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XavierP 09-18-2004 08:49 AM

DISCUSSION: How To Ask a Question
This thread is to discuss the article titled: How To Ask a Question

ToniT 09-18-2004 09:02 AM

ups. wrong window..

vectordrake 09-18-2004 11:26 AM

My answer'll be short. Good article. Valid. A great thing to do would be to redirect there from the registration page (and have a checkbox to click confirming you've read it - and then a popup asking again...). That'd give first-timers an idea of how to get an answer...

XavierP 09-18-2004 12:53 PM

It's a good idea, but..... When you go to create a thread, there is a link to "Has this been asked before?". The idea is that you can see if the answer is already out there. How many click it? How many read the Rules before clicking "I agree"?

Basically, we can put all the info in front of people and they will still ignore it.

But thanks for the review :)

vectordrake 09-18-2004 01:35 PM

I know its difficult to get people to actually think on their own sometimes. Perhaps there's another way, as I think this is a good, succinct article. Perhaps a permanently visible sticky in most forums...

and, arrr! Me be talkin' like pirate on the morrow, laddies!

XavierP 09-18-2004 02:03 PM

Well, we have been discussing wiring people's keyboards to the mains. Obviously, we'd only use this power for good - or when we felt like it :D

Seriously though, probably the only good way to get questions asked correctly is by education. LAs like this one and reinforcement through the boards - if we all aim to ask only "good questions", eventually that will become the norm and then new people will follow suit.

And, arrrr, Oi'll be talking like a pirate meself, me laddie-boy

JZL240I-U 09-21-2004 08:46 AM

It may be that after 10 posts, you still haven't found an answer. Instead of posting this, it would be a good idea to read back over the posts and see if you can work out why it is that no one can answer you. ...

I found it repeatedly frustrating, that perfectly sound advice (not mine ;)) wasn't acted upon (or the results / failures not reported back). That is particularly annoying if the earlier suggestions are steps in a whole procedure to be tried out for finding a solution and only 15 posts later the original poster grudgingly deigns to test a suggestion already three days old and a lot of effort of other people wasted.

So in my opinion it can't be stressed enough that all suggestions for a remedy deserve a prompt reaction by the owner of the thread, like "I tested xyz and now the error is..." or "It worked okay, thanks".

XavierP 09-21-2004 12:09 PM

Absolutely agree with you (even I'm doing it :)) It's all about being polite, really. If someone has taken the time to offer help, the very least you can do is post back with the result. It's all about us being a community and we are only strong if we act that way.

Konch 10-28-2004 02:09 AM

The question has gone astray
I sent the following question. I can' t see the question and the answer. Where has it gone?


Now I can't open the Linux. It opens the root. It asked me to write
the login name and password and accepts what I write.

So I can log in to the root and do everything. I can't open the real
Linux. It worked before. After a crash, I got this problem.

All the root commands work fine. For example, ls , cd.. , du , df etc.

I wrote just linux at the root. No, it didn't work. Could you help me to
solve the problem?

I have Mandrake Linux 10.0 version. It worked very well for more
than six months. Today, after a crash, things have gone to hell.

Konch 10-28-2004 08:02 AM

The question has gone astray
First of all I am new to Linux. I have a smattering of knowledge about things in Linux.

When I start my computer I have a choice to go either to Windows 2000 Professional version or Mandrake Linux.

When I select Mandrake Linux, I get Mandrake Linux. Then I go to Interenet, collect my email, write letters using the Open Office Program, etc.

Recently I had a small crash, after this crash I cannot get into the Linux. I just come to the root. The following is the current problem in stepwise.

1) It asked the login name -> I write the login name and press enter.
2) It asked the password -> I write the password and press enter.

3)Then I come to the the following root:

4)[alfento@digicam rchtr] $

5) The above is the root, to the best of my knowledge of Linux.

6) When I issue basic commands like ls, du ,df etc works fine. So I am in the root.

7) I gave the command 'kde' , it does not work.

8) I gave the command 'Linux' command, it didn't work.

9) When I gave the command 'vi' , it worked and I got the text editing program.

10) When I gave ' Alt + F8 ' command, I want it to give me the KDE. No it didn't work.

11) Ctrl + Alt + Del command works fine and it restarts the computer.

How I can get in to my Linux? I just come to the above mentioned (4).

It has been working for more than 6 months. After the crash yesterday, I am in trouble.

XavierP 10-28-2004 03:07 PM

Konch, this thread is expressly to discuss the LinuxAnswer "How to ask a question". You should add your posts to your own thread since your questions have nothing to do with the how to.

Emmanuel_uk 04-28-2005 01:31 AM

add about rating thread and solved_ keyword in tile
Hi, maybe editing is possible where it says
"Please don't just vanish or walk away without saying Thanks"

a suggestion for addition:

- rephrase title of thread if it can be more explicit now that you have solved your problem
(edit your first entry of the thread)
- feedback on where the error /problem came from in the first place (if known)
(add to the thread)
- rate the Thread: go to menu, very end of page, center of page
- add solved_ or success_ as keyword to the thread title

I have cross-posted, sorry, confused me, did not know what to do.

Dicussion about solved_ or success_ as keyword to the thread title in


archtoad6 07-16-2005 06:41 AM

Thanks XavierP for a great article.

Consider adding to it the suggestion to not only Google; but also list the Google searches, each on a separate line with any quotes intact. The exact contents of the search box. If a Google search must be quoted, then use single quotes with an extra space: ' "my search phrase" linux -stupid_stuff '. But better to put the exact Google search terms on a separate line whence they can be copied & pasted to duplicate the search.

Same goes for LQ searches.

One of the benefits of this is that we then have an opportunity to teach proper search design -- teaching people to fish, rather than just giving them one.

As to Konch, I was puzzled by his posts. Is there any chance they were meant as a demonstration of the wrong & right ways of asking Q's? If so, let's mark them so; if not, don't you have the power to [re]move them?

I am in the middle of reading Spring Into Technical Writing for Engineers and Scientists by Barry Rosenberg, and it makes me think a companion "How To Answer a Question" would be a good idea.

I'll be having me lunch at Arrrrrby's.

rickmoen 10-26-2005 04:41 PM

XavierP wrote:

For a more detailed essay on asking questions, please read Eric S Raymond's How to Ask Questions the Smart Way.

As one of the two co-authors of that essay, I'm delighted that people appreciate it -- but do wish people would get the author credit right. Thanks.

Rick Moen

XavierP 10-28-2005 07:11 AM

Apologies, I just know it as ESR's HowTo.

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