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How to Ask your Questions in community ? Wise words from Nic Brough

What do you wish Question askers would include in their Question?

Proper explanations. The things I dread seeing the body or problem descriptions are:

"It doesn't work"

Ok, you've probably told me the area that's not working, and most people will tell you how they got there, which is appreciated, but "it doesn't work" is useless.  You need to tell us what you did, what you expected and exactly what happens.  If, for example you've modified a workflow transition and "it doesn't work", then what is the actual symptom?  You don't get offered it?  It executes instantly when you were expecting a pop up (or vice versa)? You get an error message? Box pops up, but the transition button throws an error or just depresses and does nothing?  And so on.  

When I get exasperated by people not telling us what is wrong because they won't answer "what does not work", you may have seen something like that list before.  Except it usually includes a penguin as well.  "It doesn't work because there is an angry penguin jumping up and down on my keyboard" is absurd, but at least it gives us something to work with.  Unlike "It doesn't work"

"Integrate"

This is a suitcase word.  Great for a summary, but "I want to integrate X with Y" is also mostly useless. We can't give any useful answer until we open the suitcase and see what is in it. You need to tell us what you want from that integration. 

For example, "I want to integrate Jira with Outlook". Right, so we can assume it's an email thing, but are you talking about send, receive, displays, or something else? In what direction?  "Integrate" is, again, useless. Tell us what you really want.

No evidence of trying for themselves

Stop trying to use us as a search engine. We're slower, grumpier and, sometimes, less helpful than a search engine, and you're wasting your time and ours.

I am delighted with a question that shows that someone has tried RTFM / LMGTFY before asking us. Even if they've found totally the wrong stuff, or misread it, they're asking a genuinely useful question. That evidence really makes me want to help them. 

I do not like the ones where we can respond with a link to a documentation page or a one-liner that's almost an RTFM. Because the questioners are probably not in the slightest bit interested. There's someone just farming us and passing off Community expertise as their own.

"Why?"

Quite often, we see questions that are technical "I want to do X with Y". These questions might look ok at first, but they often unravel into totally different things and it turns out that the questioner has picked a bad way to achieve a good goal and really needs a different approach.  I think the first one of these I got caught out by was "I want to do something complex and clever with a plugin I'm trying to write, here's some code, help me wrangle it".  It got increasingly complex, and I did eventually ask "why are you doing this?". Turns out the answer was "try the Participants field in the Jira Toolkit".  Because I didn't know what the real desire was, we ran in the wrong direction. If someone asks a question that proscribes a limited way to do something without an explanation of why that approach was chosen, stop, and ask the five whys.

For full Article: Wise words from Nic Brough, all-star Atlassian Answerer 

Credits: @Nic Brough _Adaptavist_ @Bridget 

4 comments

Louder for the folks in the back --> "Stop trying to use us as a search engine. We're slower, grumpier, and, sometimes, less helpful than a search engine, and you're wasting your time and ours."

Like # people like this

@Kevin Johnson thank you for this summary... I would not write it better... it is so true :)

Like Kevin Johnson likes this
SriKumar P Atlassian Team Apr 30, 2021

@Kevin Johnson  Thanks for re-iterating this. 

Like Kevin Johnson likes this

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