How to write a quality question

Microsoft Q&A enables the community to deliver timely, high-quality technical answers. Based on our community experience and research, a well-crafted question receives more attention from the community and results in the fastest and the most insightful answers.

This article outlines best practices and guidelines for posting a quality question on Microsoft Q&A which enables the community to deliver swift and reliable answers.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to fully utilize a diverse range of contributors on Microsoft Q&A which include veteran MVPs and Partners, Microsoft community experts, Microsoft product group owners, and other users passionate about similar services and problems.

Avoid duplicate questions

Avoid creating threads or questions that have been answered already. To avoid duplication, when you search or ask a question on Microsoft Q&A, you will see related, previously asked-questions from Microsoft Q&A, MSDN & TechNet Forums, and Stack Overflow. The autosuggestion helps guide you in the following ways:

  • MSDN & TechNet Forums as well as Stack Overflow have a vast knowledge base of good questions and answers. So if the answer is there, we bring it to you in Microsoft Q&A so you save time and get to the answer immediately.
  • By referring to answered threads, either on Microsoft Q&A or an external site, your issue might be resolved without having to create a new question which saves you a lot of time.
  • If there is an ongoing thread, you can add your question to the existing thread by including details of your scenario or vote on the question to indicate your scenario is the same. If multiple users report the same issue, the thread will receive more views which increases the amount of attention from the community. Ultimately, that usually results in a solution being provided faster from the community.

If there are no relevant threads, then you can then create a new thread under the appropriate tag on Microsoft Q&A to ask your question.

Write a title that summarizes your question

Since everybody tries to answer the maximum number of questions they can, experts might often skim through question subjects to quickly find the ones which they are more likely to know the answer. A question with a title of "Urgent! Help needed!" is not as likely to get answered as a question with a title of "How do I use the BinaryFormatter with IIS". A more specific, detailed title is far more likely to get a response than a general one. A good title summarizes your scenario and the technologies involved.

Components of a good title: Service – Scenario – Result

  • Service – Service or technology you’re leveraging.
  • Scenario – Brief snapshot of the scenario or action you’re trying to accomplish.
  • Result – What is the outcome of your scenario, mostly an error or you need guidance with a specific step.

Examples:

  1. Azure Windows Virtual Machine - Unable to RDP due to authentication error.
  2. Azure WebApp - How do I upload and configure an existing SSL certificate.
  3. Azure IoT Hub – All requests to IoT Hub fail due to an error code 403002 IoTHubQuotaExceeded.

Keep it clear and concise

To receive a quick and reliable answer to your question, help the community to assist you by posting a clear and concise question with all the relevant information to your question or scenario. Share enough details about the problem for the community members to reproduce or correctly understand your issue. This is crucial as it avoids time lost messaging back and forth to fully understand the scenario.

Generally, a quality question consists of the following attributes:

  • Scenario – Describe your scenario and results as well as what you’re trying to solve by focusing on the what and how in the question content.
  • Technology – Include the technologies involved in your scenario or that you intend to leverage. E.g.: Azure WebApps, Python, code snippet, etc.
  • Result – Share the results of your scenario. Error codes, stack traces, and controls are all very helpful.
  • Environment - Specific scenario requirements, system information, OS or application version, network details, etc.
  • Things you’ve tried: Share any documentation that you’re referring to and list what you have tried to troubleshoot the problem.
  • Screenshot/screencast: If possible, share a screenshot, video, code snippets, or logs for other users to understand your issue better.
  • Give reproducible steps: If possible, outline the exact steps and share any documentation that you may be referring to for accomplishing the scenario. For programming related questions, provide a minimal bug demonstrating test case. You can share just enough skimmed code for the users to reproduce the scenario which would enable them to share their well-researched recommendations.

Important

Ensure that you do not include Personally Identifiable Information (PII). This is a public site and any posts found with PII will either be edited or removed to protect that data.

Ask one question at a time

Do not thread multiple questions in the same thread unless the questions are related. Posting multiple questions on the same thread would not help the community to provide an insight into the problems and can potentially complicate the actual scenario. Based on our community experience and research, the users would not be interested in answering a thread with multiple questions. Hence for additional or unrelated questions, create a new question.

Use the right tag for your question

Since the experts in various subject matters tend to stick to the set of tags that focus on those topics, selecting the right tags will increase the chances to receive an answer faster. On Microsoft Q&A, you can add up to 5 tags that are relevant for your scenario.

Tags - are topics related to your thread that help group and organize all the content on Microsoft Q&A. You can add tags to any kind of post by searching from a wide range of topics at the bottom of a thread that you are creating. You can find a list of supported tags on the Tags list page.

Once you receive a correct answer, mark it as "Accepted"

This step is important, since it lets people scanning Microsoft Q&A know that they can find a verified answer to that question by reading the thread. See more information on the Accepted answers article.

Don't use this site to report product bugs or feature requests

This is a site for support, so please use the right site to requests new feature requests about a Microsoft product or report any bugs. This will ensure that the experts can focus on resolving user's problems instead of having to redirect you to the right site.