There have been instances where I’d like to ask the other members of the IF community small questions about the languages (such as the particular syntax of something that isn’t immediately obvious with a cursory look through the manual), or about specific things that I’m trying to do. It’s not economical to create a thread for every question I may have, especially minor ones - it would look like spam. It would be nice if there were pinned “minor questions” threads in the Authoring sections for users to submit their brief questions, without having to create a new topic. This might also result in higher forum activity, as it is kind of daunting to have to create a new topic, especially for newer users of the forums (such as myself).
If you need to ask so many small questions that you’re worried they’d be considered spam, I suggest you think about changing the types of questions you ask, perhaps to ask where you can find additional resources that will help you understand these languages better yourself.
But probably you’re overthinking things. It’s probably not going to be the case that you ask too many questions, and if that turns out to be the case then we can find a solution later.
New questions is probably better in general. Long topics have their own problems, and can be hard to use and search through, you couldn’t add specific tags for the questions inside, etc.
I would much rather have “too many” individual topics than one massive thread for many different questions. If there’s one “minor questions” thread constantly coming up in the latest questions list, it doesn’t give any kind of information about its contents. Is there a new question, or did someone post an answer? If it’s a question, what’s it about?
New threads with descriptive titles make it much easier for others to decide if they want to read it or not. With the megathread you’d need to either always open it or always ignore it.
You should absolutely post many small threads with syntax/coding questions if you have them. Don’t worry about it looking like spam–everyone will be able to tell that it’s somebody asking a lot of little coding questions. And that’s one of the main functions of the forum! People (at least many of us) are here because we like answering syntax/coding questions.
Some more reasons to post minor questions:
You won’t always know in advance if it really is a minor question or is going to blow up into something that requires a lot of discussion. If there’s a longer thread, it’ll be easier to follow if it’s in its own thread instead of scattered throughout the Minor Question Thread.
Later on, if someone is searching the forum to see if their question has already been answered, they’re more likely to find it if the topic is “How do I write the syntax for multiple scene endings?” than “Minor question thread.”
If the question turns up a bug, it’s much much easier for the bug report to refer back to a self-contained thread than the Minor Question thread.
If you’re having trouble setting up new topics please let me or another mod know and we can help! But mostly, don’t be self-conscious about posting lots of new threads with minor questions. As a rule, we like questions.
i agree with the other replies. i was asking a lot of questions a few weeks ago, when i started with TADS 3. only got helpful replies. also, if it is actually really minor things you’re having trouble with, i wouldn’t be surprised if someone offers to help you out via direct messages (if it’s TADS you’re working in, you’ve already found someone )
When you post multiple topics, do please attempt to make the thread title specific to the question for ease of searching in the future. We prefer “Question about kinds in Inform 7” as opposed to “PLEASE HELP ME!!!111”
And it’s also okay if you ask more questions in replies to a thread and the topic shifts to related issues. You don’t have to start a new thread for each follow up as long as it peripherally relates.
We (Staff and Level 3 Regular users) have the ability to edit your topic title to make it more specific if necessary, and Staff can also split topics if interesting questions warrant a complete new thread. So don’t worry, we can organize things later if they get untidy.
And to pile on to the “make multiple topics” suggestion, you can mark a reply as the “Solution” and then the topic will have a little check-mark next to it so people will know that you got an answer that you’re happy with, and won’t even have to open it: they can just scan past the thread title.
Yup - completely aware of how to write good titles. Thanks! Also, I do read the manuals - it’s just that sometimes I’m confused about how certain things work in a language.
I hope you guys don’t mind newcomers treating this place like it’s the Stack Overflow of Interactive Fiction. It doesn’t seem that way, at least at first glance!
It can be like that. The engine specific sections of the board have questions ranging anywhere from asking for help compiling Inform from the command line, to help web hosting HTML TADS, to help creating an inventory system in Twine, to help changing font color or making an image appear using CSS. It’s really all over the place in skill level.
Don’t be afraid to ask something you may think is a dumb question, because chances are someone either has or will have the same question as you.
Also don’t forget the search function - this board has archives from 10+ years (especially for TADS and Inform - the Twine stuff has just taken off and we’re glad for that) and many of the same issues and questions crop up. We’re always glad to help though.