Asking good questions

For when you need HELP!

June 7, 2015

Getting stuck on a problem is inevitable. Every software developer has had to ask questions at some point or another! It's important to ask good questions in order to get the help you need.

I haven't asked too many questions on Stack Overflow because 98% of the time, someone has already asked the same question.

But if you're going to take the SO plunge, here's some tips on how to ask good questions, culled from SO and Jon Skeet's coding blog.

  1. If your post needs a title, make the title as specific as possible. The title is one of the most eye-catching aspects of a question.
  2. Make the first paragraph in your post concise and explicative of your problem. This is the most-read portion of question's content.
  3. Include relevant tags
  4. Proof-read your question
  5. Imagine you are to answer the question. What's being asked? If you were coming into the question without any context, would you potentially be able to understand what's going on?
  6. Describe what you've already tried in order to solve the problem.
  7. Again: make sure it's clear what you are trying to accomplish! What's your input, and what's your intended output?

I hope that helps! I know Stack Overflow can be really intimidating. Once your question gets an up-vote (or even better, once your first answer has been up-voted!), you'll feel like this: