How to improve the formulation of my questions when asking for help?


  • I hope that it’s not too much out of topic
  • The goal isn’t to start a flamewar against stackoverflow at all, I’m trying to improve the way I’m asking question

Whenever I am asking a question here, I get very useful answers. I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong when asking question on stackoverflow, and I would like to get some advices on how to improve theirs formulations. To be more precise, I find that comments that I got on my last question about git where not very constructive which may mean that I wasn’t clear enoygh when asking it.

The reason I asking this here is because, as I said, I find the quality of the answer on this forum very high and people are generally both welcoming and helpful. So I guess that some of you may have advices on how to improve the formulation of technical questions.


I don't think the problem is you. I stopped using StackOverflow 10+ years ago. Out of politeness, I will refrain from bashing StackOverflow here.

To some extent, there's simply a factor of a smaller, younger community is always going to be nicer, more welcoming, and forgiving of mistakes and newcomers in general. Do keep that in mind when comparing any two communities!

In this case, the effect is amplified by the moderation policies of the sites, from the start SO has been focused on the "someone googling for their problem finds a good answer quickly" - and for all the heat SO takes, they're doing extremely well on that metric. Unfortunately that does directly lead to the individual questions being judged as to their worth, and that easily can spill into judging the questioner.

On the other hand this forum is explicitly for trying to help users of Rust, the focus is different, the motivations are different, the policies are different.

However I will say there's always at least some angle of "what question did you actually want to ask here", that's tricky to find a balance for: the XY problem, if you want a search term, or where a question is simply ambiguous and it's not clear what the answer should be. Here I try and make some best effort guesses and answer them at a high level (see this question I recently replied to) but that can also just be confusing. To some extent, you should simply expect that clarifying questions are part of the process, and the only real difference between this forum and SO there is that the presentation and structure on SO discourages "speculative" answers that might not have anything to do with your actual problem.

I guess the TLDR is just nobody's really doing anything wrong? Try and be respectful and considerate of people regardless of which side of the exchange you're on? Don't go to sites that make you sad? I dunno. :person_shrugging:


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