I need help! Something’s gone wrong!

First, don’t panic. Everything’s going to feel better after a relaxing cup of tea.

Second, let’s figure out the problem.

I’m on Koding and I got X error/Y happened

This is likely either a temporary hiccup or an actual bug. If you haven’t gotten that cup of tea yet, do so.

Welcome back! Is the issue still there? If so, write up a status update with it. Describe what happened, where it happened and what you expected to happen. The last bit can be skipped in cases where what you expected is obvious, ex “As I opened the terminal it started playing Beethoven’s 5th Symphony”. You probably expected the terminal to open.

I’m working in the terminal and a command gave me an error message

Start by reading the error message. There’s probably something in there making sense. For instance any case of permission denied is always going to be a username/password error. If it’s trying to connect to MySQL, then you’re using the wrong username and/or password. If it’s running other commands, it might be that you need to be superuser to use them. Examples of superuser commands.

  • `apt-get
  • mkdir <path not under /home/yourname/>
  • service apache2/nginx/mysql/etc restart/start/reload/stop

It doesn’t make any sense to you? Google it. Remove any specifics to your system (ex filenames or directories) and Google it. Most errors have occured for someone else, so most errors have a solution somewhere on the net.

Still not finding anything?

Go here to find final ways

This is an error when I run my code

The first steps are similar to the terminal above:

  • Make sure it’s reproducable (IE it happens when you run it two more times)
  • Try to make sense of what it’s saying. If it’s a language that uses semicolons to break up things, any “unexpected X” is likely due to a missing semicolon higher up in the code
  • Google the error message, removing any specifics like line number and file

Still not finding anything?

Go here to find final ways

How to post a question that can get answered

Find a trusty site to post your question on. This might be one of the StackOverflow network, forums for your specific language/operating system/program, or perhaps Koding.com.

Write down:

  • Context of what you’re trying to accomplish. This includes language and specific programs
  • What you’ve tried so far?
  • What errors did you run into? Be specific

This will make it a lot likelier that you’ll get good answers, because now the first thing people ask won’t be “what happened?” or “what did you try so far?” This means less of a waste of both of your times.

If your question is trying to figure out where to start, and you feel you lack the skills needed to find the right search terms (which happens), you can still post the context with language, what you’re trying to accomplish and specific programs. Once again, that will waste less time overall.

For the moment comments are not enabled, but feel free to reach out on Twitter.