How to ask developers for help

Today I reached out to the maintainers of rxPY for help on understanding the window_with_count-operator. I have trying to get this to work for a while now, and it just does not what I would expect. I have read the official rxPY-documentation, searched Stackoverflow, Google, and the project’s GitHub issues (because people are very helpful there in this particular project). I also looked at the tests, but those were confusing me even more. So I decided to ask for help by submitting a GitHub issue. Note: In general, I would assume that GitHub issues are the right place to ask for help. Many projects will automatically close questions, because issues are reserved for issues, like bug reports. However, in this case the project maintainers are actively answering questions there.

While writing my question, I remembered how often I have stumbled across terrible questions on Stackoverflow. Many of these questions are showing that the person asking has put absolutely no effort into it. Consequently, they will often get not answer.

Here are my guidelines for writing a good question:

  1. The guiding principle: Think of the person you are asking, and make it as easy as you can, for them to help you. Yes, this will take time and effort on your part. If you don’t want to put in the time to do that, why should somebody take the time to answer?
  2. Show that you have done some research before asking for help. This shows you are making an effort and don’t just ask for help because you are too lazy to research yourself.
  3. Use available formatting tools (usually markdown) to make your question easier to parse. Again, this shows that you are making an effort.
  4. Include a short, self-contained example. Ideally, this can be run by anyone simply by copy and pasting.
  5. Show the expected outcome.
  6. Show the actual outcome.
  7. Then point out the differences between expected and actual outcome, again, to make it easier for the reader
  8. Keep it short. If you cannot keep it short, use formatting to make the text easier to parse. If people need 10 minutes to read your question, and another 10 minutes to understand it, then you need to shorten it some more.

Here is the question I asked on GitHub: Is this the expected behavior of the window_with_count-operator?

See also