[new members] How do I ask a good question?

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#1: Post by HB »

I participate on a programming site called Stack Overflow. They are a dedicated Q&A forum and are hyper-focused on neatly delineating the topic; their FAQ How do I ask a good question? offers very good advice for anyone seeking answers, notably this excerpt:
Stack Overflow wrote:Write a title that summarizes the specific problem. The title is the first thing potential answerers will see, and if your title isn't interesting, they won't read the rest. So make it count:
  • Pretend you're talking to a busy colleague and have to sum up your entire question in one sentence: what details can you include that will help someone identify and solve your problem?
  • Spelling, grammar and punctuation are important! Remember, this is the first part of your question others will see - you want to make a good impression. If you're not comfortable writing in English, ask a friend to proof-read it for you.
  • If you're having trouble summarizing the problem, write the title last - sometimes writing the rest of the question first can make it easier to describe the problem.
In the body of your question, start by expanding on the summary you put in the title. Explain how you encountered the problem you're trying to solve, and any difficulties that have prevented you from solving it yourself. The first paragraph in your question is the second thing most readers will see, so make it as engaging and informative as possible.

Since visitors may not know them, avoid using acronyms and abbreviations, especially in the subject.
As counter examples, a thread subject with no verb or vagueness like "XYZ question" or "ABC issue" says very little about the actual question and isn't very search-friendly, increasing the likelihood that the next visitor won't find the prior discussion, leading to repeat questions.

Additionally, equipment mega threads are "collector topics" that don't summarize a specific problem/observation, so over time, they meander from subject-to-subject with the only common theme being the piece of equipment. Such threads are not very search-friendly; those who join the conversation rarely read the thread in its entirety, so new participants inevitably ask questions that have been asked/answered before. That's why we recommend that before creating a new reply, consider the recommendations above.
Dan Kehn
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#2: Post by JR_Germantown »

I'll have to steal that stackoverflow link. ;)

For years, I've referred newbies to this, which is probably from the listserv/usenet era:

I like the stackoverflow version better.