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4.00/5 (7 votes)
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I want to ask a good question, but when I try I don't get many good points :(

Can somebody help me to make a good question that will get good score. I just need something to get me going so I can understand how to be a better user and programming
Sergey Alexandrovich Kryukov 9-Dec-11 13:01pm    
Let's consider your current question first. :-)
1) No question marks -- you provoke down-voting and reporting the question as "No question"
2) No question if fact, just an appeal for help -- some as above. Try to avoid accidents.
3) No platform and language tagged, no comprehensive error report or exception dump, not source code :-)

Jokes aside, the question formally does not belong here. In practice, however, putting this question is a good idea, even being a violation. This is because it is addressed to those interested in Questions & Answers. I voted 4 (unusually high score when I vote for questions).
[no name] 10-Dec-11 1:16am    
My 5! Because got to read great thoughts because of your question.. keep it up.

Ignore the points. They are irrelevant - my Enquirer status is 86, the lowest score I have!

Rep points are pretty much irrelevant for anything, except where they allow you do do more with the site. They don't affect how your question is answered! If you ask a good question, you get a good answer. Asking a good question will not help you be a better user or programmer.

Instead, why not have a look at other peoples questions? You could try to work out an answer for them - you don't have to post it - you will certainly learn more about being a good programmer that way than you will asking questions! It's what I did when I was learning C# - I looked at questions and went off to find my own solution. Pretty soon, I was confident enough to start posting those solutions, and that felt real good!
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Hugo1991 9-Dec-11 10:38am    
Yes you are right. I would like to help others if I can. I will look at more questions. Thanks you!
Sergey Alexandrovich Kryukov 9-Dec-11 13:05pm    
'Do you even know how to read, Griff?'
'No! Why would I need to read? I'm a writer, not a reader!'

'...OK, my 5 for this post. But ignore the points' :-)
OriginalGriff 9-Dec-11 14:00pm    
RaviRanjanKr 9-Dec-11 14:32pm    
My 5+
Manoj Kumar Choubey 27-Jul-12 0:38am    
My 5+
If you got stuck with any problem, instead of just thinking and worrying about it, write it down. Many times when you actually write your problem you will get your solution there only. Because to write down anything you need to properly organize it. And believe me if you really able to understand your written problem.. now its good time to post it on CP or google it.

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Sergey Alexandrovich Kryukov 9-Dec-11 13:35pm    
Vise advice! I voted 5 and credited it in my answer.
In fact, I added some more to it -- please see.
RaviRanjanKr 9-Dec-11 14:31pm    
My 5!
Ok then, being a Programmer/Developer, you must know how to search using Google at first before posting a question. We programmers/developers will get a better and quick response thru Google. Treat google as your bestfriend :) Then if it still didn't fix your problems, you can post it here :)

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Hugo1991 9-Dec-11 10:34am    
Sometime Google does not understand what I want very well. I know what you mean still and I will try more on Google before I ask a question. Thank you! I will look for you when I need another question!
Sergey Alexandrovich Kryukov 9-Dec-11 13:39pm    
Hey, Google does not understand it at first. Usually you need to repeat the question. :-)
Sometime Google will not understand the question when you repeat it three or more times :-); in this question you should reformulate the query in several different way. Jokes aside, usually the root problem is that you are unfamiliar with terminology. The search should be iterative. It's also about some skills to understand what you read.
You can start by knowing How Not to Ask a Question.

Beyond that, I'd say there are some simple points to ask a good question:

  1. Use proper grammar/spelling.
  2. Format the question well (e.g., I am using a numbered list in this response, which one could use in a question).
  3. Include screenshots or code snippets where appropriate.
  4. Consider your audience. We are just a bunch of volunteers. We don't know what you are thinking, so you have to explain it.
  5. Ask the question using as few words as necessary, but no fewer. Basically, make it as easy as possible for us to understand your question.
  6. Ask a question. Often, people will explain some problem, but will not explicitly ask their question.
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All the advice on this page should be taken into account as none of them are comprehensive.

I would start with reading the rules.

First, I want to add some ideas to a vise advice by Pranit.

I would add, don't rush and don't jump to the solution. Think around related problems some more even if you think there is a solution. Sleep over with a problem.

Likewise, after the problem is written, don't rush to post it. Even if you tried hard to solve the problem yourself but failed, this experience will be a great favor.

In fact, if you ask question and get good answer, you may even fail to understand them properly if you did not try to solve it yourself. Unfortunately, too many inquirers are not prepared to get help!

Most devastating problem here is incorrect formulation of questions. First, please see my comments to this question. This is a joke, but with a good hint.

Let's set aside questions where people request to do their own work, the questions where people don't know what they want — there are too many of them. Let's aside those not using Wikipedia, Google, StackOverflow and CodeProject search before asking a question.

Most important thing is this: don't ask just what exactly you want at the moment. Always explain you ultimate goals. I rarely answer exact same answer, instead, I'm thinking about real help, which is not the same. Your question could be based on misconception or preoccupation with wrong conception like some methods and techniques leading to wrong direction. Experts can help you to fix the direction, but only if you explain you ultimate goal, not just what you want to achieve immediately.

In particular, never ask "What's the difference between {0} and {1}?". Just don't. What's the difference between apple and Apple?
[EDIT] See also this related post, I think it's kind of interesting: what is the difference between the class and encapsulation in programming[^]. [/EDIT]

Now, code. The code sample should be short but comprehensive. This is hard to do, sometimes impossible. That said, you should develop some special code sample just for posting a question. Ideally, it should compile and run, yet demonstrating a problem. I know, this is often impossible. Just desirable. At least always paste code from a real code and make sure HTML formatting is correct. Most usual mistake is the failure to escape "<>" with HTML entities. It cab be done with the applet "encode" provided on top of text input box by CodeProject.

Error messages should be presented in detail. Exception information should be presented in detail, complete with exception stack and inner exceptions, recursively. Offending lines of code should be commented with compilation error or exception information.

Finally: correct spelling and grammar! No "textspeak", ever. Full capitalization, punctuation and spelling, no abbreviations. English as not a native language is not an excuse. (This is not my native language, too, so I know what I'm talking about.) Everyone can use a Web browser with spell checker, such as Firefox/Seamonkey. Just spell checking can be obtained free of charge these days.

This is a matter of elementary politeness. Sloppy writing is simply rude.

Thank you for this discussion.
Good luck,
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[no name] 9-Dec-11 13:42pm    
My 5! Great advice, as usual.
Sergey Alexandrovich Kryukov 9-Dec-11 14:19pm    
Thank you, Pranit.
RaviRanjanKr 9-Dec-11 14:31pm    
Nice advice! My 5!
Sergey Alexandrovich Kryukov 9-Dec-11 14:36pm    
Thank you, Ravi.

Interesting related post: (References in the updated answer above, see after [EDIT].)
Mohamed Mitwalli 17-Jul-12 1:36am    
This is a good example of a well-formulated question: Get the HP printer status[^].

Please also see my comment to it. I'm not saying the question itself is good (interesting, important or something like that), I'm just saying it is an example of adequate formulation of the problem.

In many cases, it would require some more detail: separate explanation of the ultimate purpose of the work, what was attempted by the sample code, what was expected to observe, what exactly was observed (because this is not yet a fact that all readers can reproduce the same results) and why the inquirer think these results are wrong. In some problems, this is apparent, in some — it needs separate explanations.

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