Asking Questions…

Growing up in school we were encouraged to ask questions along the premise that all questions are good questions. In practice, this is not the case, but I believe that all questions can become good questions with careful thought. Although I do not have a previous posting related to good questions, I do remember visiting the topic in past years, so I will try to include some retrospective insight in regards to the How to Ask Questions the Smart Way and Getting Answers.

Learning to formulate good questions means identifying the problem, trying to solve it by oneself, and asking for help when all documentation on the web fails. Identifying the problem is a key issue as one issue can lead to multiple problems.

For example, a question should not be “how can I install this printer?”, but rather “why is the driver for this printer not available in the Windows driver list?” The reason why the computer cannot print is because the printer is not installed. The printer cannot be installed without the correct driver, and the driver is so large that it can only be downloaded directly from the manufacturer’s website.

Honestly, this topic of formulating good questions extends beyond the scope of the web. Formulating good questions is essential to life. But I digress.

I feel fairly confident in my ability to find answers on the web or read documentation. But one time I needed help with rendering a graph using Fusion Charts. My post, located here as of 01/23/2013, shows that I could have made a better attempt at formulating my question.

In my post, I tried to be clear and concise by noting the Fusion Charts API version and including a basic example to indicate my troubles. Also I tried to show that I did some testing before I posted on the message board to show that an alternative method worked, but another advertised method did not.

In hindsight, I was so caught up with the details of my problem that I forgot to ask a clear question! It probably didn’t help when I asked if any one else experienced the same problem.