Tip for newbies when asking questions.

by laurencewins 29 replies
This post can apply equally well to anybody, but newbies are often more guilty of doing this and it doesn't help them.

I'm talking about asking questions. Regardless of whether you have started a new thread or contributed to an existing one, IF you want help, BE SPECIFIC! I have seen so many threads recently that ask these sorts of questions:

How can I make money for free?
What am I doing wrong?
How can I find good information about XXX (a particular topic).

The list goes on and on but I will try not to do the same.

IF you want to know something, include as much information in your initial thread as possible. There are a lot of people willing to offer opinions/advice but many, myself included, often just go to the next post because we see your new thread as a waste of time.

Help us to help you and you'll get answers faster!
#main internet marketing discussion forum #advice #information #opinions #questions #threads
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  • Profile picture of the author Regional Warrior
    Had to move it to the main board to good a read in the OT , they should make this a sticky

    Jason
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Thanks for the compliment. I do believe it will help more people as a sticky too.
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  • Profile picture of the author jamie3000
    "My website NOT ranking for my keywords. TELL ME WHAT WRONG WITH IT!?"
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    • Profile picture of the author Regional Warrior
      Originally Posted by jamie3000 View Post

      "My website NOT ranking for my keywords. TELL ME WHAT WRONG WITH IT!?"
      Laurence

      I think he is taking the piss on the fact of the newbie threads always being in CAPS

      Jason
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    When you hijack a thread AND YELL, why would people with good manners want to help you?
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  • Profile picture of the author Gary Pettit
    I find a lot of newbies are vague or not very specific because they aren't even sure how to ask a specific question that can help them resolve their actual issue. This might not be giving newbies enough credit but I remember when I started 10 years ago, I was completely lost and overwhelmed
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I partly agree with you, Gary. Sometimes they don't know what they don't know.
    However, I strongly believe that many newbies can still include more specific information that will help us help them.

    I'm glad I did write this thread now as it has opened up a great discussion. I hope If it helps even one person, it has done its job.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    There's one in every crowd, Jason. I tend to ignore clowns and help those who want to be helped (if I can as I'm not an expert). But someone once said:
    "A smart person uses not only all the brains he/she has, but all the brains they can borrow."
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by jamie3000 View Post

    "My website NOT ranking for my keywords. TELL ME WHAT WRONG WITH IT!?"
    That's simple - Google hates you...

    Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

    There's one in every crowd, Jason. I tend to ignore clowns and help those who want to be helped (if I can as I'm not an expert). But someone once said:
    "A smart person uses not only all the brains he/she has, but all the brains they can borrow."
    Or, as one of my college profs liked to say, "ain't none of us as smart as all of us."
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  • Profile picture of the author DWaters
    Yes indeed he makes a good point about people (newbies as well as others) asking vague questions. You will then see foldks who are tryingto help have to follow up with a lot of question because they need that specific info to provide a good answer.


    Another thing I see all the time is a brand new newbie asking something on this forum instead of looking up the info that is already here. For example they might ask "should I do use Bing ads?'. If they had used the search feature instead and used the keywords "Bing ads" they would find tons of info, lots of threads and posts that discuss that topic. It is a much better way to find info on this forum. Starting one thread with a simple question will yield much less information.
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    • Profile picture of the author Regional Warrior
      Originally Posted by DWaters View Post

      Yes indeed he makes a good point about people (newbies as well as others) asking vague questions. You will then see foldks who are tryingto help have to follow up with a lot of question because they need that specific info to provide a good answer.


      Another thing I see all the time is a brand new newbie asking something on this forum instead of looking up the info that is already here. For example they might ask "should I do use Bing ads?'. If they had used the search feature instead and used the keywords "Bing ads" they would find tons of info, lots of threads and posts that discuss that topic. It is a much better way to find info on this forum. Starting one thread with a simple question will yield much less information.
      D
      I think the reason for that is too many have been spoon fed by the sig spammers it had become the norm but things are changing now lot of threads are being deleted asking questions that have been asked an nausim

      Jason
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken ny
    Do own research and then ask questions, no one is going to hand feed you.
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  • Profile picture of the author JasonTheFreeman
    Thanks for this post Laurence! I'll keep this in mind if I ever decide to ask a question.

    Being specific always makes conversations better even in real life. It saves a lot of time because the people who will answer don't have to ask for more info before they answer.
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Spot on, Laurence. Better-quality questions usually prompt better-quality answers.

    Another worthwhile by-product of being more specific with questions is that it promotes clarity of thought - or at least encourages those asking to think a bit more about what it is they want. That might turn a vague making money online question into a more practical one about a particular aspect of marketing.

    Not only would the responses be more useful to the OP, but the discussion would likely be of more benefit to others following the thread.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I agree, Frank. I also find that if I'm very busy and I see questions that are vague, I'm less inclined to respond because I have to ask multiple questions to learn what the OP really wants.
    I also agree that it makes the thread more helpful because the next reader may want the same information.
    I'll have a think about what questions I have had recently and include them here as examples of what NOT to do and tips to turn them into better posts or threads.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Does anybody else have an opinion on this subject?
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I have noticed quite a few new threads from people who may benefit from reading this thread. It's particularly relevant for new members but also serves as a reminder for more experienced members.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    Some newbies need to realize they are not smarter than the members and moderators who have been on this forum for years.

    If you join the WF and sincerely try to learn a bit on your own and asked questions politely when you run into a 'glitch' - you'll be surprised at how many members are more than willing to help you.

    When you join and lie about where you are located - when you post like crazy rather than use the search to help yourself - when you can't keep your stories straight from one thread to another....someone here will notice.

    Trying to 'game' the forum and its members is really dumb because you waste what could be a valuable resource.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Well said, Kay, and you're one fine example of somebody who helps so many people, whether it's useful help or "tough love" (which some members sorely need).
    The more senior members and moderators of this forum have decades of experience and if you're new and follow the rules of the forum and try to help yourself before asking for help, you'll get all the help you need.

    Everybody started somewhere!
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    • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
      Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

      The more senior members and moderators of this forum have decades of experience and if you're new and follow the rules of the forum and try to help yourself before asking for help, you'll get all the help you need.
      I see two kinds of threads; those I believe have a chance of success and those who don't have a prayer.

      In the latter, I post general information that I feel will help others who may read it, not necessarily the OP.

      If the OP demonstrates that they are taking action, putting in an effort and having problems (we all do) then I try my best to explain everything I know on the subject and will go out of my way to help.

      I'll wager I can tell with 99% accuracy if a poster has a chance of building a successful business based on the first post I read.

      Take care, Mate!

      Brent
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

    This post can apply equally well to anybody, but newbies are often more guilty of doing this and it doesn't help them.

    I'm talking about asking questions. Regardless of whether you have started a new thread or contributed to an existing one, IF you want help, BE SPECIFIC! I have seen so many threads recently that ask these sorts of questions:

    How can I make money for free?
    What am I doing wrong?
    How can I find good information about XXX (a particular topic).

    The list goes on and on but I will try not to do the same.

    IF you want to know something, include as much information in your initial thread as possible. There are a lot of people willing to offer opinions/advice but many, myself included, often just go to the next post because we see your new thread as a waste of time.

    Help us to help you and you'll get answers faster!
    Agreed.
    Often there are too many broad questions which are impossible to answer.
    "How do I make money", etc
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by ChrisBa View Post

      Agreed.
      Often there are too many broad questions which are impossible to answer.
      "How do I make money", etc
      That and "what is the best [whatever]"

      It's like the old barroom debates - Ginger or Maryanne, Betty or Wilma, etc. Everybody has an opinion, and without knowing any specifics, each opinion is worth about what it costs.

      It does bring out the spammers, link droppers and sig pimps, though...
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I thought it was about time to boost this thread up so maybe a few of the new members or others who simply didn't see it previously, can learn from it and perhaps then share their knowledge.
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  • Profile picture of the author Janice Sperry
    I intended to reply when your thread was first posted and I must have forgotten or got sidetracked.

    Your points about being "specific" and detailed are important. The better worded the question the better the answers and input will be.

    For the newbies I would add two points...

    1) If you are asking a question - put a question mark at the end of your title!

    A question mark looks like this ?

    If I see a title "Tips for affiliate marketing", in most cases I am not going to click on it especially if it is not a member I recognize.

    If I see a title "Tips for affiliate marketing?" I will probably check it out. It is not a question that is worded very well, as Laurence points out, but at least I know it is a question and I might have something to offer.

    2) Try to time your questions for when you will be able to respond to the replies that start coming in. Members that stay engaged with the other members that are replying get so much more detailed and targeted help. You may be able to clarify something or provide additional facts that will steer the conversation in a way that is just what you need. If you think you can post a question and come back a few days later to some awesome replies it just doesn't work that way.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
      Originally Posted by Janice Sperry View Post

      1) If you are asking a question - put a question mark at the end of your title!

      A question mark looks like this ?
      This happened just yesterday in Offline. "Some advice on B2B Telemarketing" reads the thread title. Well I know a hell of a lot about that so I almost didn't look at the thread. Turns out the guy wanted help with phone prospecting. He wasn't giving advice.

      That question mark is important, folks.


      Now as to details in questions...details demonstrate to me that you've put in some effort. That you got some way along the process on your own. That you're committed to finding a solution. And all those things encourage me to give you what I've got, because I know you've got a better chance of putting it to use than the one-liner "Tell me how to make money" types. I want to see you've put in some effort and the more specifics you provide with your question show me that.

      The "Show me how to make some darn MONEY!"-type questions...I've answered them on occasion. The answer doesn't make them happy because it isn't about some magic bullet solution.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Thanks, Janice, for your great points. The ???? question mark can be used to find answers or, by not using it, often makes the OP's thread ignored.

    I know there are people in here from all over the world and, as Janice mentioned, their questions may not be well worded but the question mark can be treated like a lighted beacon of hope, shining the way for others to at least read his question.

    Some of these newer members may even ask how best to ask questions. I think that IS a valid question, as long as they have tried and don't expect the seasoned veterans to do all the work for them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Regional Warrior
    Once in awhile a thread that has to be added to the Stickys this one of them and if everyone followed what Lawrence and others have posted this forum would be so much the better
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  • Profile picture of the author posinfo1
    I think that vague threads without a specific question can be caused either by overwhelm or perhaps laziness. If you are really confused, you may not be able to ask an intelligent and coherant question. However, I suspect that some of the time it is just laziness.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Thanks for your valuable input, Jason. I totally agree. If a newbie has tried something and had difficulty so he starts a thread, seeking help, and uses the ? instead of a full stop, he's more likely to get better help. I know I often ignore the threads with a full stop because I'm browsing and their headline doesn't indicate their true reason for posting.
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