Wa can’t help you unless you help us. That’s the mantra I’ve been following last few years, especially during my time at StackOverflow. While helping others, I learned one crucial thing, you need to be prepared if you require someone’s help.
If you are reading this article, someone probably told you to come here. By all means, this is not a bad thing, this article is here to help you, while also, at a same time, helping someone else in the future. I will write this article from the perspective of Ionic Framework, but everything said here can easily translate to any other topic.
Before you write a question
Search and research before you even consider writing a forum question. This forum (you can also include StackOverflow in this formula) is a several years old site; there’s a good chance someone already asked this question and was given an answer.
You can yield the best result if you only limit your questions to Ionic forum and StackOverflow. Open your web browser, and Google these:
site:ionicframework.com <your question should go here> site:stackoverflow.com/ <your question should go here>
For example, this is how I yesterday helped someone regarding his Cordova problem:
site:stackoverflow.com Cordova 5 splash screen missing
You can do it even better if you limit search period to last few months. In previously mentioned case, I got the result after limiting search period to only one month. And what would you know, the first result was also a right one.
If you haven’t found a suitable answer and before we go any further, bookmark every similar question/answer. You may need then as a reference point when you start writing your question.
What not to ask
Never ask someone to do your job or assignment, show at least some effort. Instead of asking as to do your job, try it yourself, stumble and ask how to solve your current problem.
Now you are ready to ask your question. First write your title carefully, it should not be too long or too short. Usually, everything you want to know should be summarized in the question title.
For example, take a look at this purely written question title: How to click a div on jquery. Open that link if you want to understand why I’m calling it purely written. You will see that question title has nothing to do with the question itself. It was close in less than 8 minutes.
Yeah, I know that was a StackOverflow question, but rules are the same.
On the other hand, this is an example of correctly written title: how to pass parameter in jquery using .on?. It doesn’t matter if this question starts with lowercase letter and on keyword is not mentioned as a function. It’s perfectly clear what user wants to know.
Question content – What have you done so far
A content is an important part of your question. Before you write anything, carefully think what you want to say. Imagine you’re asking someone directly about this question, write that down, and make sure it make sense. Don’t write to much, people don’t prefer to read a longer question, this is not a dissertation. At the same time don’t make it to short, everyone needs to understand a point of your question.
- What platform are you using? iOS or Android?
- What OS environment? Windows, Linux, MacOS?
- Have you received an error or is it just not working?
- Cordova version if you have already wrapped your app?
Next thing, especially if you are asking a code related question, make sure you add part of your code. I am talking about problematic code, don’t overdo it, add the only code you think it is relevant to your question, nothing else. Also don’t forget to wrap your code using forum text editor. If you want me to be more precise, this button:
For example take a look at these templates I’m using:
- Simple template – link
- Ionic Master Detail Patterm – link
- Ionic Framework passing data between pages – link
- Ionic Framework side menu template – link
If you manage to create a working example, don’t forget to tell us how to recreate your problem. You would be amazed how many people forget to do that.
Don’t forget to tell us what you’ve already done. When you show us what you have already done, we can know where to look further plus you will show us that you spent some effort trying to solve the problem.
Last but not least, if you’re running Ionic CLI, post output of this command:
Question content – What do you expect from us
In the end, you should elaborate your problem, what’s happening and what do you expect from us. This is the most important part of your question. It doesn’t matter how well is your question written if you can explain your problem.
This is an important step, when you ask your question don’t immediately leave, stay at lease half an hour up to one hour looking at your question. People will usually leave you comments asking for more information, you need to be able to provide them. You will not get sanctioned because of this, but there’s a good chance other users will disregard your question and go further.
If you receive an answer that has solved your question, please consider liking it by clicking the heart icon. This indicates to the wider community that you’ve found a solution and gives some reputation to both the answerer and yourself. There is no obligation to do this. This will significantly improve chances of your question getting answered in the future.