How to ask a good question?

Before you ask…

Community forum is not a helpdesk

We need to be clear on this: the majority of people here do not work for Automai. We’re volunteering our free time to help others so realistically, not all topics might get a satisfying answer.

If you’re an active enterprise customer or evaluating the product and need Automai support, send them a ticket through this form.

Did you search?

Check the Search functionality. See if someone already asked your question and the answer is there.

If you do find a solution to your problem, consider dropping that post a like - this will help with further searches for other users as well as notify the person that wrote that it helped someone.

So how do I search correctly?

Try to search only for what is the essence of a question - error message (without your use case-specific data), activity name, the operation you want to perform, data type you’re struggling with.

Some examples of searches for common scenarios:

*test case variables from CSV

*ScenarioBuilder recorder

*load test rendezvous points

*Image capture

I found a similar topic but it’s already solved and I still have a problem. Should I post in it?

As a rule of thumb - no.

What you could do, is to post your question in a new topic and put a link to the topic you found (see also Show effort below).

Writing a good question

Choose a category

Most categories are self explanatory, so you shouldn’t have much trouble in choosing one.

For now, most questions will be in Issues / How To’s. Issues is for things that should work but don’t and How To are for when you don’t know how to accomplish something.


Having a good topic title is essential. It should summarize your issue or question so that without even opening the topic people can have a good, general idea of what is inside.

A good topic generally:

  • Includes unique part of the error you’re getting
  • Contains activity name or action description
  • Describes the thing you’re having an issue with
  • Is emotionless

Some examples:

  • Good Image not captured in scenario when there is delay.
  • Bad Image Capture
  • Ugly Problem/Need help

  • Good Excel not closing in background when automated with SAP
  • Bad Excel not closing
    Ugly Excel problem

If you’re having a problem writing a good topic title, leave it for last - once you’ve written the whole question, it might be easier to write a summary title for it.


While we’re with the topic, let’s cover the tags as well as they complement each other.

Tags are added to a topic to help with search, as well as give additional context to people reading your question.

Common tags include SCENARIOBUILDER, terminal server, outlook, chrome, ruser, rworker, rtester, AppsWatch ScenarioStation, Citrix, sessions controller, AppLoader, AppsWatch, Automai RPA, etc.

There’s a thing to note about some tags - do not use tags that start with a single letter and an underscore, like i_ and p_. We may use these for topics for investigations, problem solving and product development.

The Question

Describe your goal

It is vital to give as much detail as needed for people to understand what you’re struggling with and also what are you trying to accomplish. The latter part is crucial to avoid asking a XY Problem 25.

Show effort

As stated at the beginning, this is a community forum. If you don’t show any effort from your side, be prepared that your question might be ignored.

Show effort by:

  • Posting links to similar topics that you’ve found through search - it shows that you already tried to find a solution and also what have you tried before asking, so you won’t get answers/links to things that already didn’t work for your situation.

  • Describing what you tried - topics that state the problem and straight up ask for a solution are often ignored (“I need to act on an image like this. Please give me a solution.”), because why anyone should give their free time to someone who couldn’t spend a couple minutes showing that they care?

Describe your environment

What version of Automai are you using? What module? How are you accessing it? What type of server are you using? What is your application environment?

The more you describe about how it’s running, the easier it will be to reproduce or drill down what might be causing a problem.

Describe your constraints

If you know that you can’t use particular solutions, f.e. client doesn’t agree to installing Excel or you can’t use a different browser, write it in the post - it will save time for everyone.

Use proper formatting

Especially for code samples. This site 45 should give you a quick rundown of how to format your text.

Remember to split text into paragraphs and include white-space.

Attach an example

Also known as providing an MCVE 21 or a repro.

This might not always be possible, but most issues (especially HowTo’s) can be reproduced in isolation.

As a bonus, if you do create a repro and the issue doesn’t pop up with it, you now have a working scenario to compare with your workflow that doesn’t work.

For new users that can’t yet attach .xaml files, at least paste a screenshot or put your code in an external site (f.e. on pastebin 2 . But the thing is, if you’ve searched before posting you probably already unlocked the Basic level 8 and thus shouldn’t hit this limitation at all.

Reread it

Yes, the whole thing - check if topic is descriptive, tags are appropriate and that the question makes sense and actually asks what you want it to ask.

Having good grammar and spelling helps, but since not everyone is a native English speaker (most of us aren’t), at least check if there are some glaring errors. Punctuation and white-space also helps a lot.

Should I mention people in the post?

Generally - no.

It’s seen as bad manners and is essentially demanding an answer from someone. At least in the initial post. In a bump, maybe, but that also depends on the person on the other end.

At the very least if you do mention someone in the post using @someusername, be polite. Remember, we’re all volunteers here.