This isn't meant to be nonconstructive or flippant. This genuinely bugs me.
98% of the time, when I know the question, then I can find an answer, and the other 2% of the time I can ask a question and the answers are excellent.
But what I really struggle with, is when I have an issue and I don't know where to start, especially when I am learning something new, and the issue could be in one of many places. Is there a way to ask a constructive question that would be useful not only to my issue, but to the community at large?
For example, I've been trying to figure out how to use backbone.js models to communicate with my django server through tastypie, and I keep trying to pinpoint why it's not working. My approach has been something like:
- Work through tutorials
- Read articles, opinions and search through stack overflow questions
- Implement some code, attempt to debug
- Read more, implement suggestions
- Go through backbone.js code and tastypie code
- Use lots of console.log debug statements
Which has been somewhat successful in narrowing down my problem to backbone and how I'm using it... but it's still too vague for me to put into a question. Is it a problem with how I'm syncing, is it a problem with how I'm formatting the data, is a problem with how I've set up my backbone model, or is it an error in my code?
This is what I mean, by saying I don't what the question is.
Usually I program in small incremental bits. But in this case I'm trying to rebuild something complex. Is it a manner of scrapping the complex piece and building a simplest model of what I'm doing, and progressing from there?
I'm curious what do other people do when starting something new that you don't understand. What do you do?
- Look at the possible duplicates
- Tell us what problem you're trying to solve
- Format your code
And I liked the answer in How to ask a "Where to start" question? to talk about it in a chat room when it's a broad topic, which I admit I haven't done since AOL in 1995.
What else do you do?