Some reasons why you don't get an answer - and how to avoid them

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He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever - Mark Twain

Today, the admin wants to encourage you to ask questions here in the community. Not as if there weren't enough already, but maybe your own special question is still missing.

First of all, don't hesitate to ask anything. Don't be afraid to ask a beginner's question, they are as useful as any other. We, the community takes every question seriously, whether it is a beginner's or an expert's question.

But sometimes, questions remain unanswered. One reason might be, that no one in the world knows the answer to the question. This happens, but more often, the reason is the lack of information provided, so the question is not recognized or can't be answered. Let me tell you, what you can do to receive better answers to your questions.

First: Ask the right community

Although there is this one and only Atlassian Community, not everyone of us is an expert for every Atlassian product. It is important to reach the right audience to get the right answer.

There are different sections on the community, one for every product and more channels for other interests. Select a product or interest just by clicking on its name on the dashboard and then ask your question there. Your question will be automatically tagged with the right keyword.

If your question concerns more than one product, add an extra tag for the other product(s). It also makes sense to add tags for the major subject(s) or apps your question is about.

Second: The Subject

Pretend you don't have so much time to read all the questions and just have a look at their subject. Would you pick a question that has a simple one-or-two-word-subject like "Error" or "Account" or "Help needed"? I don't think so.

So first advice: Use Meaningful and Descriptive Subjects. A good subject should arouse interest, make clear, what the question is all about and should tell me, as a reader, whether I might be able to give an answer. 

On the other hand, don't put every detail into the subject line. That's what the Details field is for.

Third: The Details

Use the Details field for every detail that might help us answering your question. 

Imagine you read something like this in the details:

"What's going wrong?" - That's all. 

Hopefully, the subject line of the question is meaningful enough. But even if it is, there is a lot more information you could give your reader to understand your question:

  • Which version of Jira, Confluence, Bamboo, ... do you have?
    Is it the Cloud version or your own server?

    This information is very important. Different versions behave in a different way. Fixing a problem on Server or Cloud can be totally different. Maybe we advice the usage of an app, just to read afterwards that you are using Cloud and this app is not available there.
    So please, add the version of your software or tell us, if you are using cloud (there you always have the latest version).

  • Add a screenshot

    Adding a sceenshot is always a good idea. Often, it clarifies the question or one could see details, the questioner didn't realize already. 

    Add screenshots simply by clicking the small camera icon in the details form. Be careful that you don't post any critical data with the screenshot, please make them unreadable first. Remember, this is a public community.

  • Have you already read some documentation, but that didn't help?

    Then please tell us. So we can avoid, pointing you again to that documentation and you might get frustrated.

  • Tell us in detail, what you want the software to do, not just which error occured.

    This is extremely important for us. Telling us, why you want to do something with Jira, Confluence, etc. enables us to show you other ways of reaching your goal. But therefore, we need to understand your requirements.    

  • In case of reporting an error, add error messages and excerpts of your application logs.

    Error messages and excerpts of your application logs are very important to understand, what is going wrong on your side. Make a screenshot of the error message and add it to your question. Try to find an error message in your logfiles and add these lines. But same here: be careful with sensitive data.  

Fourth: Don't reuse questions

Sometimes, people ask new questions just as a reply to their (or another ones) old question. If this is not a callback within the original question, don't do that. These kind of "answer-questions" (technically it is just an answer or a comment) will never grab the community's attention as much as a new one will do.  

 

And last but not least: don't become desparate, if you don't get an answer within a few minutes. We'll do our best, if you give us the information we need, but we are just a community of users like you, at least, most of us.   

 

The subject to this article was proposed by @Rachel Wright -  thank you, Rachel. Hope you like it :-)

7 comments

This is a great reference for new users, @Thomas Schlegel, thank you! :D 

Erica Moss Community Manager Jan 15, 2018

@Thomas Schlegel, for the WIN. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

Danyal Iqbal Community Champion Feb 21, 2018

+1 for great advice.

Make people want to help you with an answer, they are doing you a favor.

Thank you @Thomas Schlegel for this great summary!

Agree with @Monique van den Berg: this is a must-read for every new community member :)

Thomas Schlegel Community Champion Jun 19, 2018

Good one article for new user, Thank you @Thomas Schlegel

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