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How to ask questions and find the right answers

How to ask questions and find the right answers

An introduction to finding help online when beginning programming. Given at RailsGirls Oulu.

Florian Plank

November 09, 2013
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  1. H W TO ASK QUESTIONS
    AND FIND THE RIGHT ANSWERS

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  2. You will f*ck up.

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  3. You will f*ck up.
    Every day.

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  4. And that’s okay.

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  5. And that’s okay.
    It’s the best part, really.

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  6. “Your pain is the breaking of the shell
    that encloses your understanding.”
    Khalil Gibran

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  7. (A story of a button.)

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  8. Getting ahead in 5 easy steps

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  9. Admit that you have a problem.
    1

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  10. Narrow it down.
    3

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  11. A Is something broken?
    B Are you stuck?

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  12. - What does it take to trigger the problem?
    - What is it that you want to achieve?
    - What happens instead?
    A

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  13. - What is it that you want to achieve?
    - What is involved?
    - Where are you getting stuck?
    B

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  14. A
    “Do you have a name”?
    Check the documentation.

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  15. A + B
    Too fuzzy? — Use a search engine.
    Don’t bother with site searches.

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  16. What does it take to trigger the problem?
    What is it that you want to achieve?
    What happens instead?
    A
    WHEN
    THEN
    BUT

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  17. What is it that you want to achieve?
    What is involved?
    Where are you getting stuck?
    B
    WHAT
    WITH
    HOW

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  18. - Leave your emotions at the door.
    - Formulate your question with the answer
    in mind.
    - Be speci c in your terms.
    - Consider variations of your problem.
    - e order of the search terms matters.
    - Let the results guide your next question.

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  19. A + B
    Evaluate the results.

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  20. - How old is an answer? Check the date.
    - How trustworthy is the source?
    - Explanation or just a code snippet?
    - Close, but no cigar? —Can you adapt an
    answer to your use case?

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  21. Ask for help.
    5

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  22. (What is Stackover ow and how does it work?)

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  23. So, you think you’re ready
    to ask a question?

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  24. Have you exhausted all other means?

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  25. Did you search for similar questions?

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  26. Really?
    Alright then —

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  27. - Leave your emotions at the door.
    - Be speci c, be brief.

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  28. - Leave your emotions at the door!
    - Provide all necessary context.
    - Show that and what you’ve tried.
    - Be speci c, be brief.
    - Make it relevant to others.
    - Keep an open mind.
    - Be nice.

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  29. - Use as little tags a as possible.
    - Don’t use buzzwords.
    - is is not a honey pot!

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  30. Now wait. Go, do something else.
    Be patient.

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  31. Found what you needed?

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  32. Found what you needed?
    Take some time to understand.

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  33. Comment. Ask follow–up questions.
    Be grateful.

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  34. Experts
    Beginners

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  35. Experts
    Beginners
    Highly specialized questions
    Universal questions

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  36. Someone somewhere had the same
    problem than you before.

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  37. Give up for the moment

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  38. Give up for the moment,
    but never for good.

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  39. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

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  40. Writing Ruby is a magical experience,
    but Ruby is not magic.

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  41. Here’s something to get you started:

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