Ask A Question Best Practices

Sometimes when coding, you get stuck - you’ve tried your best to troubleshoot your error, and you’re just not sure how to move forward! In these cases, it’s totally okay (and encouraged!) for you to ask for help on AAQ. We want to help you as effectively as possible, so we ask that you keep a few things in mind when opening a new question:

Clearly Communicate the Issue and Provide Relevant Context:

Clearly identifying your issue helps us to help you efficiently, and it also improves your ability to talk about your code! In general, your opening question should give a sense of what specific problem you’re running into. After you’ve opened your question, you can then provide a bit more information:

  • What error are you getting? If it is an error running Learn tests, please provide the error for your first failure, along with the details for that failure. Please share all errors and code as code snippets as per this article:

  • What code is triggering this error? If you are getting an error from the tests or in the browser, the error will often give line numbers that help point to which lines of code are related to that error.

  • What do you think is causing this error, and what have you tried so far to resolve it? The more information you can give us (within reason), the better. 

If you have not provided these details, we will likely ask you for them, as they help us to troubleshoot your issue. 


Be Positive!

Coding can be frustrating, especially if you’ve been stuck on an error for a while and have tried everything you can think of to resolve it -  with no luck! Tech coaches know that feeling all too well. However, maintaining a positive outlook when you open a question makes it easier for you to engage with us in an open-minded way that promotes learning.

Be Patient!

Wait times can vary in AAQ, depending on how many questions are open at the moment and how many TCs are currently online. We are generally staffed based on how busy it typically is during that time of the day, but we can have an unexpected volume of questions come in all at once. Be patient with us! 

Be Proactive!

While we are happy to help (that’s what we’re here for!), there are some things you can do to help the process run more smoothly:

  • Continue to troubleshoot with us, especially if you are waiting in line for a screen share! This could be googling your error or relevant resources, using a debugging tool to find out more about what is causing your issue, etc.

  • While you are welcome to request a screen share, we may not be able to provide you with one immediately. If we continue to ask you questions while you wait, please work with us! We are trying to help you as efficiently as we can. 

  • When the error you opened the question for has been resolved, please resolve your question and continue to work independently! Again, our main goal at AAQ is to help support students as they learn to become independent, resilient developers - this doesn’t happen if you don’t get practice debugging independently! You can always open a new question if you get stuck again (ideally after troubleshooting for ~20 minutes or so), and when you do so, your question goes right to the top of the list of active questions! 

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