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I've been noticing all through my SO "career" that my questions aren't always well received. They are either too vague or general or I seriously confuse terminology because well, frankly I don't know what I'm talking about.

Being "self trained" or "internet trained" I find my education of anything programming to be very incomplete. Namely my terminology gets snarled up. It makes researching difficult which in turn leads to posting bad or vague and confusing questions.

Probably a good example is in this post I made yesterday and edited today here where I gained a little more experience and was able to research for slightly better keywords and get what appears to be the exact answer to my question but better here

So being new to everything programming, how can I learn to ask better questions?

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  • That helps yes. However I can still see terminology and general knowledge issues. How can I improve this while asking questions?
    – RobbB
    Jun 26 at 19:24
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    I assume you use Google, Bing, Duck-Duck-Go to do your prior research. Include in your question what search terms you used. Link to one or two articles you've found that way and briefly explain what you picked up from those and why they don't answer your question. Users might then help offering the right terms. In the case you linked to Steffen has to go back and forth a few times to basically retrace your prior research.
    – rene
    Jun 26 at 19:53
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    These help lots! I'll apply these next time before I ask a question.
    – RobbB
    Jun 26 at 19:59
  • Absolutely that helps also! Good resources here.
    – RobbB
    Jun 26 at 22:56
  • Stop calling yourself a “noob” unless your main goal in any of this is impressing teenage — or socially inept — techs. Need a word to describe your skills?Maybe just say you are new to something. Or refer to yourself as novice. But utterly nobody will ever take you seriously if you refer to yourself by that ridiculous word. Jun 28 at 3:46
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    Very good point. I will take that. Somehow I had the idea that was a lot of devs/techs (teenage weird...) -idea wiped clean.
    – RobbB
    Jun 29 at 4:46
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TL;DR:

Ask questions on this site only after you have followed up on some other options first.


A question-answer site like this one can be very useful — as long as one does not confuse it for a learning tool.

The presence of this site can lure one into asking questions too early. Now that you know this site and have your account, any time you catch yourself being unsure about something, you can immediately come here and ask. But it's a trap. It replaces a learning procedure with another procedure, which is not even necessarily about learning, but rather, problem-solving.

That's why the classic way of learing is still indispensable. One needs to come to a point where one understands some things first, before one can ask good questions in the topic.

So, when you find you are unsure about something, do not ask a question about it here just yet. Instead, do yourself the favor of learning a bit about the topic in a non-interactive fashion, at your own pace: find articles, tutorials, whitepapers or whatnot that discuss the topic. Rely on the browser's multi-tabbed browsing feature, and follow up interesting-looking links that you inevitably stumble upon in the process. Hunt down and devour information, and then transform it into working knowledge by implementing what you gathered in some tangible proof(s)-of-concept(s).

It is at this point when you get stuck, you can come here and hope to ask such a question that multiple people can find useful, and answering which is a straightforward-enough endeavor.


Two ideas about where to look for information:

  • Search this site and read up on what can already be found here.
  • Before the Trump-presidency — before suddenly everything became contaminated with politics — I used Twitter to follow a range of prominent figures working in the industry of my interest. These people regularly and with high frequency posted various insights, and links to articles; on occasion, they publicly engaged with each other in technical discussions / debates. These resources enabled me to achieve a good level of familiarity in the field of my interest — even if it came at the cost of spending a lot of time on it. Admittedly — as I'm not using Twitter any more — I'm not up-to date any more with how feasible this learning method is these days.

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