Community News and Tips: How to ask questions and get answers

Blog Post created by timothy_hales-esristaff Employee on Aug 15, 2016

Did you know that 21% of GeoNet questions do not receive a reply? Why is this? One of the reasons is because many of the unanswered questions don't include the necessary details, or complete information, for subject matter experts to understand the issue and provide an answer. For this week's Community News and Tips, we'd like to share a few simple tips on how to ask and get answers to your questions. 


By following the steps below you can not only help reduce the amount of unanswered questions but also:

  • Make sure your questions are shared and posted correctly on GeoNet 
  • Help identify the best subject matter expert to answer your question.  
  • Make it easier and quicker for others who may have the same or similar question  


Step 1 – Search First  

Begin searching by typing the question, the error message, or keyword into the “Ask a question” widget on the home page. The top related questions will be returned. If you do not find what you are looking for, then you can "Search all results" or "Ask it" to create your own question.  

Step 2 – Enter a New Question 

If you do not find an answer to your question for the search results then click the "Ask It" button. This will allow you to create a new question and provide the following information: 

  1. Enter a descriptive title so that other community members can have a general idea of the question before clicking the discussion. 
  2. In the body of the discussion provide an explanation of the issue and what problem you're trying to solve.  
  3. Provide the software, version, and/or programing language being used. This is imperative for others to understand the foundation of your question or issue.  
  4. Including the following information will also help subject matter experts better answer your question:
    • Error messages
    • Screenshots of the error or issue 
    • Data types
  5. Select a place to post your question. Results from your initial search can give you a good idea of where to post your question. You can also see all of our Communities for ideas of where to post. See also: Where do I post my question?!?
  6. Add appropriate tags to help others find your question. 


Step 3 – Come back to say "thanks" and recognize others 

Once you have received an answer to your question we encourage you to come back to the community do one, or all of, these steps below. This final steps help to recognize others for their contribution, improve search results for future questions, and ultimately make the community more valuable and meaningful. 


Now that you've reviewed the steps, here's an example of how the title and description of your questions should look like. Given the nature of topic, your title and description length might vary. However, we do encourage you to keep your question content as clear, and concise as possible. 



Thanks for following along for this week's tip. Stay tuned for next week's tip as we explore how to answer questions.