How to start a discussion on a topic or ask questions

Victorine Courtois
edited November 4 in General

Thank you for starting new discussions and asking questions. As the popular class saying goes, there are no foolish questions. Feel free to even ask questions you couldn't ask in class or in school. The more you ask and contribute, the better Educative Guides becomes for everyone.

Here are a few tips to help you get started on the right path:

  • Make the discussion title or question as descriptive as possible. A good discussion title is a short preview of your post and is what gets people to click and read. A well-written title is also going to help search engines better index your post which will bring more people into the discussion. For example, instead of ‘Solve Algebra’, try ‘Help, I’m having problems solving Inequalities of equations.’
  • Prioritize Knowledge. Before starting a topic discussion, asking or answering questions, ensure that your first goal is to learn and help others learn. This way, we will be able to help one another achieve excellence.
  • Provide References/Source Citation. If your answer was sourced from an external source (online or offline); ensure that you state the source. This will help acknowledge the author of the work, and also help those who might be interested in consulting the source for validation and further learning.
  • Be Polite. Respect is reciprocating. Ensure that you respect other users by being polite and gentle with your words and comments.
  • Be Civil. Don't use foul or offensive language. It's better to be formal than to sound rude. What you consider a joke might be abuse to another person.
  • Proofread. Spelling mistakes, typos, and bad grammar will distract readers from the point you’re trying to make. Your drafts are automatically saved as you type. If you’re writing a long post, save it as a draft and come back to it after a few minutes or as long as it takes your brain to forget what you had written.
  • Use minimal formatting. Overly formatted posts can also distract from the message and it encourages others to do likewise and you end up with a hard to read thread.
  • Put your post in the right category. The right category can be the one that has a relevant category name or it can be a category where this kind of post is often made.
  • Use tags. Tags are helpful for others to find keyword related posts. It also helps us get a sense of what topics are popular.
  • If you want responses, ask for them. In marketing this is called a ‘call to action’. If you want others to comment, you can encourage them by asking them to do so. If your post is just an FYI then don’t.
  • Go easy on the insider jargon. Inside jokes and inside references can be fun and make the community unique but too much of it can turn off new members.
  • Add an image. Images add visual interest and make your post look great when shared on social networks. You can embed an image using the button bar or you can upload one from your desktop or phone.
  • Mention others. Credit other members if you are building off their previous comments or if you want to draw them into the discussion. Put the @ before a username to mention someone.
  • Take ownership. Most important of all, take ownership of the discussions that you have created. Respond to comments promptly and thoughtfully. Thank others for commenting on your discussion and help with moderation if things get heated.

Thanks for posting! Have fun learning, sharing and contributing to knowledge!

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