I have just asked this question, and it yelled at me to include something I have already tried. I googled for 10 minutes to try to find out how to do this, with no answer, so I asked on Stack Overflow. But do I HAVE TO write something like "I have already tried this and that"?

I mean, of course I have tried to solve it myself, but everything went to compile errors. I guess nobody needs to know that, or that I googled it for 10 mins.

Is it really necessary to say "I have already tried XXX"? I mean, I had to write it and then I removed it in an edit. Any thoughts?

  • 11
    A link to an URL shortener? On meta? Let me fix that for you before destruction comes from the heavens. Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 13:24
  • 5
    What, exactly, yelled at you? Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 13:33
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    +1 for coming to Meta and trying to learn proper StackOverflow etiquette instead of just storming off in frustration. It's sad that questions like this, where people are legitimately trying to learn and improve, receive negative reinforcement.
    – asteri
    Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 14:00
  • @kajacx, are you saying that the site would not let you post your question? Did you get a specific message? At first glance this read as if you received comments from users regarding your question. If the former is the case, then please tell us what the exact message was as well. But as for an answer, I guess Kate's remarks cover everything just fine.
    – Bart
    Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 14:06
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    With the detail in your SO question I can only assume it is a duplicate of this (which is the very first result in Google). Maybe it's not, but how could I know when not seeing what you tried to actually rotate the text? Showing how to draw horizontal text is indeed not useful. (Weird, my earlier same comment disappeared.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 14:29

3 Answers 3


It is not enough to merely say "I searched for ten minutes" or "I tried to write some code but it got compile errors." These are sometimes included in questions but they don't actually help.

Instead, explain what it is you were trying. What function were you calling? What property were you setting? What keyword were you trying to use? If you have some code that gets errors, include the code and the error messages. Why make people guess what your problem is?

The answer might be "oh man you are doing this all wrong do NOT EVEN THINK of calling that function" or it might be "you're missing a semi colon everything else is perfect" - if you don't show what you have, how will anyone know what help you need?


Do you have to? No, not really. But when it says to include something you have already tried, it's there to help you help us.

By telling us what you've tried, not only does that show you have attempted to solve the problem on your own (and believe me, that's important), but it also lets us know how you've gone about trying to solve the problem, thereby saving time for everyone else.

Consider the following:

"I have this problem."


"I have this problem. Here's what I've done to fix it, but it's still not working correctly."

They essentially say the exact same thing, but the second shows what effort you have invested in fixing it yourself. That effort is quite often key to helping you solve your issue, and in some cases, makes the question moot as you realize just what you were missing.

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    The latter would be considerably better if it said in what way it wasn't working correctly, of course.
    – Jon Skeet
    Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 14:00

It is usually prefered if you provide a piece of code you have tried, and provide more details on what else you have tried, to show us that you have indeed tried to find the solution yourself. More often than not, people some on SO and start posting "SHO ME THE CODEZ" type of questions, without even trying anything.

Since SO is not a rent-a-coder service, you have to demonstrate that you have done your part and tried to find a solution by yourself, tried different pieces of code, etc.

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