How To Ask For Help

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by Doc3402, May 14, 2013.

  1. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

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    I've been seeing some questionable advice being given lately, and there is a common factor behind this advice. The problem starts with the question being asked. Many of the questions I'm seeing are so vague there is no way helpful advice can be given. With that in mind I decided to post some hints on how to ask a question. Let me start with some exaggerated examples of bad questions.

    What kind of holster should I use?

    I don't know. What are you going to use it for? What are you going to carry in it? Is it for concealed use or open carry? Do you have a preference about what the holster is made out of? Do you want a shoulder rig, strong side outside the waistband, strong side inside waistband, or cross draw?

    What kind of gun should I get?

    I don't know. What do you intend to use it for? Are you recoil sensitive? How are you planning to carry it? Do you plan to carry it? What environmental conditions will it be exposed to?

    What's the best ammo?

    For what? What gun? What circumstances? Is it for a home defense shotgun or an ankle carry derringer? What caliber? Pistol or revolver?

    Are we seeing a trend here? Be specific. Most of the time someone asks a question there are already certain factors that can't or won't be changed. In the holster example I would be willing to bet that the person asking the question already owns the firearm the holster will be used with. Why not tell us what you have and how you want to carry it? At least give us a starting point to work from.

    Ammo. Be specific. What do you want to use it for, and more importantly, what do you want to use it in? Even telling us you want to use it in a S&W .357 is not enough information. The ammo recommendations for a 6 inch S&W Mod 27 used for hog hunting are going to be a lot different than a personal defense ammo in a S&W Mod 60, and the wrong ammo in a S&W 360PD can lock up your gun and get you killed.

    We have some great people here, many with decades of experience, that just want to help out their fellow shooters. I have yet to see one single word of malicious advice, but I have seen some advice that could have been a lot better. The problem was with the original question. Help us to help you. Be as specific as you can be when you ask a question. If we know exactly what you want we can give you much better answers.
     
  2. WebleyFosbery38

    WebleyFosbery38 New Member

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    Good advice Doc. Were seeing lots of new interest in Firearms ownership across the nation and even in other countries, thats awesome! It seems that the stuff we all learned as a kid isnt necessarily being passed to the next generation anymore so were becoming surrogates for the cause, Im sure were up to the task!

    Im happy folks are coming here for help and also pleased to see them welcomed with open arms and cautious optimism!
     

  3. txpossum

    txpossum New Member

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    But, what's the best question to ask?
     
  4. MisterMcCool

    MisterMcCool Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Any advice on how to answer questions?
     
  5. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

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    Thanks. I sort of plagiarized a post I made in a tech forum years ago. I noticed back then that the people most qualified to help were shying away from posts that required a game of twenty questions before an answer could be formulated. I PM'd one of the best and asked him about it. He told me that he didn't feel obligated to help someone that wouldn't help him by asking a specific question.

    It is good to see new shooters of any age asking questions. I hope many of them become fans of the shooting sports and pass on their skill and knowledge to the next batch of shooters.
     
  6. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

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    Yes. Listen to or read the question, and directly answer the question. Once you get that out of the way you can move on to opinion if that is your desire. If the original question is too vague to give a direct answer you can pass or attempt to get the OP to be more specific. My opinion is to avoid guessing. If you don't know for sure what they are asking don't guess.
     
  7. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

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    Be more specific. <grin>
     
  8. apwvsd40ve

    apwvsd40ve New Member

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    I am one of these new guys you are referring to. I have learned to be a bit more specific but sometimes I think the questions are vague Bc of lack of education. I was taught to handle long guns from the time I was 7. How to load, basic cleaning, safety etc. However, I shot a handgun for the first time a year ago and purchased my first two 8 months later. It had been through all of you that I have learned the extra things about ammo, full field strip for cleaning (my 17 yr. Old 835 had never been field stripped until last month...was not taught that), what a hot load is, adv advantages/disadvantages of reloading, etc. So thank you all for the advice and help....and the desire to help us newb's become more safe and knowledgeable.

    I, for one, will always be specific as my knowledge allows when asking a question....then again some of tne most popular posts on this forum bEgan with one vague question....
     
  9. HOSSFLY

    HOSSFLY New Member

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    First great thread & advice Doc---
    Personaly i tend to answer non specific questions with questions----
    To not narrow it down leads to threads like "What gun is best for the nightstand" :(
     
  10. rickster

    rickster New Member

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    Good advice Doc. Thanks.
     
  11. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

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    For the record, your posts are not the reason I resurrected and adapted a post I made in a tech forum years ago. There was one specific post I read this morning that just got to me. The OP asked a very vague question, another member asked for more information in order to give a better answer, and a third member saw fit to criticize the person asking for more info. It's my hope that this can be avoided in the future with more specific questions.
     
  12. towboater

    towboater Well-Known Member

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    I think newbies, sometimes don't know what to ask. That's why we've gotta help them along,
     
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  13. apwvsd40ve

    apwvsd40ve New Member

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    Lmao...i knew the post to which you were referencing...but I have posted vaguely before...sometimes with purpose..sometimes due to lack of education on the subject. Please doNT take my comment as malicious...it was not meant that way...just a different perspective..that's all...and thank you again for your comments to those of us seeking knowledge...I can honestly day I have learned more here in the last few months than I ever have elsewhere.....sans safety...and that its the most important subject my dad, uncle, etc. ever taught me!
     
  14. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Doc- that is one of the most cogent, well worded and useful posts that I have seen here. Am going to pass this up up the line to the Boss with a nomination for making it a Stickie.


    Which leaves me wondering- who is posting using your account? :p


    Seriously- we DO have a lot of folks joining us in shooting sports- that did not grow up shooting at the side of a father or uncle. In some cases, they may not know the questions to ask. It IS critical that we not berate, ridicule or deride folks for asking a "stupid" question. But needing specific information in order to give an answer is quite reasonable. As I have said, the crystal ball is in the shop again for calibration, and I can't read minds worth a hoot. (If I could, might not have gotten slapped a time or two)

    I am one of the Supervisors over on WikiAnswers (firearms category, of course) One of the common sayings there is "Good questions equal good answers".

    I would reinforce what Doc said- Put an accurate subject in the subject line ("Gun question" is not an accurate subject- "Need extractor for 1903 Colt 32" IS) so you do not waste reader's time opening all the posts.

    Next, give the parameters of your question. "What is a good gun for hunting?" cannot be answered. Hunting WHAT? WHERE? Instead, "What would be a good deer rifle for Western Pennsylvania?" will get you MUCH better answers.

    It does not hurt to let us know your experience level in a given area- we have a VERY diverse membership (Longer yer here, diverse it gets!) Some of our members are 14 yrs old. Some are retired gunsmiths. Some are 21 and buying their first handgun. Some are active military in a combat zone.

    Finally, have some patience (and I mean RIGHT NOW!) patience when asking, and patience when answering. Show us some style, show us some grace. Show us some good manners (or we lay your soul to waste)



    Doc, again, thank you VERY much for an excellent post. Ya done good!
     
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  15. WillWorkForAmmo

    WillWorkForAmmo New Member

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    Yea I'm new I don't ask to many questions for that reason. I don't have the info grew up good neighborhood never needed a gun moved out of parents house family the works one day someone tried breaking in the house while the wife was home with the kids. next week got the glock for the nightstand and been playing catchup on trying to learn what I could since I still think I'm far behind when it comes to firearms. But I just browse threads reading but don't always find what I'm looking for but always find a rabbit hole to go wandering down. Lol anyway plz don't get angry when I don't know trying hard for you guys
    Ps thanks was very helpful
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2013
  16. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

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    I agree, and to a point it falls on us to guide them. That's why I posted this. It's general information that may help people post better questions. I don't mean to sound critical, but I know with only the written word to go on some will take it that way. I wish I could avoid that, but I really don't know how.

    I don't think any of us expect someone new to shooting to be able to frame a question like a 20 year vet to the sport, but if they give us all the pertinent info they can it will help us help them. Even if we have to wade through a bunch of stuff that doesn't apply to the question, we can either pull the info we need, or have a better idea of what to ask them to narrow things down.
     
  17. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

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    I didn't think for a second that it was malicious in any way. You brought up a very good point. As I'm sure you noticed when your posts may have been a little vague, you will usually get more questions before you get answers. This isn't ridicule. This is to avoid giving you info that may keep you from ruining your firearm, getting you hurt, or keeping you from having a run in with the law. We welcome newcomers to the shooting world, and we would like to keep you around for a while. Giving out bad information won't do that.
     
  18. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

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    Never be afraid to ask a question. If you can, give all the appropriate info you have. If you don't have the info we need we'll ask for it. My point is if you can be more specific, please do. If you can't, ask anyway and we'll figure it out. The only stupid question is the one you didn't ask.
     
  19. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

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    Grr. There's one in every crowd.

    Thanks for the feedback. Now all I need to do is get the swelling to go down so I can get my head through the door.

    Seriously, there is a lot of experience in this forum. I'm hoping that knowing what to include in a question will make many more of us willing to help the newer shooters. I'm not expecting to see anyone phrase a question that gives every bit of information necessary for a good response. I just think that providing as much detail as you can will cut down on all that back and forth questioning. It's hard to know what to tell people if you don't know what they are asking.
     
  20. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Doc- there is always the "When was my gun, serial number 234XX made?"


    What, it was made in 19XX ! :)
     
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