“Asking a Question” or “Starting a Discussion” Creating a Forum Post in Style!


Good day all!

We are back with the Thursday Forum Best Practices where we discuss about a feature or practice on how you can best utilize MSDN/TechNet Forums.

While posting a question in MSDN/TechNet Forums at first we get two option to select whether the post that we will be creating will it be a Question or Discussion? Often we get confused and create a post as a question but in real that might be a discussion or vice versa. Here we will explore the "Ask a question" and "Start a discussion" option to decide which option to choose when posting a new thread in MSDN/TechNet Forums.

Discussion: The word discussion means exchanging views and ideas. Exchange of ideas between several people is the best process of learning from one another. A discussion on a forum gives you an opportunity to participate in virtual conversations at any time and any location that helps you to understand, there are many aspects or opinions to any one topic. Benefit of a discussion is that it helps in clarifying ideas, issues etc. and creates better understanding of the topic, issues, ideas or concepts.

Discussions are conversations about a topic and can be a collection of comments around it.

Questions on the other hand are looking for a specific answer and the asker can mark the best answer. They are posted the same but have different goals.

Question: If you want a question answered, or you need a fix or making changes breaks what you are working, use a question.

Questions are typically be like right/wrong or finding a solution format so that you can get a quick guide on how to proceed. When you are asking questions, make sure you put it in the right context. In question, the only difference is that for questions, one or more of the responses can be marked as an answer which helps other users to find solution.

When Asking question you can keep in mind the following:

  • Type of the question: Open or Closed-ended Questions
  • Sample code and data
  • Describe what you have done so far

You have to keep in mind what type of question you will be going to ask, will it be Open-ended or Close-ended question?

Open-ended question: The most important benefit of open-ended questions is that they allow you to find more than you anticipated, like the respondent's knowledge, opinion or concerns. By using an open-ended question you get insights, surprising additional information, problem-solving strategies and much more that you might not have known existed. Asking questions with “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “how,” or “why” lead to people giving some thought to their answers and provide much more information.

Close-ended question: A closed question usually receives a single word or very short answer, like a yes or no question, you will most often get incomplete information. They are often good for surveys, because you get higher response rates when users don’t have to type so much 🙂 . Also, answers to closed-ended questions can easily be analyzed statistically so, it is easier to decide an approach on which direction to proceed. Asking questions with "would", "should", "is", "are", and "do you think" all lead to "yes" or "no" answer.

Sample code and data: Provide sample code and data for others to reproduce the problem. If your problem is with code you've written, you should include the code snippet and point out the line on which you are getting error. Also write down, what error you are getting and if possible add the error code. But don't just copy in your entire program! it likely includes a lot of irrelevant details that readers will need to ignore when trying to reproduce the problem.

Describe what you’ve already tried and the results of any trial and error.

Describe what you have done so far: As I would like to say "WYHDSF", Describe what you’ve already tried and the results of any trial and error. Point out differences between your issue and other common ones, as it saves time. It’s even worth referring to other related questions explicitly – particularly if they’re on the same forum. In most cases, anyone answering the question will need to know what language and platform you’re using. There will be other people having the similar issue or closely related to yours. Aside from anything else, this shows a certain amount of “importance” and people are generally more willing to help you that you’ve already put some effort in it.

I hope that this post helps and see you on the next post. Here are some other blog that you can read:

Thank You,
-Sabah

Comments (4)

  1. pituach says:

    Thanks for sharing +5 Sabah !

    We can link to this blog each time people choose the wrong type 🙂 so it’s very useful.

    I love the long shortcut WYHDSF.. I always explain people that we are not here in the forums to do their homework but to help them learn so they could do it. Asking the to explain What You Have Done So Far 🙂

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