Introduction: How to Ask for Help Around Here - and What to Do Before Asking

Picture of How to Ask for Help Around Here - and What to Do Before Asking

Sadly there is no category for this but maybe someone will find the right spot to move this Ible.

Ok, what is that all about and why do I post it in the wrong section...
1. There are more andmore requests for help in the forum sections that require several questions to be asked before anyone get's a clue about the real problem.

2. Since Instructables is about making there is no category for this ;)

If you are a new user that does not want to publish an Instructable /or just not yet) but instead seek help in the forum sections, this guide will help you with it.

It will help you to get the help you seek so that everyone can benefit from it.

Step 1: Before Asking a Question in the Forum

You might have a problem that is very urgent to you and you are stuck at a certain point.
You might be trying something new and seek a bit of guiance to avoid costly mistakes.
You might even be inventing something...

But you reached the point where something simply does not work as expected or that you can't fully understand.
So the first impulse is asking someone ele for help - too bad is there is no real person around for this.
Next thing for more andmore people is to ask in our forum sections, for example here or directly in the Recen Answers section.

The thing is we are willing to help but we are only abe to do so if you help us!
So before posting a new topic or question:

1. Don't panic!
2. Is there a chance the problem might be general enough so someone else already solved it?
Ask my friend for help!
For example you want to build a wooden table but only want to get search results related to Instructables:

http://goo.gl/J8SjP5

Now you can study the results and might even find a better design than what you had in mind.

3. The problem is far more specific, like how to make a PWM signal with a NE555 timer:

http://goo.gl/bGU55P

4. Of course you can leave the "site" part out of the Google search to include results from everwhere - quite often you can find good tutorials and videos that way.

Step 2: Time to Ask in the Forum for Help

Ok, you checked the provios step and seriously found no suitable results in Google?
Then it is time to hope someone around here can help you out.

How should you ask for help?

1. Think about your problem and how to specify it.
2. Include as much details as possible.
3. Describe the problem to the best of your ability.
4. Define what help exactly you might need.
5. Stick to the topic - there is no need to post why your dog is not eating if your problem is a broken lawnmover ;)
6. Always assume we have no clue what you are talking about! That means you have to make us understand your peoblem ;)
7. Stick to one topic for your problem and all that is related to it!!
You might think it is better to post your request in several sections to get faster help or a better chance someone can spot your request - that is not the case!
Even if you think you first have to start a topic about what type of screw to use and then another to ask what tool to use to drive it in, really keep it in one place.
8. Last but not lest: Don't abandone you request! Check a few hours after posting for a reply, then once or twice a day.
If you solved your problem by other means let us know how.



Bad example:
Hello, my name is John and can't figure out how to get my LED strip working with the new controller.
I need urgent help as I need the lights for a party tomorrow.

Ok, what is wrong with this request you might wonder?
John might know what type of controller and LED strip he has but we don't.
We also have no clue if there is a wiring problem or something else going on.
So let's try that again:

Good example:

Hello, my name is John and need some advise on how to connect a LED strip to my new controller.
As I am unfamiliar with electronics I would like to know how to wire it all up so the light work as they should.
On the controller it states "Input 12-15V DC, Output 12V, 3A".
(At this point it can be helpful to include a picture showing the label and connections of the controller.
To do so simply upload your image to an image hoster and copy the link into your request.)
The LED strip is Red, Green, Blue and 12V at the full lenght it needs 24W.
(Again an image might be good here...)

With this we have much more info to go on.
So as a follow up we might ask if the 3A output is for all three chanels combined or independet for each channel.
If the images could answer that someone will just state how to connect the LED's or even draw some simple schematics to follow.

Step 3: You Got What You Need, You Were Able to Ix It?

If your problem was solved with success it is only nice and polite to let us know.
A little feedback in this regard is highly appreciated!
In the Recent Answers section you also have the option to mark your favourite answer as the best by simply clicking a button.
Sometimes an answer might be enough to help you out and get you going again but a bit later there might be one that gives you much more details and is spot - so use the button wisely!
Give a good reply to the suggestions made and check once or twice a day.
Even once all is solved and sorted it might be good to check in again after a while and leave some feedback about your project.
And of course: If you would make an Instructable out of your project it would be awesome - and could win you a pro membership!

Step 4:

Comments

Droqles (author)2016-04-12

Thank you for this post, I was trying to find the category for help on projects as I'm new to Instructables and trying to research for a project I might need some expertise on! :)

rickharris (author)2015-08-02

In the hope people would see my attempt to get better questions I posted in several popular categories (didn't really work though) not many views.

https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-ask-a-quest...

Downunder35m (author)rickharris2015-08-05

If people can't be bothered to use Google first, how can we expect them to find such topics?
Would help if something like that would be linked for every new member to avoid all these zero-posting requests from people we never see again...

Downunder35m (author)2015-08-01

I know we have no real section for something like this, but maybe it is possible to place theis Ible in a suitable place?

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