How to (and not) ask questions


Is it safe to say that I've been «scolded» twice this week due to my technical questions.

Now
 I was not scolded as the word implies but the context was that; and I did deserve it if I'm honest.

Strike One

First time was @Orta on a Slack channel that was supposed to be just #noise.

I was «abusing» the channel constantly asking questions regarding CocoaPods, either usage and/or for my podspec.

Whilst I didn't do it with the idea of «abusing» it in mind but instead with the idea of maybe sharing some potentials issues (or not and avoid generating non-existent issues) and also thinking that since most of the creators/maintainers of the tool where on the channel I could get a better grip of what I was doing and avoid generating «noise» on the web I was doing it on a disorganized way.

Even though my intentions were good my approach was not the correct.

Strike Two

Tonight I felt short on my «questioning game» again:

Yet again; I don't think Felix was mad but he was on point. I was kind of shouting a question directly to him while the rest of the world stood there waiting.

I was later «instructed» that opening with a mention would benefit by everyone who follow us both to read the thread.

On my mind I thought about asking a private question but thought that sharing it with the world could be potentially benefitial to others (and maybe someone else could shed some light to the issue) but again I was bad on my «implementation».

So


All in all I don't feel like they were «mad» or I was doing wrong; I believe I was approaching the issues from a bad angle.

I always had in mind the idea of sharing knowledge and also avoiding noise; what was bad was the execution.

This 2 events made me reflect deeply about how I am approaching my technical questions and what proper channels are already available to me.

I know I'll always have this «other» channels but I shouldn't abuse them and instead actively participate in a smart way to make me an asset and not an ass.

To sum up:

  • Don't be afraid to ask questions.
  • Don't be afraid to reach out to those who know more than you
  • Be mindful of where you are asking the questions
  • Be mindful of how you are asking said questions

Just keeping those simple pointers will help you get far and would also avoid any potential embarrassments.

After all I already made an ass of myself, the least you could do is learn from my mistakes.

Posted by Esteban Torres on 9/26/2015


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