Guidelines for asking a technical question in our Community

We want to help our learners make progress towards their goals as fast as possible. That’s why we’re introducing 5 guidelines for all technical questions asked in our Community.

This might seem counterintuitive to some.

“I need to ask my question, now! Following some guidelines will only slow me down.”

Trust me, it won’t. These guidelines will ensure that you get your answers faster. Here’s how:

  • Guidelines will allow volunteers to understand your questions more easily. Thus, they’ll be able to answer them instead of asking you for clarifications or, in the worst case, ignoring your question.
  • They’ll also help your peers in discovering similar questions over search more easily. Similarly, if you hold your peers accountable to these guidelines, it may just help you when you’ve got the same question someday!

Technical Question Guidelines

Whenever you ask a technical question in the Q&A category of our Community, please follow these guidelines:

GUIDELINE #1: Use topic titles that are unique to your problem

The title is the only part of your topic that everyone will see. Using good topic titles is one of the best ways to get a faster response from the Community.

A good rule of thumb is to think about whether your title is unique to the problem that you’re facing. Unique topic titles will contain the name of the function or method that is causing the error or even the kind of manipulation you’re trying to do.

Don’t use titles like “Code not working”, “Solution not being accepted”, or “Need help in the 1st course”.

GUIDELINE #2: Add tags to mention the technology used

At a minimum, specify Python, SQL, or R . Awesome if you add tags for pandas , matplotlib, ggplot, or other specific technology that you’re working with.

If you ask a question that is specific to one of Dataquest’s course screens, to ease the process of tag adding, scroll down to the Get Help menu (you can find it at the bottom of the lesson screen, right below the Instructions section) and select the “Community discussion” option. It will help you pinpoint the exact course/lesson page you’re facing difficulty with and also show you relevant/similar posts that might help you to attempt a few more tries. Of course, you’re welcome to create a new topic if you’re still not able to solve the issue, and tags will now be automatically attached to your post!

image

GUIDELINE #3: Include the link to the lesson URL if available

If your question is related to one of Dataquest’s course screens, please mention the URL of that screen in your question. There are 2 ways this is helpful:

  1. It gives some much-needed context to the Community members who may volunteer to help you. You want to make it easy for people to help you, right? As easy as you can.
  2. It invokes our auto-tagging system that tags your question with appropriate tags (based on the course and lesson) to make it easier for future learners to find it.

GUIDELINE #4: Format all code using Markdown – no screenshots

It’s almost impossible to read code that doesn’t use Markdown. So do enclose any code inside a pair of ``` like this:

Screen-Recording-2020-06-23-at-1

Note: Pay attention that those are not single quotes ''', they are backticks ```. You can find it just below the Esc key in most English keyboard layouts.

GUIDELINE #5: Accept and mark the answer as Solution

If you find a reply that answers your question satisfactorily, please mark it as Solution. Doing so will help:

  • Other learners, who are searching for the same problem, find the solution faster
  • With the Learning Assistant program - by marking the answer as a solution, you can directly help the person who helped you.

Here’s how you can do that:

Screen-Recording-2020-06-19-at-4


Enforcing the guidelines

These guidelines aren’t meant to prevent/discourage learners from asking questions in the Community. We realize that learning data skills can be overwhelming, especially when you get stuck.

That’s why we aren’t making the question-asker accountable for following the guidelines. As a question-asker, you’re eligible to get your question answered whether or not you follow them. (Of course, if you do follow them, you might get your answer faster.)

Instead, we’ll make it the responsibility of our passionate Community Moderators to enforce these guidelines.

This will ensure that we create a welcoming community where all learners can get help fast! :rocket:


I’m grateful to our amazing Community Moderators and Learning Assistants who enthusiastically helped me in framing these guidelines. :heart:

You can read more in this post:

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