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Author's profile photo Vicenç Xavier Lozano

It’s about effort.

I’m becoming tired of the Q&A section. I go there from time to time during my working day to refresh my brain (working on others’ problems make my mind to wander around, been refreshed).

But it’s frustrating. The main tendency is to find poor redacted questions. Not just newbie ones (“How can I write ‘Hello, world’ in ABAP”), it’s about how those questions are redacted.

I fell into one of those questions, and I begun to write a comment on it about why no one was able to help him without investing an incredible amount of energy.

Then it popped: “dude, this is not a comment, this is a blog entry”.

So here it comes.


It’s about effort

It’s not about the language. My English skill is as low as anyone’s, but somehow, I can manage myself to be understood when I post a question. Most of times.

It’s about effort

I take my time thinking about what I need to communicate. I put the ideas in a (mental) list, and I try to expose them in order.

Separated by commas, in phrases or in paragraphs.

It’s about effort. It’s about respect

You put no effort in your question, you show no respect for your readers. Why must I spend my time trying to help you if you spent none trying to make things easier to me? You don’t, so I don’t.

It’s about effort. It’s about respect. It’s about success

If your question is redacted well enough (you don’t need to win a prize, just to get some help), if you put some effort on it, if you show respect for your readers, they will have more chances to help you​ than if your question is a mess. You will have more chances to get an answer. A proper one? Well, that depends on your audience. You will always have someone answering, because the place is full of “points hunters”.

So what?

Don’t rush to the Q&A, write down there your problems in any way, without any care, assuming there will be someone willing to invest enough time to read your gibberish and to decript it. And after that time, that someone will have enough energy to try to find a solution for you.

Spare them the time: if you spend (invest) five more minutes trying to improve your question, all your readers will save five minutes (each!) while reading it. They will be fresh, they will notice you tried as hard as you could, they will know you showed your respect, and your chances to success will improve a lot.

Your five minutes saved a couple hours of others. Your effort will be rewarded (not with points nor likes, but with respect and answers).

Because, in the end, almost anything

it’s about effort

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      Author's profile photo Senthilkumar Moorthy
      Senthilkumar Moorthy

      Vicenç Xavier Lozano , completely agree with you. I have seen both the ends when i answer a question and it really saves the time if the reporters takes those extra 5-10 minutes. It would also be a great help if they provide the screenshots, because not all those issues are reproducible in other systems.



      Author's profile photo Michelle Crapo
      Michelle Crapo

      Or simply tell you the system they are on - even that can help.   Sometimes that is so frustrating.

      Author's profile photo Daniel Wroblewski
      Daniel Wroblewski

      Nice blog ... agree 👍

      Author's profile photo Morten Wittrock
      Morten Wittrock

      Hi Vicenç

      I agree that there should be a reasonable balance between the effort put in by the person asking the question, and the effort required by those looking to answer it.

      I also accept that sometimes there isn't, and then I just move on. In the wise words of The Dude:




      Author's profile photo Michelle Crapo
      Michelle Crapo

      First, I AGREE.  Really, I do - put in the effort and it makes more sense to others.  It's easier to answer the question AND you might figure out the answer yourself.  Writing it down helps.  And guess what?  We have a general guide for that.  and many many blog post on how to write your question.

      Second, sometimes people don't know how to write the question.  The words aren't quite right or their comprehension is so low that they are starting in the middle.  Or they just assume you know the start of the problem and skip to the middle.  (I've been known to do that).

      I have an on-going debate in different blogs.   Really, I'd have to go back to some old blogs and some old comments I gave.  The question unasked is the stupid question.   The problem becomes are you someone that asks prior to thinking it through yourself?  Or are you thinking at lightspeed and not asking correctly?

      I'm very verbose in my comments.  Always have been.  I'm not sure why.  But if you made it this far - thank you for reading and do add your comments...   This is an interesting topic.  Brought up before but still so very relevant.

      Author's profile photo Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Blog Post Author

      I've read some of the blog entries you mentioned (and yes, I made that far, I have no problems investing time reading things written with some effort on them), but when I was writing my "comment", I noticed I was not writing an entry about "how to ask questions the clever way", but just "please, try".

      I've heard or read somewhere that if you cannot explain it, you don't understand it really. Obviously, if you have a problem and you are asking for help, there is something you don't understand, but it doesn't give you the "right" to write short and poor.

      It's not about grammar (mine sucks), nor vocabulary (google translator anyone?), it's about effort. Think what you are asking, cut it in pieces small enough to be understood, sort those pieces some way. Just that effort can even lead you to the solution ("Writing it down helps", as you said).
      When I ask, I never assume the people in front of me have all the information. Much less if those people are not in front of me but zillion clicks away, with no previous knowledge about anything related with my work, my system or my new phone case.

      So, it's just about effort 😉

      Author's profile photo Michelle Crapo
      Michelle Crapo

      Sounds like a great idea to me!!!!

      Author's profile photo Dell Stinnett-Christy
      Dell Stinnett-Christy

      And sometimes it's about effort in the reply as well.  Frequently you can tell who the "points hunters" are because their answers are too high level and don't really explain what needs to happen.


      Author's profile photo Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Blog Post Author

      Yup, but it's part of the OP's job to filter and judge those answers.

      If I ask something, and someone invests time to answer me, I am no one to blame them for the quality of the answer.

      If the answer is just a point bait, I'll ignore it (or even downvote), but just that. If the answer is dangerous (I've seen answers like "do an UPDATE TO MSEG") I'll downvote, and I will comment it to prevent others to follow that suicide path.

      But when I ask, I must put my effort and time, because the rest of you will be "wasting" yours just because of me.

      It's about respect too.

      Author's profile photo Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Blog Post Author

      (wow... now I just need another comment to add "it's about success" and I'll nail it)

      Author's profile photo Manfred Klein
      Manfred Klein

      'Fear is the mind killer' (Citation from Fallout Games)


      While all your points are valid they assume the ideal world that the asking person is in a mindful state. Calm and in a full equilibrium with the universe.

      I can imagine that out of many poor asked questions speaks pure Despair. They have to acomplish something with no time at all and simply can't get it done. And like a baby cries out loud, they just get out some 'gibberish'.

      What bugs me even more is when you ask for more details and get no answer back. What happened to that guy??? Was the person just inept for the job? Is it out of no respect or are we to call 911? 😉

      I don't know.

      Just a thought.


      Respectful Cya,


      Author's profile photo Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Vicenç Xavier Lozano
      Blog Post Author

      “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

      Dunno about Fallout games (though I loved them), but the phrase comes from Dune. It's the litany against fear.

      It's obvious Mr. Herbert did not read the Q&A board. He'd run away crying out loud by pure fear. Stephen King based IT on a question from there.

      Or do you think the title was not related with our sector?

      Author's profile photo Manfred Klein
      Manfred Klein

      Only if I start seeing red baloons in the cloud(s).


      Now that you mention it, I remember the Dune passage. Saw the movie last time over ten years ago. Some enemy NPCs have speech bubbles above them in Fallout Tactics: 'I need a stimpack', 'help', 'Argh' and 'Fear is the mind killer'.