Getting effective answers to your online forum questions


The internet has become more than just something that was created to connect people. Over the years, it has also acted as a meeting point for knowledge. There are millions of articles posted on the internet daily, terabytes and terabytes worth of data being uploaded. Which begs the question, how do you access this data? Online forums!

Online forums have become such a strong and directional tool that has helped learners find useful information about different topics. However, asking questions effectively is central to the pursuit of science and posting questions to online forums is a great way to improve that skill. Furthermore, knowing how to use forums is a great asset for your career: it will help you overcome obstacles faster and connect with people who are doing similar things online. However, in order to get the most out of online forums, you must first learn how to ask good questions.

Asking questions on forums is somewhat of an art form: easy to try but difficult to master. It is easy because we have been asking questions from a very young age. On the other hand, it is difficult because it is not enough to ask any question; we must ask good questions so that other people will be willing to spend some of their time to help us.

The kind of answers you get to your technical questions depends as much on the way you ask the questions as on the difficulty of developing the answer. A well-crafted question attracts good answers like a magnet, while “hasty sounding questions get hasty answers, or none at all”.

Here are a few ways to help you ask better questions;

Do your homework first

Read the knowledge base files, documentation and/or appropriate e-books first, search for similar questions/answers on the forum. Try both the forum search and the site-wide search. Also Google your problem. Then, try to solve the problem yourself, and describe what you have tried. It is much more rewarding to help someone who has tried himself first.

Use a short and descriptive title

The title is the only part of your message that most visitors will see, so make sure that a reader can understand the important part of your question only from reading the title. If needed also state some detail of the problem.

Post in the right forum, follow sub-forum recommendations

Make sure that you post your question in the correct forum category, and only post your message once. Cross-posting can sometimes be impolite and irritating. When you have identified the right category to post your question to please be sure to check for a sticky post that contains additional, sub-forum specific, “How to get help” suggestions.

Factual Questions

Factual questions are generally those questions for which there is a known and verifiable answer. These are often straightforward questions that are the foundations of more complex concepts.

Include enough details

Write a comprehensive question that includes enough details to understand your problem without having to ask complementary questions. Include important settings, source code or software used, physical reasoning, equations, error messages, etc. Write in clear English using punctuation and paragraphs when needed. Preview and proof-read your message before you post it. Clear and well formatted questions always get more answers. Describe what you have done to try to solve your problem. People are much more willing to help if you show that you have made an effort yourself first.

Give feedback

Say thanks when someone has helped you and summarize how you finally solved your problem. I mean, they are unpaid volunteers and it is much more fun to help people who show their gratitude. A final note on the solution also helps others with the same problem. Also take the time to answer other people’s questions.

Problem Solving Questions

Problem solving questions can also range from relatively straightforward scenarios in which the recommended strategies and solutions might be known, or well accepted, to very complex scenarios in which answers and solutions are not known and in need of truly creative and innovative thinking.

Typical problem solving questions are generally good for the following situations:

  • Useful for serious thinking about complex issues
  • Useful for customizing learning and making it relevant to learners’ lives and goals
  • Can incorporate challenges from current events and multidimensional issues
  • Gets learners engaged and involved in real world issues
  • Good preparation for learner projects, either individual or group
  • Useful for critical thinking

Be sure to keep these tips in mind when posting on our digital marketing forum on this website.