What's the suggested way of handling a problem that devolves to a pursuit?

Me: Type these commands and let me know the result.
User: ....
Me: Type these commands2 and let me know the result.
User: ....

Should I (or the User) keep updating the Question? Make a string of Comments on the Question? I'll get to an Answer (probably), but I reserve the right to pursue wrong paths, so I don't have an Answer at the beginning.

Are there examples of good/bad questions, good/bad answers, good/bad pursuits?

1 Answer 1


Ask Ubuntu is good for situations in which there is a clear question and answer (i.e. try to avoid extended discussions).

If you need to know more information from the OP about their situation before you can answer, which can be found out from running terminal commands you post in the comments, then that is okay. Try to avoid situations where you are posting a series of commands that may or may not fix the problem, which would be better consolidated into an answer. Then, as the user gets the output from those commands, have them edit that information back into the body of their question to keep the comments and the question clear.

At any rate, if you feel you are going back and forth with a user too much, you may suggest moving the discussion into chat.

  • I don't get much help from this answer - avoid situations where I post some commands to find out about OP's system, then use that info to post some more commands, .... How do you help an OP who says "It used to work, now it doesn't, and I know nothing"? Since this problem happens most with new users who don't have the reputation points to get into chat, that doesn't help. I repeat, Are there examples of good/bad questions, good/bad answers, good/bad pursuits?
    – waltinator
    Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 6:35
  • 4
    This answer is good, just wanted to make sure it's clear. Ask the user to do something in a comment, make sure to encourage them to edit their question or answer with the results of your commands. That way you don't get a discussion. As they edit and you ask more questions you can delete old questions because they're no longer important - all the info should remain in the question or the answer, never in the comments. Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 6:40
  • @waltinator What I meant was that it's okay to post commands intended to get information about the user's system. What's not okay is posting commands intended to solve the problem in a trial/error fashion. That would belong in an answer. I hope this clears up any confusion. Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 6:41

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