Making some statements and asking for advice isn't a question

Raymond Chen

This is a corollary to Don’t forget to ask your question: Making some statements and asking for advice isn’t a question.

When we do X, and then select Y, and then click the Q button, we get an error message saying that Q can’t be performed because “The computer Z that Y refers to cannot be contacted.” Can you provide advice?

Now, this person did remember to ask a question, but the question doesn’t really specify what sort of advice was desired. In this case, the question might be “Can you please provide advice on how we can avoid that error message?” But even that isn’t a good question.

The error message already told you how to fix the problem: Re-establish the connection to the computer Z. Is the problem that you think the connection is working and you’re still getting the error? Is the problem that you don’t want to or can’t establish a connection to computer Z, but you still want to perform operation Q? Why do you think it should be possible to perform the operation even though there is no Z? Do you simply want to suppress the error message?


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