How to ask a good question
While the Community Forums aren't a formal support channel, they are a great place to discuss and collaborate on how-to's, configuration and customization questions, code, best practices and more. There are many members who frequent the forums and give generously of their time and expertise to help answer questions.
To improve your chances of getting help, here are some tips:
Do your homework...search first.
- There's a good chance that you can find the answer without posting a new question and waiting for members to respond.
- Even if you don't find an answer, you can include links to related information that hasn't helped. This helps members understand how your question is different.
Post once and only to the most relevant forum board.
Start a new thread (unless you have the same question).
- Unless you have the same question being discussed in a thread, you should start a new thread (no matter how many smart members are participating in the related discussion!). One topic per thread, please.
- Adding related questions to a discussion thread makes it harder to follow the comments, more difficult to mark a best answer, and harder for the next person to find your question via search.
Write a title that summarizes a specific problem.
- Your title is the first thing other members will see, and they often rely on the title to decide if they can answer a question or not, if they should open and read your question or not. The title is your hook...don't waste it!
- If you're having trouble nailing down the title, write the title after you've written your question.
- Bad: Custom Reporting Question
- Good: Is it possible to sort on a Group Count for Rollup items?
- Bad: Error with File Uploads
- Good: Connect Fatal Error with File Attachment Upload Widget
- Can you imagine what our Reporting forum board would look like if every post was titled "Custom Reporting Question"? Write your title with enough detail, so the next person searching for the same question will find your thread.
Introduce your problem and include as many details as you can.
- Set the context for your problem by including what your goal is, what you've tried (you searched for a solution before posting, right?) and what problems you're having.
- Include visuals (e.g. screen shots with annotations) and details (e.g. sample code, custom script, report definitions, Service Cloud version, Customer Portal version, Connect version, error object).
- Linking to related resources (e.g. documentation, Support KB answers, other discussion threads) can help articulate and differentiate your problem.
- These details help members understand your question and make relevant suggestions, instead of giving suggestions you've already tried and going through rounds of clarifying questions before you can get to the answer. Plus, members are more willing to help you if you show you've already done your due diligence.
- If you're embarking on a major project that falls outside of your (or your team's) skill set, please consider a engagement with Oracle Consulting Services or a Service Cloud partner. Members are helping answer questions and frequently share example code, but this isn't the most effective channel to get a complete solution.
Proofread and polish your question.
- Pretend you're reading your question for the first time and ask yourself, "Does this make sense?" Add details, tighten up the title, double-check you included your attachment, etc.
- Increase readability of your question by taking time to correct typos, use capitalization, and add bullets and paragraphs. If you don't take time to tighten your question, other members are less likely to take the time to respond.
Respond, respond, respond!
- If someone replies to your question, it's pretty simple...respond! Not responding is quite rude, especially considering these folks are trying to help you. If they asked you a question, answer it. If they gave helpful information, rate their comment with a thumbs-up. If they answered your question, mark their comment as the best answer. If you figured out the answer to your question, share it with the Community.
- These are easy ways to contribute to the betterment of our Community by encouraging helpful members, creating valuable re-usable content, and telling other members who are just here to help out that they can skip this question. Plus, you're more likely to get help if you're giving back to the Community and not just taking from it.
Make a good impression
- Update your Community profile. This shows you're committed to the Community and your question. It also helps other members recognize, remember and build the right impression of you.
- Be friendly and polite, especially considering you're asking someone to give their time to help you.
Thanks to our Community members, especially those who answer questions, uphold these Community standards in specific discussions, and provide feedback on how we can improve the Community, and to Stack Overflow and CodeBlog for sharing their experience with writing good software and development questions.
Hopefully articulating these best practices will make it easier to answer questions and get more answers for everyone!