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View Poll Results: Question or background ?
I prefer the question first, then the background to it. 13 65.00%
I prefer the background first, then the problem to be solved. 7 35.00%
Voters: 20. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-02-2010, 02:39 PM   #1
smoker
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Order of questions


I'm interested in your opinions.

Which do you prefer to see mentioned first in a question ?

(presuming both are mentioned in the post)

1) The question ?
2) The background to the question ?

Does it matter, or hinder your understanding ?
Cheers.
 
Old 09-02-2010, 03:20 PM   #2
MensaWater
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Being rather verbose myself I've often found people won't read everything one writes. Therefore I try to do summary questions first then give the background. The question may peak the interest of someone who then may take the time to read the background. Of course since we can put titles on posts I try to make my title concise for that purpose and may put the question(s) at the end.

The background is important - there's many a person I've responded to based on the sparse information in their post who comes back with a purpose completely at odds with the question he asked or the response made to the question based on assumed intent.
 
Old 09-02-2010, 03:23 PM   #3
Ahmed
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Depends really on the complexity of the problem. Simple questions are appropriately asked as:

Quote:
"How do I modify foo to achieve bar? I'm on distro-X version Y running XFCE"
But then on the other hand, with a more complex problem it's also appropriate to bring some chronology:

Quote:
"Hi, I'm running distro-X on this and that laptop and was trying to set up my xorg.conf to support foo. I downloaded the drivers from bar.org, compiled them succesfully without problems, followed online instructions in modifying xorg.conf, loaded the module into the kernel, but then after rebooting, the X-server crashes with error blah. What do I make of this, and how do I get foo to work?"
So both your choices are valid, depending on the problem. I don't mind either.

-A
 
Old 09-02-2010, 04:27 PM   #4
tredegar
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I prefer the Q first: "X, Y and Z do not work, they used to".

Then I can move on if any of X, Y or Z are outside my area of interest, or understanding.

Then I like to read the background: "I'm running minix 0.02 on a ... with apache ... in a virtual machine".

Then again, I can choose to move on.

So, I suppose I prefer the poster to put the "bare-bones" question first, and then flesh it out with more details.

It is a waste of time to read a long post about robotics (for example), for the poster to say in the last line "I'm running linux on my lawnmower, it has a 50cc Engine, and won't network"
 
Old 09-02-2010, 04:39 PM   #5
estabroo
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I like the question in kind of a short summary form, mostly because when I'm going through the forum list I mouse over the titles that interest me and it shows you the first couple of lines of text from the body of the post
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 09-02-2010, 06:17 PM   #6
XavierP
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As this is non-technical and relates to the usage of LQ, I have moved it to LQ Suggestions & Feedback.
 
Old 09-03-2010, 04:04 AM   #7
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estabroo View Post
I like the question in kind of a short summary form, mostly because when I'm going through the forum list I mouse over the titles that interest me and it shows you the first couple of lines of text from the body of the post
Not only 'mouse over', but also if you receive updates via RSS, the posting is often truncated, and the first question I want to answer is 'Is this in my area of interest?' (whether that is to help, or to read the answers from experts in order to learn).

I think, for me, the perfect question is structured something like this:

Quote:
I'm having a problem in networking.

I've connected a Brableweeny Type 33 Sidereal Discombobulator (Purple Model, with optional yellow flash) and can't access it over Telepathy II from my Super Polished Mk 12 crystal ball, can I use an Aldis Lamp instead? I am trying to build a high performance cluster. (Who isn't, these days?)

Would using Windows 1.00 have a lower memory footprint?
...although, I am sure that someone will answer that if only the OP used their choice of distro, all of the problems will go away...
 
Old 09-03-2010, 07:30 AM   #8
MensaWater
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tredegar View Post
It is a waste of time to read a long post about robotics (for example), for the poster to say in the last line "I'm running linux on my lawnmower, it has a 50cc Engine, and won't network"
I guess that would be the ultimate BLADE server...
 
Old 09-05-2010, 10:47 AM   #9
H_TeXMeX_H
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As long as they are separate and easily identifiable, it doesn't matter.
 
Old 09-05-2010, 01:07 PM   #10
smoker
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I voted for the question first for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, as others have pointed out, you can see the first part of a post when you mouse over the entry in the forum index, which gives an idea of what the problem is about.

Secondly, the background to a problem is usually a massive subject, with only certain parts being relevant to the issue at hand. Rather than try to work out what's going on from a description of the situation, I would rather try and spot things that are directly relevant to the stated problem, as I read the background.

I find that posts that begin "so anyway, I was doing something odd with my fstab when a widget said something was wrong ..." and then take 3 paragraphs to get to the point, are hard to answer as they are not really posing a definite question merely a scenario in which we are expected to become absorbed in order to see it from the OPs point of view. Putting a question as the title doesn't really help as the title is usually not big enough to give sufficient detail.

IMHO of course.

Last edited by smoker; 09-05-2010 at 01:09 PM.
 
Old 09-06-2010, 04:44 AM   #11
H_TeXMeX_H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoker View Post
I voted for the question first for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, as others have pointed out, you can see the first part of a post when you mouse over the entry in the forum index, which gives an idea of what the problem is about.

Secondly, the background to a problem is usually a massive subject, with only certain parts being relevant to the issue at hand. Rather than try to work out what's going on from a description of the situation, I would rather try and spot things that are directly relevant to the stated problem, as I read the background.

I find that posts that begin "so anyway, I was doing something odd with my fstab when a widget said something was wrong ..." and then take 3 paragraphs to get to the point, are hard to answer as they are not really posing a definite question merely a scenario in which we are expected to become absorbed in order to see it from the OPs point of view. Putting a question as the title doesn't really help as the title is usually not big enough to give sufficient detail.

IMHO of course.
Well, you're right on both points, but you're usually going to read it all anyway, background and question. As for the mouse-over, it only shows the beginning of the sentence, not enough usually.

For me, people should at least make two separate and easily identifiable paragraphs, question and background.
 
Old 09-06-2010, 05:05 AM   #12
djsmiley2k
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by salasi View Post

I'm having a problem in networking.

I've connected a Brableweeny Type 33 Sidereal Discombobulator (Purple Model, with optional yellow flash) and can't access it over Telepathy II from my Super Polished Mk 12 crystal ball, can I use an Aldis Lamp instead? I am trying to build a high performance cluster. (Who isn't, these days?)

Would using Windows 1.00 have a lower memory footprint?


Were you reading the ikea website while you wrote this?
 
Old 09-12-2010, 11:07 AM   #13
hughetorrance
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Sometimes its much better not to ask any questions... ! LOL
 
Old 09-15-2010, 07:27 AM   #14
aneroid
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Question first, then background.

I tend to write quite a bit about the background or situation. I know it's easier for most (attention span) to have the problem or question first.
2 reasons: Interest & Knowledge.

If someone starts with the summary of a webcam-related issue - I don't use it that much, nor would care about the details. I can immediately skip it coz I'm not interested (and probably don't have enough webcam-tech knowledge to answer the question). (No interest, skip)

If someone starts with the summary of a usb drive reading issue - I (and probably everyone) use those a lot and even if I don't know too much about kernel, userspace, etc. driver issues, I might read on just so I find out more about the tech, not the problem. Even if I can't help. (Interest, no knowledge, don't skip).

You see where I'm going with this.

Ofcourse, it's a guideline. There can always be good reasons for exceptions.
 
Old 09-15-2010, 09:14 AM   #15
goofybud16
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Question then background.
 
  


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