How to Create Effective Stack Overflow Questions

The Stack Overflow Tour states, we're working together to build a library of detailed, high-quality answers to every question about programming.

Which means, your question probably has an existing answer, and might get closed as a duplicate.

Prior to posting a question, verify your question is allowed, review How do I ask a good question?, and contributors usually expect some adherence to → How much research effort is expected of Stack Overflow users?.

Questions not showing any effort, or with just text requesting a resolution, are likely to be downvoted and closed.

Consider the following guidelines for posting a well-composed question on Stack Overflow to increase the chances of receiving accurate and prompt answers.

  1. Title: Make it clear and concise. The title should give an overview of the problem so that potential answerers can quickly understand the issue.

  2. Introduction: Start your post with a brief description of your goal.

  3. Provide a Minimal, Reproducible Example (MRE): This is critical.

  4. Include the Error (if there is one): If you encounter an error, provide the exact error message.

  5. Explain what you’ve tried: Detail the approaches you've already taken to solve the problem.

  6. Include Versions: Especially for libraries like matplotlib, pandas, and seaborn, the version can sometimes be the cause of or solution to a problem. Use the following to get the version:

  7. Use Proper Formatting:

  8. Tag Appropriately: Tagging helps get the attention of experts in the relevant domains. In your case, you might want to tag python, matplotlib, pandas, and seaborn.

  9. Include Desired vs. Current Output:

  10. Be Respectful and Patient: Remember that Stack Overflow is a community of volunteers. Always be polite, and don't bump your questions unnecessarily.

After posting your question, actively engage with those who comment or answer. If someone provides a solution or asks for clarification, respond promptly and courteously.

Once your question is resolved, don't forget to accept the best answer and upvote helpful responses. This rewards contributors and helps future readers identify the useful solutions.


  1. Stack Overflow Help Center
  2. The SSCCE: Short, Self Contained, Correct (Compilable), Example