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How to ask technical questions

Software DevelopmentOff topic
Simple guidelines to get quick and actionable answers

I love lurking in the Lichess discord development and API channels, to help people build new chess tools. Once in a while someone is struggling to ask their question, and here's the advice I then give.

Asking technical questions correctly right will save everyone a lot of time, and will motivate others to help you.

First, you should try to find the answer by yourself, using documentation and search engines.

Searching for answers is the bread and butter of the programmer life, and the only way to improve. If you can't find the answer by yourself, here's how to ask other people. Following these steps is the best way to quickly get quality answers.

Explain your end goal.

Not the detail of what you're trying to do, but the reason why you're trying to do it. This will avoid XY problem situations.

Describe what you've tried to solve your problem.

And explain how it didn't work. Showing people that you have attempted to find an answer by yourself will motivate them to help you, and will save them from suggesting things you already tried.

Give all the necessary details right away.

Don't wait for people to ask you the questions to get the necessary information to solve your problem. If possible, give the steps to reproduce it.

Don't wait for an answer, keep searching.

And give updates about your progress. People are more willing to help an investigation in progress, than to solve a problem you personally gave up on.
And if you figure it out, make sure to let us know, so we don't start working on it for nothing.

Happy solving and sharing!

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