. More experienced monks will know where they belong.

There are already many nodes about asking questions, but they are so long and full of links that they can be very daunting to someone who does not speak English well and is impatient (a nasty combination). I'm not trying to replace the older, wiser nodes, but act as a stepladder towards them. In particular, some new monks keep getting sent to How (not) to ask a question, which begins with a link to an outdated FAQ saying 'read this first'. The FAQ then links immediately to 9 other docs. Even a native English speaker could take most of a day to read all of that AND understand it. One of the goals in this node is to minimize such distractions.

I asked for feedback in the chatterbox. In line with my goal of keeping this really short, I decided against a section about 'please fix my mess for me' (rentacoder) kind of questions, because somehow I feel that monks just shouldn't get upset about this. Sometimes the lucky novice even gets the code they demanded. Instead I just added "don't make demands" after "be polite".

In line with chatterbox feedback, I scrapped the section on CPAN, to keep it to the point of 'read this before posting'.

Some form of this background comment will remain on the final version.


In reply to How To Ask A Question (Simple English) (RFC) by Boldra

Title:
Use:  <p> text here (a paragraph) </p>
and:  <code> code here </code>
to format your post; it's "PerlMonks-approved HTML":



  • Posts are HTML formatted. Put <p> </p> tags around your paragraphs. Put <code> </code> tags around your code and data!
  • Read Where should I post X? if you're not absolutely sure you're posting in the right place.
  • Please read these before you post! —
  • Posts may use any of the Perl Monks Approved HTML tags:
    a, abbr, b, big, blockquote, br, caption, center, col, colgroup, dd, del, div, dl, dt, em, font, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, hr, i, ins, li, ol, p, pre, readmore, small, span, spoiler, strike, strong, sub, sup, table, tbody, td, tfoot, th, thead, tr, tt, u, ul, wbr
  • Outside of code tags, you may need to use entities for some characters:
            For:     Use:
    & &amp;
    < &lt;
    > &gt;
    [ &#91;
    ] &#93;
  • Link using PerlMonks shortcuts! What shortcuts can I use for linking?
  • See Writeup Formatting Tips and other pages linked from there for more info.
  • Log In?
    Username:
    Password:

    What's my password?
    Create A New User
    Chatterbox?
    and the web crawler heard nothing...

    How do I use this? | Other CB clients
    Other Users?
    Others exploiting the Monastery: (3)
    As of 2014-09-02 05:28 GMT
    Sections?
    Information?
    Find Nodes?
    Leftovers?
      Voting Booth?

      My favorite cookbook is:










      Results (20 votes), past polls