How to ask for help

  • When you have a problem that you would like help with, the forums are a great place to get it.

    When you ask a question your asking someone to spend time assisting you, so the least you can do is to make helping you as easy as possible for that person.

    Here we'll look at some good ways to phrase a question so you get an answer that is actually useful.
  • If you knew you would only get 1 reply each day, would you want that reply to be a question asking for more information?
  • Level 0: A Question no one can help you with

    Q: "Can someone please help me, the audios not working. Need help ASAP!"

    Whats wrong with it?
    There is nothing the reader of the question can work with. They don't know where your system is. They can't possibly tell what is wrong with it and can't possibly provide any useful information.

    On top of that "Need help ASAP!" is demanding an answer like someone has to help you.

    The only options the reader of the question has is either to ask for more information or to ignore the question.
  • Level 1: bad question.

    Q: "What does this mean?"

    [08-Jul-2013 11:00:14] PHP Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 262144 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 77824 bytes) in /home/server/public_html/include/somewhere.php on line 110 "

    Why is that bad?
    It gives no surrounding context on what you were doing when it happened. The answer you will get is probably not going to help you solve the situation.

    If you want to solve the situation, try including a goal of what you are trying to achieve.
  • If you want good answers, ask good questions.
  • Level 2: Average

    Q: "Help, I'm getting a blank page, what do I do? It started after I made some template changes and uploaded them. Now my site just shows a white page everywhere."

    Whats wrong with that?
    Its a fair question. It would be a decent question if it hadn't been asked a thousand times before. Asking a question that has been asked and solved many many times before and has a dedicated section in the FAQ can only ever rate as average.

    Use the search button first, if there's no help there, ask away.
  • If you want to use google or other search engines to search you can do it with this syntax: (your search term here)

    This will return only results from
  • Level 3: Good

    Q: "I'm wanting to do xxxxxx. When I try, this is the result. The expected result was. I have tried this xxxx and this xxxx and this xxxxx. These are the URL's to see it happening. OR: These are the steps so you can recreate the problem."

    Why is this good?
    It shows the reader what the problem is, what the goal is. It shows the reader that the asker has tried to solve the problem on their own, but needs assistance. It shows the reader how to recreate the problem so they can see if they can reproduce it, then possibly fix it.
  • The more information you can give about what you have done to try to solve the problem the better.