Getting your question answered

Forums like this one, and the Confluent Community Slack, are great places to get help from others in our field. But you’re not the only one who is looking for some help. There are often more questions than there are people to answer them. So how can you increase the odds of getting your question answered? Here are some tips that I’ve learned over the years. It’s not a definitive list, and I’m hoping others will chime in with some more, but it’s a start…

  1. Do your homework - Nobody wants you to spin your wheels stuck on a problem, but it is wise to do a little research first. Perhaps someone else has already run into the same issue and has received an answer that will help you. You wouldn’t want to get the dreaded “Let me Google that for you” reply to your question. :slight_smile:

  2. Give enough details - Just saying “it doesn’t work” will not entice people to spend time digging into your problem. Try to give specifics of what you are trying, what the desired result is, and what the actual result is, or some variation of that depending on the type of problem. If you are getting an error, include a stack trace, or error message. Include code samples, or github gists, where applicable. Someone trying to help you may have to ask for more info, but if you can prevent that round-trip, you’ll save you both some time.

  3. Formatting matters - As you can see from #2 above, a good question might get a bit long. This is why it is important to format your question to make it more readable. Using paragraphs, bullet lists, etc. can make a long explanation easier to read, and thereby more likely to be read. Any code listings, configurations, or log output will be much easier to read if they are in a block format. While many online forums have UI tools to help with this, you can almost always do it with a set of triple backticks (```) around your block of text.

  4. Be patient - There are so many smart, generous, and helpful people in this community, but they all have day jobs too, so don’t despair if you don’t get an answer right away. As you continue trying to solve your problem, and discover new information, feel free to post that, but try to avoid posting just to ask if anyone has an answer yet.

There are probably more things that could be discussed here, but we’ll leave it at this for now. If anyone has other suggestions, please post a reply.

Thanks!

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Great writeup @daveklein :+1:

My favourite resource in this area is How To Ask Questions The Smart Way. It’s a bit dated in parts but the core advice is solid.

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