Asking Good Questions

Whenever you’re asking for help, you should be sure that you’re putting the same amount of effort into asking the question as you’d like to get out of the person answering your question. If you simply post “My code isn’t working, someone fix it”, that doesn’t give anyone much to go on.

Here are few things you can do to make sure you’re asking a good question:

Be very clear about your question.

Instead of simply saying “I’m getting SyntaxError: invalid syntax”, provide some context. A much better outlining of the issue would be:

"I’m working through Discovery Module 4, Lesson 1, step 12. When I’m running my code, I get a SyntaxError: invalid syntax on Line 1, which currently reads:
monthly_income = int(input(What is your gross monthly income?))

I think this line should be taking in user input for their monthly incoming and storing it in the variable monthly_income as an integer."

Screenshots, specific mentions of the step where you’re having the issue, and code snippets can all provide essential context to help someone who might be able to answer your question understand why you’re having an issue. It’s also good practice to follow your question up with what you think should be happening; not only does this help someone reading your question, but the practice of walking through your issue could help you find your own mistake.

You should also tag your post with any relevant tags to help those searching for similar problems in the future find your question. Tags can be added beside the Category dropdown when creating a new post. First, tag the module, then the specific tags relating to lessons in that module will become available. (If you’re working on the example above, you’d add the tag “module-4” and then the tag “4-1”)

Tell the reader what you've tried.

Using trial and error aimlessly or immediately asking for help when you run into an issue won’t make you a better programmer, and it won’t make others likely to want to help you. This means that if you’ve looked other places for help, such as Google or StackOverflow, you should talk about it in your post.

One of the main places you should definitely look is on this site; it’s possible that someone else has already asked the question you came here to ask or run into a similar issue and received an answer that you’ll be able to adapt to your own needs.

When in doubt, overcommunicate.

The easiest error to make when asking questions here is failing to provide enough information. In an online community like this, we can’t look over your shoulder at your screen to see what may be going on, so it’s always best to be sure that readers have all the essential information.

If you do all these things, you’re much more likely to receive a helpful answer.

Once you get an answer that helps you, be sure to select that as the correct response to your question using the checkmark beside the response. This way, if other students come across your same issue, that answer will be pinned as the solved response and they’ll know where to turn next.

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