Tips on how to ask questions!

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry by Randy Holmes-Farley' started by Randy Holmes-Farley, Mar 1, 2018.

  1. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    Here are some tips on how to ask questions at Reef2Reef most effectively. :)

    1. Put the question, or at least the detailed topic in the thread title. Most people do this already, but it's the top way to attract the right kind of people to answer your question.

    Bad examples:
    Quick Question?
    Advice Needed
    Is this OK?
    Problem with tank.​

    Better examples:
    Why dose alkalinity?
    What's the best temperature?
    Where can I buy a healthy H. magnifica anemone?​

    2. Put the question or discussion topic right at the start of the first post (especially if it is not clear in the title). Do not bury it 7 paragraphs down in a detailed tank description and history. No one wants to read all that without knowing why they are reading it or and without knowing what is pertinent and what is not.

    Triton test shows 54 ug/L copper? Say that up front and ask why you have it and what can be done. Then when reading your tome (if you decide to add it), people know what to possibly look for (broken heater in paragraph 3, corroded light fixture with green stains on it in paragraph 6) and what to ignore (new blenny bought in paragraph 2).
    3. Try to ask what you really want to know, and not what you think the answer is. A lot of time can be wasted answering a question that isn't really your situation. Sometimes it can't be avoided since if you are asking questions you presumably have some uncertainty about whats going on, but try to focus on the root question rather than a proposed answer.

    Examples:

    Don't ask "Do corals take up magnesium?" when the real question is "I saw magnesium drop from 1300 to 1100 ppm over a few days. Why did that happen?"

    Don't ask "Is manganese bad" when the real question could be any of:
    "I saw manganese on the list of ingredients in my salt mix? Is that bad?"
    "Triton showed a level of 310 ug/l manganese. Is that bad?
    "I saw some folks add permanganate to reduce infections. Is that a good idea?"
    " I want to dose iron and Kent's product has manganese in it. Is that bad?"​

    4. It's OK to put relatively little info in the first post. The people trying to answer will guide you as to what other info they may need. Writing your tank's life history in the first post may simply turn off some folks who don't have 10 minutes to read it all, unless it has a very interesting premise that makes folks want to do so (like a title that says "my green chromis turned a red color).

    5. Don't be offended if people trying to answer suggest that some parts of your question cannot be true, when you presumed they were just the facts behind the question. This happens all the time when reefers assume test results are completely accurate and they want to know how to explain the result. But it also happens in a lot of other contexts where there are assumptions made in the question that make going back and addressing those assumptions (whether they are stated or just implied) more important than the answer to the originally stated question.

    Example: How much oxygen does it take to raise pH?​

    6. If you are telling us how much you dosed, please tell us the product, or better yet, what that product is actually adding so we do not have to calculate it ourselves.

    Bad example: "I add 25 mL of alkalinity supplement every day. Is that too much?"
    Better: "I add 25 mL of the alkalinity part of normal B-ionic every day. Is that too much?"
    Best: I add the equivalent of 1.1 dKH of the alkalinity part of normal B-ionic every day. Is that too much?"​

    Hope this helps!

    Happy Reefing. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2018
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  2. GoVols

    GoVols "VFL" R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader MTRCMember R2R Excellence Award Reef Tank 365 Partner Member 2018 Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor

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    Thank You :)
     
  3. S-t-r-e-t-c-h

    S-t-r-e-t-c-h Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award

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    I know it doesn't usually happen with chemistry questions, but taking pictures with white lights on needs to be mandatory if you need other members to see something...
     
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  4. minus9

    minus9 Active Member

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    Well done!
     
    DSC reef and GoVols like this.
  5. Cory

    Cory Valuable Member R2R Supporter Article Contributor

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    Great job! Sticky
     
  6. mdbannister

    mdbannister Ahh...the Reef Life Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Photo of the Month Award R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2018 Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks Randy! This is super helpful info not only for the chem forum, but throughout R2R in all of the areas!
     
  7. Forsaken77

    Forsaken77 Valuable Member

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    Don't be afraid to ask questions! If you're unsure of something, ask away. Don't assume your question may be stupid. It may help out others that were afraid to ask.

    Also, there is a search button. It's visibility should probably be made better, at least on the mobile site, but it's there. Someone may have already addressed your exact issue:)
     
  8. Mark Gray

    Mark Gray Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2018 Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks good advice
     
  9. klp

    klp Active Member

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    Thanks for saying this. Drives me crazy when it's all blue or whatever and nothing can really be seen for sure. Same for proudly showing off a tank or specimen and it can hardly be seen like being in a cavern with a candle.
     
    S-t-r-e-t-c-h likes this.
  10. Dogtown

    Dogtown Active Member

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    Great post!
     
  11. Royce White

    Royce White Member R2R Supporter

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    Since we are in this line of information I would like to add this. Sometimes when reading information about a situation the information has a lot of capital letters, like RBTA, which I do know this one, but others I have no idea what they are talking about. Maybe someone can make list that can be copied and saved. I hope I am not the only one with this problem. Thanks
     
  12. klp

    klp Active Member

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    Agreed. Here is a link that may help you. I asked that they give it to each new member but was ignored.
    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/lingo-commonly-used-acronyms-0.57652/
     
    Mike Reef Addict likes this.
  13. Mike Reef Addict

    Mike Reef Addict Active Member

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  14. Victoria M

    Victoria M Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Randy, that is just down right awesomely informative. I love the good examples but really LOVED the bad examples. Most if us are guilty of poorly written posts. It sounds good in our heads but people cant seem to understand what we need.
     
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