When I ask a question on Ask Ubuntu, I usually end it with some kind of request for knowledge, like "does anybody know the actual meaning of this message?". A lot of newer people end the question with "pls help!!!!!", which I'm pretty sure automatically marks them as a noob. Still others end it abruptly, but with the complicated nature of Linux and especially Ubuntu issues, this can make it unclear what they're asking.

What is the best way to end a question, making it clear exactly what you want, but without turning people away or being unclear or rude? Moderators and developers, what do you like to see most?

  • 6
    When I am editing questions that consist of an info dump & any variation of "help!", I tend to replace the latter with something like "What should I do?" Or if the title has a clear question "How can I do this?"
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 14:10
  • When I am editing questions that consist of an info dump & any variation of "help!", I tend to remove the latter entirely as it's not relevant to the question. I concur with the answers provided by @muru and terdon.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 14:23

3 Answers 3


Just the question. Don't use "plz help!!!!" or even the less neurotic "please help". If you didn't need help, you wouldn't be posting here in the first place. Just end your question with an actual question that asks what you want to ask.

Something like:

Foo is blah blah blah blah and I need it because blah blah blah.

Sadly, I cannot foo on my machine because blah blah and when I try, I get blah blah and blah blah. I tried to fix it by doing blah blah, but it blah blah and gave me blah blah error message.

How can I manage to foo on my machine?

  • 15
    Best question template ever. ;-) Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 14:43
  • 4
    That darned blah blah error message has vexed us all at one time or another. :) Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 5:57
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    Simply nd effectively stated. I concur
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 14:24

Before you feel offended, note that you in this post doesn't refer to you specifically.

I don't want to see things that don't convey any concrete information towards solving the problem at hand. A non-exhaustive list of things I don't want to see:

  1. Hi, please, thanks, thanks in advance, kthxbai, etc. Especially "thanks in advance". Also: your name as a signature. Your username is right below the damn post, dammit.
  2. "I tried searching but found nothing" - This conveys absolutely no worthwhile information whatsoever.
  3. "This is my friend's/girlfriend's/boyfriend's/grandmother's/my third cousin twice removed on my father's side's priceless one-of-a-kind unicorn's favourite gaming rig/production server."
  4. "I have/had to submit this tomorrow/yesterday or I'll be fired/my thesis advisor will make me second author instead of first/my wife will leave me." "ARGENT PLZ HALP"

Worst of all, I absolutely hate seeing:

I tried X solution/Y post's answers but they didn't work.

This is the most annoying bit of drivel in any post here. It has so much potential to convey meaningful information. But it fails so, so miserably. Why?

What does "doesn't work" mean?

What happened when you tried? What was expected? What errors did you get? Most importantly: what exactly did you try? If you don't want us to spout the same answers again, tell us what you tried, and what went wrong when you tried it. No more, no less. I'd be happy to help or upvote such a post.

  • 2
    I have done that, and I don't feel offended. That is very helpful advice. Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 15:37
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    I concur. There's little that's more useless than I tried blah but it didn't work (unless it's some variant if other useless information like begging or why you personally should be a priority for an answer) . Without the results of the attempt, there will be no workable solution offered.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 14:29

The basic thing is to ask the question as if you are asking it to an actual person and let Ask Ubuntu direct it to an interested person. Research on the question before hand should be a must (In the Guidelines) and saying is (almost not Scholar work wink!). Worrying about your knowledge level is not useful since we are here to learn from each other. Expect nice and give nice

  • 2
    I like the sentiment and agree that self guided research is the place to start. But if one is in the habit of begging and pleading for help and cannot properly articulate what is needed answers will be few and far between and likely of poor quality.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 14:34

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