re: How do you train people to ask good questions VIEW POST


Many questions can't be answered because they simply lack context.

"Oy, why doesn't the Frooble return glob to the blargle here?"

Whoa, whoa, wait, hang on a second, the who to the what now? See, you've been stuck in this headspace for the last two hours or so and you know (to some degree) what all of these things mean. Me over here though, I've just been sipping my coffee for the last 10 minutes and thought about dinner tonight. I have no idea what you're talking about and I most certainly don't have the necessary details needed to answer this question in my head right now.

So, whenever you want to approach somebody else with a question you have, deliver enough context with it to get them on the same page. Zoom out first to get a big picture view, even just for yourself. In fact, this may be all you really need to do to answer the question yourself in the first place. But if that in itself didn't help, at least start from there…

"Oy, so you know that component Foo that does the bar on the logging backend, right?"
"And sometimes when X happens followed directly by a Y, the bar gets into this weird state."
Mmm, okay.
"So in those circumstances, the Frooble doesn't return glob to the blargle, and I'm not sure why."
I see, I see…

That makes questions much more answerable.


Yes! Context is so important and approaching it like a conversation is a great tip.


Bulls-ear, catnip!

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