This site's structure is very good at getting specific answers to specific questions. I'm currently doing some troubleshooting at home to work out why I'm running into a particular fault and would like to ask a question that will likely involve lots of 'question -> answer -> more data -> repeat' loops. The challenge is that I don't know what the cause of my problem is, else I'd address it directly.

I imagine this would come up for users every so often so thought I'd ask here for the sake of reference.

What should a user do when faced with a troubleshooting question?

Some potential ideas...

  1. Ask a general question like "Can you help me diagnose a problem with X symptom?" or "Why does X happen in my brew?"
  2. Ask a series of specific questions based on hypotheses "Can you X too much?" "Does X effect Y?"
  3. Refrain from asking at all & take the question to a forum-style site (or chat)

Number 1 could easily be a "bad fit" for the site, unlikely to help many others, but would probably get the answer eventually. Number 2 would be time-consuming for the asker but fits nicely with the site. Number 3 sucks but may be the right answer.

2 Answers 2


I'd go with option 2. Ask one specific question at a time, as it helps you to diagnose your problem. The site's main value to others is specific answers to specific questions, so this kind of activity is helpful.

  • I've done exactly this, in fact. Jul 10, 2012 at 2:36

They could go to a traditional forum and ask for advice there.

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