As a relatively new Stack Exchange user and contributor, I see a lot of the same questions in some form or fashion day after day. I don't mind helping each visitor, but before I do, I always have a certain number of comments asking for more information, that are always related to one of the three categories below..


As a Poster, you must decide what category your question belongs in. I consider there to be 3 major categories. They are:

  1. Troubleshooting
  2. General Knowledge
  3. Scripting

Knowing that my question fits in one of those categories, how can I be certain that one of the knowledgeable people here will answer it?

1 Answer 1


Decide Which Category

First, as a poster, you must decide which of the three categories your question belongs in. The reason for this is Knowing the category helps determine the additional information, we as answer writers need to give you an effective answer. Consider these three vague examples:

  1. My Screen is Black. I think my Video Card Broke. Help??
  2. My Computer was Hacked. I had no SSL. What happened??
  3. I need a Script that Prints Hello at Every Number divisible by 3 and 5. Help!!!

I put these in order that I listed the categories to make it easier to follow.


From the details in the Title, all I know is that your screen is black. I can assume your Video Card is broken, and waste your time and mine. Instead when posting a troubleshooting question, your post needs to contain output from at leat one of these two tools:

  • lshw - Short for List Hardware, or Hardware Lister. A great tutorial on Hardware Lister if you've never used it. Answer Posters will need this information to determine the type of hardware related to your issue.
  • lspci and/or lsusb - Short for PCI Hardware Lister and/or USB Lister. This tool will most likely always be there if you do not have lshw. It presents the same information, just in a different display format. PCI Lister Tutorial if you've never used it.

Any other tool that provides output for what you think is relevant to your issue is also helpful. This can include:

  • Compiler Output
  • Configuration File Listings/Settings
  • Kernel Module Listings and Output
  • And More...

General Knowledge

These are the easiest for post answers to spot and answer. Most of these will be put on hold, unless they can be edited to fit the Q&A Format. The questions in this category that are done properly are amazing, as they spread knowledge of concepts to all readers. These questions do not require any tools like the troubleshooting category, but tool use is encouraged when using the tool to make or show a point. As of now, I've only been able to answer 2 questions in this category type, and I present those questions to you now:

  1. On system memory… specifically the difference between tmpfs, shm, and hugepages…
  2. What does LTR kernel mean?


These questions are frequent here because most users here are starting out in scripting. These questions are also mostly about which tool or tools to use in an executable script to accomplish a task. Note: If the script you are writing is for homework, we will not write a script for you This category requires 2 types of information, a.k.a. tools to be posted:

  • The Shell you wrote the script in. There are 4 major Linux Shells.
  • A copy of a script you wrote to accomplish the task you are asking about. The script can be working or not. Example (bash):

     for n in {1..100}; do
       ([ $((n%15)) -eq 0 ] && echo 'FizzBuzz') ||
       ([ $((n%5)) -eq 0 ] && echo 'Buzz') ||
       ([ $((n%3)) -eq 0 ] && echo 'Fizz') ||
       echo $n;


Remembering these steps will greatly increase 2 areas related to posting here:

  1. Question Effectiveness - The More effective a question is, the higher your upvote count will be.
  2. Answer Turnaround - The better possible answer posters can read and understand your question, the faster we can answer it.
  • pretty awesome post - cool that i just now found a useful link in a comment on my own question because you posted this. thanks - and thanks @slm 6 months later. one note though - if im in the mood, ill do your homework because... hey, free homework.
    – mikeserv
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 22:35
  • 1
    @mikeserv Great, glad you found it. I just hope others find it too, so that the word spreads. Spreading the word is the main reason I wrote it, and the other was to make it easier on the community.
    – eyoung100
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 22:39
  • fizz fizz fizz buzz fizz buzz fizzbuzz... by the way : mod() { return "$(($1%$2))"; }; mod n 15 && echo FizzBuzz
    – mikeserv
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 22:44
  • 2
    @mikeserv Look Here - FizzBuzz.at.RosettaCode
    – eyoung100
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 22:47
  • This was fun. Thanks. FizzBuzz: while printf "%.$((!((f=!((n+=1)%5))|(b=!((n/=101>n)%3)))))0s%.${f}0s%.${b}0s\n" "$n" Fizz Buzz;do :;done
    – mikeserv
    Commented Dec 6, 2014 at 9:32
  • the mod() function is a take on posix xrat math(){ return "$((!$*))";} example... one which works to do stuff like while IFS=${IFS#*["$ops"] math "$*"; do stuff; done and whatnot... i even worked that out once upon a time to fix busybox math somewhere here ... would i could find it now... and no freaky (+ to depths uncertain... if only we could function more continuosly... if ! math() until ! IFS=$? continue blech... i wish i had a computer.
    – mikeserv
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 8:58

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