How to ask a great question

This was recently posted:

I was wondering if there is any plan to create sub-topics within the forum for sharing ideas and asking questions by programming language. Frequently, I note that the initial response to programming queries is, “What language are you using?”

Not sure how others feel, but I would definitely be willing to answer questions and/or to contribute sample code for working with Modkit within such a sub-forum. It would also give new users another place to find sample code and to ask for help with specific issues, whether they are using Python, Blocky, Modkit, RobotC, etc.

One of the great things about the internet is that their are 100’s of places to get help and there are 1000’s of people willing to help you out. But it helps if you help them help you.

Lets start with the subject line. “Help” Not very good. “Help!!!” Not better, even if there is a sense of urgency. “Motor Problem” better. “Motor Problem - will only turn clockwise” Very good. You get the direction we are going. More info is better.

In the body do three things: 1 - Write a detailed description of what your problem is.

We built a claw bot and as a practice exercise decided to put the arm control on the right up and down buttons and the arm only goes up not down.

Wonderful!!! The more details you can give in the description. Next is to write all the things you did. We are sure you did something more that putting your head down sobbing and then posting here. Did you swap components, check wires, Google the subject? What was the results?

We tried two different motors with the same results. We tested the bad motor as a base wheel motor and it works there, it goes both directions. We looked at the example code and it looks OK.

Nice, so we know it’s not the motor, most likely it’s code of some kind.

Next up tell us your environment. What version of the brain, how many other motors / sensors. Are they all up to date? Which of the many programming languages are you programming in and which version.

We checked all of the software and it’s up to date. We are using RobotC v4.52. The sample program is from their help file

This gives the person reading your question a ton of information. Based on the current problem, it sounds like bad code to me. So you can head off the “can you post your code?” question. Put it in your post. If you start your code with [noparse]

 [/noparse] all the robot code up the to the closing [noparse]

[/noparse] will show up in a special font.

//This is a sample of code
while (distance_to_wall < 100)
    move_to_wall (100);

And we can all see the code and help you out with it.

The origrinal poster was really asking about more forums. One way to signify that you have a Modkit question or want to put really neat code out is to put that in the title

[Modkit] Really fast line trace code

That way we don’t need to dig through multiple forums and the search function will help we just search on [RobotC] to look for RobotC code.


Point taken. I agree that the way one asks a question has a huge impact on the quality of the response. This is a common problem, and perhaps your solution is better.

Meanwhile, I also think that it would help some users to see sample code as well as questions asked by others using the same language. I believe that would help cut down on the SAME questions being asked over and over. Think size requirements (!)

Anyway, it was just a thought. I was curious to get others’ reactions, so thanks for the post.

There is also a vendor forum where you can ask such questions in the language of choice. Most likely most of the answers and samples would also be present there already. Here many have asked questions also without searching, which creates additional issues. There are many modkit questions answered with examples, etc; this one is also not as easy as pasting text code… Its graphical. That requires opening such (or similar by nature) thread and reading… This also kind of applies to same questions and size comment above.

Rather than create a entire/separate sub-forum here, most will answer a question posted in Technical discussion regardless of language. This forum is focused more in terms of game/questions/etc related rather than what you are asked. I also understand what you are asking though. We get it. It just makes it difficult to maintain as well.

Along the lines of what Foster said, if you include in subject line the language suffix such as “blah blah (modkit)” or “blah blah (robotc)”, if the subject like is not already intuitive that might also make search easier…

Here are some explicit vendor/help forums specific to vex/vex iq …
Robotc forum for vex iq…b7ddb7e7310760

Modkit…mod-kit-videos << has many examples, official

Robotmesh blocky and python << Robotmesh officially should have a very helpful forum and should answer every possible question as owner…ne-programming