When asking programming questions, remember to do the following:
• Explain what you are trying to do, not just what you did. This lets your
helper know if you are on the wrong track.
• Specify the point at which the error happens. Does it occur at the very
start of the program or only after you do a certain action?
• Copy and paste the entire error message and your code to http://pastebin
.com/ or http://gist.github.com/.
These websites make it easy to share large amounts of code with
people over the Web, without the risk of losing any text formatting. You
can then put the URL of the posted code in your email or forum post.
For example, here some pieces of code I’ve posted: http://pastebin.com/
SzP2DbFx/ and https://gist.github.com/asweigart/6912168/.
• Explain what you’ve already tried to do to solve your problem. This tells
people you’ve already put in some work to ﬁgure things out on your own.
• List the version of Python you’re using. (There are some key differ-
ences between version 2 Python interpreters and version 3 Python
interpreters.) Also, say which operating system and version you’re
• If the error came up after you made a change to your code, explain
exactly what you changed.
• Say whether you’re able to reproduce the error every time you run the
program or whether it happens only after you perform certain actions.
Explain what those actions are, if so.
Always follow good online etiquette as well. For example, don’t post
your questions in all caps or make unreasonable demands of the people
trying to help you.
For most people, their computer is just an appliance instead of a tool. But
by learning how to program, you’ll gain access to one of the most powerful
tools of the modern world, and you’ll have fun along the way. Programming
isn’t brain surgery—it’s ﬁne for amateurs to experiment and make mistakes.
I love helping people discover Python. I write programming tutorials
on my blog at http://inventwithpython.com/blog/, and you can contact me with
questions at email@example.com.
This book will start you off from zero programming knowledge, but
you may have questions beyond its scope. Remember that asking effective
questions and knowing how to ﬁnd answers are invaluable tools on your