How to ask effective questions


(David Rutten) #1

Asking questions and getting answers is what this forum is all about. Although people are generally very helpful, there are things you can do to improve your chances of getting good and quick answers. Below you will find some suggestions, but don’t think of them as rules and especially don’t think of them as guarantees.

1. Choose a descriptive title for your post
Don’t title your question “Help!” or “I have a problem” or “Deadline tonight!”, but actually describe the problem you are having.

2. Be succinct but clear in your wording
People need to know some details about your problem in order to understand what sort of answers would satisfy you, but nobody cares about how angry your boss or how bad your teacher or how tight your deadline is. Talk about the problem and only the problem. If you don’t speak English well, you should probably post in your native language as well as providing a Google or DeepL translation of your question.

3. Attach minimal versions of all the relevant files
If you have a gh file you have a question about, attach it to the post. Do not expect that people will recreate a file based on a screen-shot because that’s a lot of pointless work. It’s also a good idea to remove everything non-essential from a gh file. You can use the Internalise Data menu option to cut everything to the left of a parameter:

If you are referencing curves or breps or meshes from Rhino, you can also internalise them so you won’t have to post a 3dm file as well as a gh file. If you’re unsure whether all the relevant data is internal to the gh file, try opening it in an empty Rhino. Does it work? Good. No? You’ll need to internalise more.

4. Include a detailed image of the file if it makes sense
If your question is about a specific (group of) components, consider adding a screenshot of the file in the text of the post. You can use the Ctrl+Shift+Q feature in Grasshopper to quickly create nice screenshots with focus rectangles and embedded viewports such as this:

5. Include links to online resources if possible
If you have a question about Schwarz Minimal surfaces, please link to a website which talks about these.

6. Create new topics rather than continuing old ones
It’s usually better to start a fresh question, even if there’s already a discussion that kinda sorta tangentially touches upon the same issue. Please link to that discussion, but start anew.

7. This is not a do-my-work-for-me group
Many of us like to help, but it’s good to see effort on our part being matched by effort on your part. Questions in the form of “I need to do X but cannot be bothered to try and learn the software” will (and should) go unanswered.

Similarly, questions in the form of “How do I quickly recreate this facade that took a team of skilled professionals four months to figure out?” have a very low success rate.

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