How to Ask Programming Questions

In order to make the process of asking and answering questions more efficient and helpful, here are a few guidelines on asking questions that get useful answers.

To ask a programming question in this community, post the question in the #programming-questions section of this forum and a bot will notify people that there is a new question.

Please include as much of the following information in your post as possible:

When you ask a question, be sure to check off the items on this checklist. People in the community want to help you, but you also need to respect their time. This checklist helps you respect other people’s time.

  • What did you expect to see?
  • What did you actually see?
  • What is the full error message?
  • What have you tried so far?
  • Please paste in the relevant code, if it’s short enough to fit in a forum post, and be sure to format it neatly before pasting it (otherwise the person helping you has to format it, which takes up extra time).
  • If your code won’t fit in a post, include a link to the up-to-date Git repo so that people can try running your code, if necessary.

For more tips on how to ask programming questions, check out the following pages:

Knowing how to ask good questions is one of the most important skills in programming! :slight_smile:

If anyone has additional tips, post a comment below.


I think we should turn this into an interactive checklist. When someone asks a question, we could point them to a page where they would check each item and then post their question.

Let me know what you all think of the items below. Is there anything that should be added, removed, or edited?

  • Make sure that your code is properly formatted and that the indentation is correct. This will help you find errors.
  • Run your code through a linter to check for code errors.
  • Search Google for the text of the error message.
  • Explain what each line and word in the code means to the rubber duck. Most errors can be solved this way.

If that still doesn’t fix the problem, then ask the question in a form. We need more information than “my code didn’t work.”

  • What did you expect to see happen in your code? [textarea]
  • What did you actually see? [textarea]
  • What is the full error message? [textarea]
  • What have you tried so far? [textarea]
  • Post a link to the full, public source code (Github, Gitlab, Bitbucket, etc.) If it’s a private repo, upload a zip file of your repo into Slack or be ready to invite other users to your private repo [text input].

After all the checkboxes and fields are filled out, it could auto-post to the forum and then send a link to the forum post into Slack.

We could put this feature in the new website. The only thing left to do before deploying it is to figure out how to get SSL certificates into the Docker containers.