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On Raspberry Pi SE I have noticed a ridiculous amount of "Why is my Pi not booting?" or "Pi crashing" questions that are very poorly asked. I understand that a lot of people have this problem, and if they do they should post the output of any files/commands they can still access like dmesg /var/log/messages /var/log/syslog and /var/log/kern.log. Though, most of the time when the Pi won't boot, they have access to none of these files. In that case the op should add what they did to the Pi in the days/hours/minutes leading up to the crash/no boot. The odds of a Pi just dying is pretty slim, so they must have changed something. Also, even if the Pi will not boot at all 99% of people will have access to /boot/config.txt and /boot/cmdline.txt which I assume could contain some very important information in most cases. Is there anything else we should do to help mitigate this problem of almost completely unanswerable questions?


Examples of bad questions:

No output of any file/command: Raspberry Pi 2 Boot problem

This contains almost no useful information: raspberry does not start

Examples of good questions:

Contains some good output: My sdcards won't boot

Contains boot messages: My Raspberry Pi won't boot into Raspbian any more?

Contains some useful and very relevant output: Why won't my Raspberry Pi overclock?


I have made a chat for bouncing ideas around about this topic here: http://chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/33185/discussion-for-tackling-debug-questions

  • Like the wifi question from earlier, this is a very good suggestion. I think a well thought out Q&A along the lines of "What should I do to debug my _______ problem?" is possible in both cases. It's also been suggested stuff like this would fit well into a blog when we get one. – goldilocks Dec 18 '15 at 20:43
  • I am swamped until the New Year (on account of my swamp from November flowing over), but if anyone wants to try and tackle either one and pick my brain about it, ping me in chat. Brainstorming this there in general might be a good idea. – goldilocks Dec 18 '15 at 20:44
  • @goldilocks join me in chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/33185/… – Patrick Cook Dec 18 '15 at 20:48

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