So you have a math problem you are stuck with, or maybe you have a curiosity to learn on your own; what ever your reason for coming here there are plenty of redditors willing to lend help. To get the best possible help you need to ask the best possible question though.

# Where to start:

We're human, starting with a simple greeting will go a long way (no one wants to be treated like a robot or feel like they're being taken advantage of).

Putting a bit of effort into your post is another small detail that goes quite a ways. Being riddled with spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, or poor formatting problems (one big block of text rather than the use of sentences and paragraphs) doesn't show interest or respect to those who are taking time to answer your questions. I know English is not the primary language of many who ask question; this is not intended to discourage them from posting. This is more aimed at those who have a fair grasp of the language and choose to be lazy about its application.

Solve for the integral of [. . .]

vs

Hello, I'm stuck on this problem: Solve for the integral of [. . .]

# The sidebar and you:

## Formatting:

To receive the best help, please use the following format: [Level Discipline] Sample topic question

Now I know most people follow this fairly well; however, being more specific will get your question more views by those capable and willing to help.

[8th grade] Stuck on problem

vs

[8th grade algebra] Factoring a trinomial

This will give those looking at problems an 'at-a-glance' overview of your question by showing exactly what discipline you're in and what kind of problem you're stuck with.

## The question itself:

Include instructor prompts (if any). What does your instructor (or the text) want you to accomplish?

I've seen people post questions here where they're stuck but they're in the middle of the problem and not showing what came before. If you're stuck you might have messed up in prior steps. Unless you're 100% confident what you're asking is clear in what it means and all work up to it is correct don't assume it is useful to others trying to help.

## Where's your problem:

Tell us what is holding you up. Where are you in the process? Provide those who help with as much information as possible.

Include any equations or assumptions you are using, and descriptions of any attempts you have made.

If you are posting just a problem with no comments or work then most people will assume you haven't attempted it and you're looking for others to solve it for you. You'll probably find someone on here to do it (even though it's explicitly not allowed), but if you're trying to learn math then you should include what you don't understand and where you're getting stuck.

There's no need for five different people to solve 3/4 of a problem when it's the last 1/4 that you don't understand.

# Sample Problems (I made these up, any similarity to real posts is coincidental, please don't think I'm trying to put you down if your posts are similar to my 'bad' example):

## Example of non-ideal problem:

[College] Chapter 4 question

olve for the price apples if A spends 50, B spends 2, and the total number of apples bought is 4

### Why is this a non-ideal question:

When a problem like this pops up it often gets overlooked. The title doesn't tell what discipline of math it is or what topic. The question itself looks as if the 'poster' reworded the problem into what they interpret to be what it is asking, but in reality it might be unclear. Spelling/grammar errors in the post don't make the meaning less clear, but if you won't put in effort why should others put in effort to help you?

## Example of the same problem, but better:

[College Algebra] Word problem: solving for variable in equation

Hey /r/learnmath I'm having trouble with converting this word problem into equation form. The problem is:

Solve for the price per apple if Jack spends 50 cents and Jill spends 2 dollars. Together they have 4 apples.

What I'm interpreting this problem as is Jack spends 50 while Jill spends 2. The total amount is 4. So Price/50 + Price/2 = 4. When I solve for price I get 7.69 but this isn't what I'm supposed to get. What did I do wrong?

Thanks for the help!

### How this is better:

The title is descriptive, telling what level of math the poster is at along with the type of problem and the topic it's on.

The question itself seems to be friendly in its wording. The whole initial problem is posted (from this we can see that an error was made in the interpretation of how much 'Jack' spent).

# Resolution:

So you got help with your question and you're continuing on with your journey through math, that's great! However, people are still looking for questions that need answers and yours still looks like an open question! Once your question is answered in a way you find satisfactory it's time to mark it as resolved.

A resolved post will look different so answers know that they poster has found the answer they're looking for and no longer needs help. All you have to do is set the post flair to resolved and you're done!

## colinbeveridge

I would add*, don't start by saying "I suck at maths" or any comment about how far behind you are or how crappy your teacher is, or whatever other excuse you've got for not understanding the question.

I don't care.

I want to help you understand, not read through paragraphs of tiny-violin playing.

* perhaps in a slightly less dickish tone.

## Zophike1

Essentially try to state your level of understanding of the problem your facing and where your are lost.