Learning new skills can be exciting and rewarding, but with its fair share of challenges. In my experience I’ve found that the quickest way to feel lost and isolated is by not knowing where to turn when you need help. Knowing how to find help is key.
In today’s video, I’d like to talk to you about how you can find help when you run into obstacles using Magento 2. Not only will I be talking about where to find help, but most importantly how to ask for it in a way that others can clearly understand your problem and provide you with the best possible answers.
So whether you are new to Magento 2 or a seasoned veteran, there will always be a time when you need to reach out and find an answer to a problem. The most obvious differences between these two types of people, are knowing the best place to turn for help and how to ask for it.
One of the biggest assumptions a beginner may make when asking a question, is assuming that the person who answers knows their exact situation. A perfect example of this, if you go to something like Reddit or Stackexchange and ask a question about Magento 2, but not only refer to it as “Magento” and not “Magento 2”. The readers of your question may then provide you with an answer to inappropriate version, therefore will likely be of no use to you.
Another example, is if you ask a very vague question. Not providing all the relevant information within your question can often lead to a drawn out string of comments establishing your problem rather than actually giving you the information that you need in order to address it.
How to find help
Magento Stack Exchange
If you’re after a reliable source of help for Magento 2 (in terms of how quickly you’ll get an answer), you should head over to Stack Exchange. Specifically, the Magento Stack Exchange.
It’s an incredible resource for finding answer to questions that may already have been answered. And I encourage you to look for an existing question with an answer to your problem before posting. This is because duplication of information is extremely frowned upon by the community – Who expect everyone who posts a question to have first done their research. I’ve seen countless questions being asked, where the Stack Exchange community simply answered the question by providing a link to an existing question of Google search link, followed by a sarcastic comment or downvote.
Another extremely important thing to do is form your question correctly and provide the information that you think might be needed in order for someone to answer that question effectively. But more on that later…
Just to set your expectations, a great reply might not give you the exact answer that you’re after – But instead could be a something that points you in the right direction to continue your investigation. For me, Magento Stack Exchange is always my starting point when I need to find a solution to a problem or at the very least some inspiration on where to look next.
So, for those of you who have been subscribed to the channel for a while may have noticed that most of my videos encourage you to leave a comment if you have any questions at the end.
If you’re new to the channel, you can find a collection of Playlists that I continue to work on and grow. I always try to answer any comments relating to the video, as soon as I can. It’s also worth noting that it might only be me who sees and responds to your comments because other YouTube viewers might not ever read your comment.
The same goes for the Digital Startup Blog. If you find an article that needs elaborating on, then you’re more than welcome to leave a comment on the blog and I’ll get back to you.
However, some questions that I receive can grow into a larger discussion. But I’ve found that YouTube isn’t a great place to have them. Well, I’m pleased to announce that for those scenarios I recently went ahead and created a Forum built for this Community, and you’re all welcome to join in the discussions.
It’s my hope that anyone like yourself will join the Forum to not only ask questions but also help answer them or simply join in the conversation. The answers you’re looking for might not be as technical as what you might find on Magento Stack Exchange but I really want to encourage a warmer community where you can have some banter and not feel judged by the questions you ask.
Official Magento Github
Sometimes I’ll run into an issue with Magento 2 that could be a legitimate issue with the core code. I’ll always look at the Magento 2 Github to check if others are experiencing the same problems. Sometimes you’ll find that the issue you have has already been acknowledged by the Magento team and might give you some idea as to when this will be fixed. If you’re lucky, someone else will pitch in and offer a temporary solution to the problem. I’ve personally submitted 2 bugs with the software that will be addressed in an upcoming version of Magento 2.3.
In order for your issue to be acknowledged, you must follow a strict structure when reporting your bug. This includes: Preconditions, Steps to Reproduce, Expected Result and Actual Result.
If the bug you have reported cannot be reproduced by the Magento team, then your report will be closed and dismissed. In these situations, you should consider that the issue is caused by an external factor like a 3rdy party extension. Remember, that this resource is for Magento core issues and nothing more.
Official Magento Forum
I’ve not used this source very often but you can always head over to the official Magento Forums. As an official Magento resource, you’ll find a very active community. I’d go as far as to say that this is where I go to next if I can’t find what I’m after on Magento Stack Exchange before leaving a post.
Personally, I don’t really use Reddit. Neither for business or personal use. But I still figured it was worth a mention. You’ll will find a small but active Magento community within Reddit that may be able to answer your questions. As you can tell, posts aren’t made that frequently but most of them get several comments
How to ask for help
Now that I’ve listed some useful sources where you can find help, I’d like to talk about the best way in which you should ask for it. Because formatting the structure of your question plays a critical role in the type of response that you’ll receive.
I’ll start by showing you a couple of poorly written questions, and then I’ll go over how they can be improved.
In this example, the question reads “I just installed Magento 2 but it doesn’t load properly”. From the perspective of someone reading this, it doesn’t offer very much to go on. This means I might ignore the question or downvote it as there is no incentive for me to ask any follow up questions and keep revisiting the post for an update. Most people will want to look at a question, answer it, and move on.
A better way to format
So, the first thing we should think about are the Tags. This feature fills in a lot of gaps and can lower speculation without the need of going into great detail. As the composer of this question, I should be thinking about the environment and type of issue I’m experiencing. As you can see from the screenshot, it’s a problem with CSS and JS not loading on the Frontend and Backend of Magento 2.2.5. So the tags you could use might be: “css”, “js”, “frontend”, “backend” and “Magento2.2.5”. You can end up going over the top here but usually more information is better. At the very least, I’d definitely include “css”, “js” and “Magento2.2.5”.
Next, we need to come up with a refined title. Rather than just saying “I just installed Magento 2 but it doesn’t load properly”, let’s change this to give a better hint to the actual question. So let’s instead say “CSS/JS not loading on Frontend/Backend after clean install”. This is much more to the point and is far more likely to have others click on the question.
Finally, we need to construct our question. There is no right or wrong answer but I like to spend time formatting my questions to make them easier for readers to digest. As you can see, I’ve broken my question down into: Brief (what I planned) and Issue (what I’m experiencing). As a bonus, I’ve also included a screenshot. If I’m dealing with code, then I’ll include another section where I share the snippet of code that might be responsible for the issue.
Now, we’ll receive more appropriate answers than we originally would have with our first attempt.
When asking questions, you should always avoid using sensitive details. Because the information you share could lead to someone taking advantage of it. So always avoid writing legitimate usernames, IP addresses, serial keys and domain names. Normally, if I had to write an IP address I’d replace it with 126.96.36.199. Also, if I have to write a domain name then I’d use something like example.com instead.
Remember, there isn’t one way of composing a question but always try look back at your question and check that you’re covering these main points:
- Has my question already been asked and answered elsewhere
- Would it be useful to reference another solution that I’ve tried but didn’t work
- Have I clearly explained what I’m trying to achieve
- Have I clearly explained the issue that I’m experiencing
- Does the question contain all relevant information that someone might need in order to answer
- and Have I included the output of any relevant error logs for like Magento, Apache, etc…
If you’re happy that you’ve ticked these boxes, then this will increase your chances of receiving an informative and quick response. If not, then you’ll probably not get any response or the answers may not be appropriate to your situation. Over time, you’ll find yourself posting well formatted questions without thinking twice.
To sum-it-up, there are plenty of online communities that you can turn to when you need to find help for Magento 2. Learning new skills for Magento doesn’t have to be daunting and you should never feel like you’re alone.
Magento 2 is still considered a very new platform, so it may be some time before we start seeing more sources of information or help until more people start to adopt the platform.
I’d be interested to know where you turn to when you need assistance for Magento 2. So, please share with us in the comments below.
I hope you were able to take something positive from this video and if you did be sure to hit that like button. Don’t forget to checkout the new Digital Startup Forum.
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