Questions

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Asking questions is one way to acquire knowledge.

However, how and where you ask questions and who you ask questions of may have a significant bearing on the amount of knowledge acquired. Here are some pointers to get you started.

Asking a question

Having a question does not, necessarily, imply stupidity, only that you have identified that you have a lack of knowledge and want to acquire it. While there is no such thing as a stupid question, sometimes the answer is trivial or so basic that your lack of knowledge will be considered a sign of stupidity by those the question is asked of. Also, if you have a question, so might others. So having a question answered may be a learning opporunity not only for you but others as well. Therefore, how and where you ask your question(s) is often just as important as the question you asked.

Before you ask a question

If you can, do some research first. You may discover the answer, or perhaps discover the best place, forum or person to pose your question to. At the very least refine your question to the point where you can ask the right question in the right way of the right person.

Phrasing your question

"The member should start his question with a question word." - Mr. Speaker, 3 March 2004[1]

Questions that result in good answers (open questions) usually start with a question word such as Who, What, Where, When, Why, How or even Which, Wherefore, Whatever, Whom, Whose, Wherewith, Whither, or Whence [2]. If you start a (closed) question with words like are, can, do, did, has, is, was, were, or will then be prepared for a yes or no answer.

Where to ask

Choose the forum to ask your question in wisely. Do some research first, if you can.

Be careful what you ask for

Be careful what you ask for, you may just get it (and nothing else.)

Also, not all knowledge is free. If you are asking for someone to write computer code for a problem that you have then perhaps you need to hire a consultant programmer. You might get a contract offer, but no code, and no answer to your question. However, if all you were after was an example of a similar solution, but you would do the code writing for your specific problem, then people might be more helpful and willing to share their knowledge freely.

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