Info about Info

Some Common Information related Questions that I see in Testing Community Forums (Telegram, Discord, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) on a regular basis:

  • I need some information about <Tool/Technology/Company Name>, Can someone please help here?
  • Does anyone have some information about <Tool/Technology/Company Name>?
  • Can anyone help me with <Tool/Technology Name>?
  • Anyone with experience in <Tool/Technology Name>?

I know most people put such messages to seek some help for their specific questions. However, I feel that these types of messages lead to confusion for potential folks who could actually help you.

If you are not going to be specific about your problem or you don’t know how to ask your question in one go, You will automatically lose a potential chance of getting it answered.

Questioning and communicating your concerns is an essential skill for any modern-day software professional. One thing that I have learned from my mentor, Ajay Balamurugadas, is the importance of typing the whole message in one go, rather than waiting for the other person to acknowledge your message and then giving them full context.

This is the same reason, why I never just say hello to anyone. Check out nohello.net to learn more about it.

Bad Example: Does anyone has experience in Zephyr?

Good Example: Hey Guys, Looking for some help on how to generate test reports out of test plans from the Zephyr plugin of Jira. I tried looking up this information in the documentation but seems it is obsolete as of today.

The reason why the latter example has more chances of being answered is that it describes the exact problem you are facing, you help people to understand your context in one go, and you also showcased that you have done some background work before just asking in the chat group.

What’s the issue if we wait for the other person to reply and then give them the full context? Wouldn’t that be a good incremental approach to data sharing?

  • No. Remember, It’s not a call, it’s a chat message/comment.
  • Chats Forums are intended to be an asynchronous mode of communication, and there is a purpose behind that.
  • Your probable problem solver would not always be available to listen to your problem and suggest solutions.
  • Your probable problem solver might not have the time, energy, or availability to indulge in a discussion with you to understand your entire problem. If you have a negligible or zero reputation in the group then most likely, they would not be indulging in such discussions.
  • It’s always a challenge to come out of my current context and ask someone what they need the exact help with.
  • However, what if they could just read your well-written question, and share a link, blog post, or resource which they might have ready in their repository? Don’t you want to give this opportunity to them?
  • In short, Don’t make it hard for people to help you.

So, If you were looking for some info and you are reading this after I have shared this link with you in a message, then:

I need some info about the info that you need so that I can check if I have that info or not. If I will not have that info then maybe I can request someone who can probably have that info but no one can give you that info till you give us that info about the info that you need. So, could you please give me that info? or do you want some more info before giving us that info? 😀

Rahul Parwal

In short: Just ask the entire question in one go. If you have done prior work on your problem, then mention that to build the context. But, Just Ask!

Thank you in advance 🙂

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