RFC - How to ask...by ww (Archbishop)
|on Feb 14, 2009 at 06:51 UTC||Need Help??|
Update: 2009-02-15 ca 1730 GMT: THIS VERSION IS NO LONGER CURRENT.
FOR A CURRENT VERSION The current version -- improved by the many folk who've replied or /msged about this -- has been posted to How do I post a question effectively?. Since we anticipate additional improvements, please check that and /msg SDC. Thanks
How to ask a question effectively
This is a little long. But, please, at least scan it. It's our best effort to help you get help. These are not "rules for the sake of rules" but, rather, guidelines to help you help us to help you.
So here we go (and eventually, we'll even get around to "Where to ask?"):
First and foremost, think through your question.
Write it down -- preferably in your editor on your machine.
Look away for a moment; perhaps mull the question over some more.
Edit for clarity and precision (leet-speek iz rong on both cnts!). Spelling and grammar count (but we try hard to understand if English is not your native tongue).
Repeat as necessary. It's often said and often true that explaining a problem to a rubber ducky or to a teddy bear will show you a solution.
Show us that you've made an effort.
If you do, it's likely someone will provide pointers in the right direction.
Now you're getting close to a good question.
But before you post it, take another step. Include (inside <code>...</code> or <c>...</c> tags) a minimal, compilable script that demonstrates your problem and sample data (input).
Use strict and warnings. If you don't, and your sample code throws errors or warnings, NodeReaper (or some solicitous Monasterian) will throw that in your face.
Again, use code tags without fail or the Monks' outrage may lead them to conclude, prayerfully, of course, that you need penance. In fact, failure to use at least minimal markup will almost certainly persuade some of the Reverend Brothers and Sisters to point you to the sackcloth and ashes in the third sub-dungeon. ( See Markup in the Monastery for quick reference or Perl Monks Approved HTML tags for an exhaustive list of what's allowed.) And be sure to close your tags; the special dialect of html used here is unforgiving about failure to close some tags.
Preview. See if what the preview screen shows looks like what you intended. And if it doesn't, fix your markup, and preview again. ONLY when your note "looks right" should the "Create" button tempt you.
Select an informative title. "Need help ASAP" doesn't cut it. Neither does the name of any Perl function.
OK, but what was that 'or not' business about?
Ah, I'm glad you asked.
Laziness is one of the virtues admired by Perl programmers -- in themselves or when demonstrated with competence and verve! It is not admired when demonstrated by a Seeker of Perl Wisdom who is too lazy to adhere to the hints above; who posts ambiguous questions; who fails to read the docs (see perldoc perldoc for an overview of the knowledge that's at your fingertips; or who inconveniences thousands of electrons to ask redundant questions.
But I never asked that question before!
No, but surely you don't think you're the first to come to the mountaintop seeking that wisdom, do you?
Super_Search is your friend. Use it! Or Google PM. Big G is quite good at finding nodes here that will help you, if you ask with reasonable search terms.
But I'm new at this; I don't know what search terms to use!
Ah, that plaint is sometimes justified, but have you RTFMed How to RTFM? Did you look at the plethora of information available via perldoc or at perldoc.perl.org? The Tutorials may also speed your search for enlightenment.
And a few scattershot points:
More to come... Suggestions to ww.
But all I wanted to know is "where to post my question?"
Wow! How can I thank you enough?
Adhere to these suggestions... and pass them on to others.
What would you add/remove/change? ( Given the date of posting, note that valentines and brickbats are equally welcome. :-) )