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Help yourself if you ask for help

This is a slight modification of a Reddit post I created a few months ago. It was written for Reddit, however the analogy works even if you ask for help anywhere else too.

I have not been on Reddit for long, however I have been watching the posts being submitted. In all fairness, I have a couple of suggestions to you if you need help with something larger than a commandline or suggestion of a command line:

How to ask for help

  1. Always state the goal of the solution. What is the problem you have decided to try and solve. If your solution is to produce output, explain what it should output and what form (console, xml, json, text, csv etc).
  2. How will the solution be executed (as a script, as part of an module or as an function)
  3. If your solution is not working, share the whole script/function included dependency code, not just the line/command/function that is not working.
  4. If you code requires parameters and your code does not include any help/comments on how it works, explain what the parameters are and how you want them to work. Also important to include a section(just a few lines) of required input files like csv/cms/json or if the script is designed to receive input from an operator at the console.
  5. What version of powershell are you targeting and if it is executed on a client/server.
  6. Include error messages you are receiving when executing the code

Also if you manage to:

  1. Write and format your code (all codelines should start with 4 spaces (blanks)) to be rendered nicely)
  2. Avoid using aliases (use full cmdlet names)
  3. Use logical variable names (too long is better than too short, however that is a personal perference). This also applies to parameter names.

You will probably receive a reply to your request more quickly and to the point.

Examples of bad requests:

The googler:

"*Hey, have this powershell/script I found on the internet. It is failing on this line <insert line her> with this error..... Please help...*"

The csv lover:

"*Hey, I have this huge script that requires input from 2 csv files. It works when I input the values manually, but not when I pipe in the csv files with the import-csv cmdlet.....*"

Free ride lover:

"*Hey, I have this huge problem and I am thinking of learning powershell. I need to <insert required solution here>.... Please show me a script that can do this...*"

Ask and you shall receive, if you ask the right way

You will need to put some work in to your request, however in the long run you will most likely receive a reply sooner rather than later and it will provide you with a suggestion that is closer to the answer you where looking for. This is just my prediction, it is not an universal truth.

Consider this my 2cc. I love to help when I have a clear understanding of the issue and we can discuss options related to your requests.




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