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.

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Florian Plank

November 09, 2013
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Transcript

  1. H W TO ASK QUESTIONS AND FIND THE RIGHT ANSWERS

  2. You will f*ck up.

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

  4. And that’s okay.

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

  6. “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses

    your understanding.” Khalil Gibran
  7. (A story of a button.)

  8. Getting ahead in 5 easy steps

  9. Admit that you have a problem. 1

  10. Walk away. 2

  11. Narrow it down. 3

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

  13. - What does it take to trigger the problem? -

    What is it that you want to achieve? - What happens instead? A
  14. - What is it that you want to achieve? -

    What is involved? - Where are you getting stuck? B
  15. Research. 4

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

  17. None
  18. None
  19. A + B Too fuzzy? — Use a search engine.

    Don’t bother with site searches.
  20. None
  21. ?

  22. What does it take to trigger the problem? What is

    it that you want to achieve? What happens instead? A WHEN THEN BUT
  23. What is it that you want to achieve? What is

    involved? Where are you getting stuck? B WHAT WITH HOW
  24. - 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.
  25. A + B Evaluate the results.

  26. - 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?
  27. Ask for help. 5

  28. None
  29. (What is Stackover ow and how does it work?)

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

  31. Have you exhausted all other means?

  32. Did you search for similar questions?

  33. Really?

  34. Really? Alright then —

  35. None
  36. None
  37. - Leave your emotions at the door. - Be speci

    c, be brief.
  38. None
  39. None
  40. None
  41. - 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.
  42. None
  43. - Use as little tags a as possible. - Don’t

    use buzzwords. - is is not a honey pot!
  44. None
  45. None
  46. Now wait. Go, do something else. Be patient.

  47. Found what you needed?

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

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

  50. Repeat. ∞

  51. Experts Beginners

  52. Experts Beginners Highly specialized questions Universal questions

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

  54. Give up.

  55. Give up for the moment

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

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

  58. Writing Ruby is a magical experience, but Ruby is not

    magic.
  59. Here’s something to get you started:

  60. None
  61. None
  62. @polarblau