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Here's a list of questions to check after you've written a question (or to think about before you post your question):

  • Have you done some research before asking the question?
  • If your question doesn't document your research, are you sure it shouldn't?
  • Do you need to perform some basic troubleshooting first to try and isolate what is failing?
  • Can you reproduce this problem after a restart of the app or the system?
  • Are you asking several questions at once rather than discarding all side questions leaving one clear question to be addressed?
  • Have you explained what you've already tried to solve your problem?
  • Have you specified which Apple Product or Service you are using?
  • Have you listed your OS version and application version as a precise number and not just "the latest"?
  • If a program or script produces different results to what you expected, have you stated what you expected, why you expected it, and the actual results?
  • If your question includes scripting, have you included a short but complete script?
  • If your app or script doesn't run, have you included the exact error?
  • If your question is related to anything locale-specific (online stores, third party web sites, time zones or languages other than the default), have you stated the relevant information about your system (e.g. your current time zone or that your App Store account is set for the Phillipines)?
  • Are you sure your question is about the actual problem you're having? That is, you are trying to solve a problem (X), and you think you have a solution (Y), but when it doesn't work you fall into the trap of asking about Y instead of X. For more info refer to What is the XY problem?

Some further general advice that applies to any site (and not just Ask Different)

  • Have you checked that your question looks reasonable in terms of formatting?
  • Have you checked the spelling and grammar to the best of your ability?
  • Have you read the whole question to yourself carefully, to make sure it makes sense and contains enough information for someone coming to it without any of the context that you already know?

If the answer to any of these questions is "no", please take the time to fix up your question before posting.

I realize this may seem like a lot of effort, but it will help you to get a useful answer as quickly as possible. More importantly, this checklist helps ensure your question and any answers it gets will be far more useful for everyone. After all, the purpose of this site is to document useful answers for everyone and you, the one asking, gets a custom answer as payback for asking a great question.

If you solve your problem in the process, please go ahead and ask the question and then provide your solution as an answer (and not by tacking the answer to the end of the question body).

Don't forget that everyone who edits and answers here to help you does so out of the goodness of their heart. It's up to us when we ask to make their job as simple as possible so their contributions can help both you and everyone else that shares this community space.


This post on Stack Overflow meta inspired me to copy unchanged some of the text above and adapt the rest of Jon's words for the specific nature of questions we get here that end up closed, down voted or where people just don't get a decent answer ever. Thanks to Jon Skeet and everyone here that moderates by flagging / editing / asking and answering.

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    Do we get a penny for each time we have to link to this in a comment under a new Question? :) – Tetsujin Nov 18 '18 at 8:11
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    This is very good, thanks for putting it together. What's your thought on how this will be used? Is it mean to go into the Help Center? I'm just a little confused on how someone asking a question will see this info. – fsb Nov 18 '18 at 14:56
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    @fsb See the short discussion in the main chat. If we ask posters for clarification it might be easier to link to the post here than to go through all the details each time. – nohillside Nov 18 '18 at 17:55
  • Can you explain this one? Don't really understand: Are you asking several questions at once rather than discarding all side questions leaving one clear question to be addressed? – JBis Nov 20 '18 at 3:28
  • Also can we add one about using the correct tags. Not too broad but also includes all relevant items. – JBis Nov 20 '18 at 3:30

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