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.

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