Skip to main content

Asking a smart question

· 3 min read
Alejandro Revilla

/by apr/

Among the many helpful jPOS developers in our community, @marklsalter stands out for his professional, accurate, and detailed answers, but he has his standards when it comes to how you ask questions. You need to ask a smart question. jPOS has Mark (and Victor, and Andy, and Dave, and Matias, and Chhil, and Barzi, and, and, and), but if you go to any other open source community asking for free advice, you'll find another Mark, or worst than that, you'll find no Mark and your question will just get ignored and you won't even know why.

This is what you should expect as a response if you don't do your homework and ask a smart question (from a recent reply in jpos-users, in this case, related to a vague question about to the Transaction Manager - could have been anything else).

Please always start by asking a smart question.

Please read this now :-

Yes, the whole things, go on, treat yourself, it will take 5-10 minutes and save us both hours going forward.

Preparing to ask a smart question should cause you to read the available documentation, to understand it and enable you to make sure you include all the relevant details needed for another remote person to help you, but should also make sure you have understood the documentation and how it applies to your need.

I can honestly say that on this opening post that I could see that it was going to be another thread that would drag on - without you ...

  1. Apparently making any effort to understand what you have done incorrectly or "misunderstood".
  2. Trying first to understand how and why your set-up is broken
  3. Referring to the documentation on the life cycle of the TransactionManager and it's given participants - which perhaps surprisingly, works perfectly when users follow the few simple rules and grasp what it does for you.

By the way, I understand that a TM configuration might not be obvious straight away, but often the best things are worth the effort. I still refer to the documentation again and again (and again).

I will include some comment below to, in the hope that you read it and take the time next time to ask a smart question.

Remember as you read through that I am not taking the piss out of you, but trying to highlight why this is a terrible opening question and how you can (hopefully) help yourself next time.