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Thought(s) about SOP questions...

by wjw (Priest)
on May 23, 2014 at 17:34 UTC ( #1087245=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

SOP on PM: a basic template for successful questions


To provide a 'thought' template (or form/checklist) that `concisely' guides a SOPW participant through preparing to post a question on said SOPW.

How do I post a question effectively? is one of the places to really dig in to writing a good post. This hopefully serves the purpose of getting you to think about all that good advice.

What I am working on(brief overview)
  • Platform
  • OS
  • Integrating with...(excel, libreoffice...etc...)
  • Perl Version
  • Using (module::name::?) if appropriate
  • What I want for output
  • What I am using for input
  • Combine this with 'What the problem is' below and you will have a good start to answering How do I compose an effective node title?
What the problem is
  • First, ensure this is not XY Problem
  • Post relevant code (use code tags, 'code' or 'code')
  • Keep to relevant portions.
  • Make sure it compiles (or would if complete, copy exactly what you have(not data though))
What you have tried
  • If you provide some of the above, it will prove you did something and are not looking for free coding service.
Errors you're are getting ... if you already tried the following: (helpfully suggested by LanX)
  • use warnings;
  • use strict;
  • use diagnostics;
  • Then:
  • Copy/paste the errors in code tags with the rest of your post.
My input
  • Include __DATA__ block or at least a few lines of the input file(also in code tags, 'code' or 'c')
  • If it is a known format like JSON or TNNAME.ORA, mention that.
  • Clean it for security purposes, but don't screw it up! Original size, character counts etc... are important!
What it is you don't understand about solving the problem
  • I don't know how to format...
  • I don't understand the data structure...
  • I don't understand this code at line...
  • ...

Further excellent suggestions regarding the subject matter from other PM's:

If you manage to get at least one clear, concise statement about what you are trying to solve from each those first three main categories, you are likely to get pretty good, pretty quick help. If you can't do that, go back and ask yourself those questions in the first three categories, get them clear in your head, then write them. The clarity of your question might lead you to your own answer, and if not, it will surely help those attempting to assist you...

No one is going to beat you up for not knowing how to state every question above. Hell, my posts have sadly not even followed this format! They will from now on! But if you give it half a shot your results are going to be a lot more satisfying, and the questions you get about your question for clarification will help you better define your question, and therefore your solution. Really, this is all covered in [id://174051>, but here is some of it again...

Hope that is helpful...

A solution is simply a well stated problem...otherwise the problem is not a problem, it is a fact...

    Updates:(newest first)
  • Added a few select links
  • Clean up, re-order in more logical step by step sequence base on other successful SOP postings(based on my opinion
  • Added link to suggestion, Added 'Purpose Statement'
  • Clean up, clarify Title
  • Added reference to XY problem
  • Added this update list
  • Added suggestions from subsequent posters
  • Provide example of Excellent Question
  • Provide example of Marginal Question
  • Provide example of Poor Question

...the majority is always wrong, and always the last to know about it...

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results...

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Thought about questions...
by LanX (Cardinal) on May 23, 2014 at 17:49 UTC

    Errors your are getting ...

    did you already try

    • use warnings;
    • use strict;
    • use diagnostics;

    Cheers Rolf

    ( addicted to the Perl Programming Language)

    PS: see also How do I post a question effectively?

      Excellent! Thank You.

      ...the majority is always wrong, and always the last to know about it...

      Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results...

Re: Thought about questions...
by GrandFather (Sage) on May 23, 2014 at 19:10 UTC
Re: Thought about questions...
by tobyink (Canon) on May 23, 2014 at 20:01 UTC

    See also

    use Moops; class Cow :rw { has name => (default => 'Ermintrude') }; say Cow->new->name
Re: Thought about questions...
by sundialsvc4 (Abbot) on May 26, 2014 at 04:18 UTC

    Folks should also keep in mind that it’s very natural to hit-upon the first apparent approach to a problem, and the first apparent way of implementing that approach ... and to ask a very detailed question about why that approach isn’t working ... when in fact what you’ve got is:   “what do you get when you cross a white rabbit with a red herring?”   (Also known as the “XY Problem.”)   Be sure to make it clear what it is that you are ultimately trying to accomplish, so that it is possible to more quickly determine if your general approach is likely to be a good one.

    PerlMonks is generally a good place to ask “thought questions” as well as very-detail-specific ones.   There are a lot of well-seasoned “old hands” here who are generally amiable to be early sounding-boards, for the point when you are first faced with a (not-homework ...) problem and are unsure how to proceed with it in-general.

Re: Thought(s) about SOP questions...
by taint (Chaplain) on Jun 04, 2014 at 15:44 UTC
    Nice work, wjw!

    I'd like to nominate this for

    1. a Merge with How do I post a question effectively?.
    2. or added to the list of links listed just below the compose box, seen when composing a node at PM.
    As to #2; I'm not sure it shouldn't precede How do I post a question effectively?, in the list.

    Again, great work. Thanks for taking toe time to create it, wjw. :)


    λɐp ʇɑəɹ⅁ ɐ əʌɐɥ puɐ ʻꜱdləɥ ꜱᴉɥʇ ədoH

Re: Thought(s) about SOP questions...
by sundialsvc4 (Abbot) on Jun 10, 2014 at 11:18 UTC

    A few other tips that come to my mind:

    • Please don’t “code dump.”   Even if you use code tags to soften the blow, actual application source-code is largely irrelevant, except for the small, isolated pieces which directly illustrate the conundrum that you are now having and your general approach to the problem you are trying to solve.   Try to contain yourself to only what you consider to be relevant source-code and the code needed to understand it.   If a responder disagrees, they will tell you ... and remember that this response, too, will be instructive to Future Monks Who Will Follow Thee.™
    • “We want to see your data structure design,” because this often has direct bearing on an application and its problems.   We also need to know, in orders-of-magnitude, how many records you have.   However, if your question “merely” consists of not being clear as exactly how one should access a data-structure in Perl, you can probably solve this problem yourself and it would be instructional to you for you to do so:
      1. Construct a small, separate Perl script (with use strict; use warnings; !!) which constructs a tiny mock-up of the data structure that you intend to use, and which attempts to access elements from that structure.   Reduce this program to the minimum necessary to illustrate what you are trying to do.
      2. Use Data::Dumper freely to dump the “before” data structure (to make sure that it really is what you thought it was), and “after” (to verify that your expected modifications actually worked).
    • Do everything possible to politely focus attention on your problem and to quickly direct the reader’s focused attention to it.   This starts with the title – especially, the title – and with the appropriate placement of your piece into one of the three major forums:   Seekers, Meditations, or PM-Discussions.   It continues with a to-the-point exposition of your problem and its relevant materials, in a normal-sized font.   Anyone should be able to ascertain the thrust of your question and the relevant context within no more than thirty seconds.
    • When you arrive at your answer, it is fine to mark the question as “solved” and/or to summarize your answer on the OP, but please do not remove the OP or substantially alter it.   Threads on a forum like this one are a persistent information resource for Future Monks Who Will Follow Thee.™   Remember that you are also writing for them.   (A key asset of PerlMonks is the size of its archive of valuable posts.)   Even though you might come away embarrassed by your “fumbling mistakes” or what-have-you, very soon someone will come along behind you who has made or would have made that same mistake.   Digital computers make fools of us all on a regular basis, and yes, we all know that very well.   You’re among friends Monks.   Therefore, for maximum future-benefit (perhaps for many years to come), allow your thread to stand.   Add a concluding post which “brings the thread to closure” if you think that this will add to future benefit.

    PerlMonks is a very active forum.   You can expect an enlightened reply more-or-less immediately.   The quality of the responses will rest directly on the quality of your question’s presentation.

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