Pro tip spree on the fascinating and deceptively complex task of asking someone (knowledgeable) for help on an issue/error/problem of yours:

People are natural problem solvers. You can take advantage of this by making the right preparations and asking the right questions.

① Never ask someone if you may ask them a question.

Chances are they won't know if your question is acceptable until you ask it. It's a waste of your and their time. Just ask the question instead.

② Never ask if someone has done <X>.

It is highly unusual that nobody in the entire world has done <X>, and it is not a qualifier for whether someone can help you with your issues. You'll get a grumpy "no, you're the first person in the universe" back...

③ Never ask if someone *knows* about <X>.

The question, like the one in ②, is needlessly disqualifying people who may very well be able to help you with your issues. Whether someone knows <X> vs whether they can help you are distinct to a surprising degree.

④ Only ask a question that Google top results won't tell you.

Just Google it. Check the first page worth of results. Try different criteria. I know it's a pain in the ass, but signs of laziness often result in being shunned. If you won't take the time, why the fuck should they?

⑤ Prove that you've spent time on the problem.

You can do this by, for instance, pinpointing the error you are seeing as precisely as possible (anyone can do this by trial and error, but it may be time consuming).

Critically, relay the information you think is most critical--

Follow

--to troubleshooting your problem.

"the docs suck! nothing works!" will usually not motivate anyone to spend time for your sake.

"I am trying to get <X> to do <Y> but it is freezing up|throwing <ERROR>; I tried <APPROACH1-3> but no luck. Any ideas?", however, often will.

· Mastodon Twitter Crossposter · 1 · 1 · 2

⑥ Bonus: once your issue has been resolved, be an awesome fellow and update the documentation so that the next "you" can be enlightened in the particular way that you would have needed. Pay it forward, so to say.

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