Are you asking the right people the right questions?

Wed, Oct 19, 2022 · Nate Boot

To me, it has always been especially discouraging when I have an issue blocking my way and I need some help, and it’s even more discouraging when I can’t find that help. There’s also no better feeling than getting some help from a living, breathing human being and finding out that I’m not alone in my struggle. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), we don’t all think alike, and what seems like enough information for one of us may not be for another. So let’s help each other by talking about where your questions about OpenSearch can be answered and how to make those question clear.

What exactly do I want to know?

Before you decide where your question might be best addressed, it can be helpful to consider the nature of the question itself. What exactly is it that you want to know?

Ask yourself, “What is it that I really need?”

  • Help with a configuration file?
  • Help making use of an existing feature?
  • Help working past error messages you don’t understand?

Ask yourself, “What kind of answer do I want?”

  • A purely informational response?
  • An example configuration snippet?
  • A code example?

Don’t forget to “show your work” (also known as “logs, or it didn’t happen”).

  • If you need help with a config file, provide the one you’re currently using formatted in a code block.
  • If you’re receiving error messages, please share them.
  • If you have a screen shot, please provide that as well.

With that out of the way…

Where do I go?

Depending on your issue and what kind of help you want, your destiny lies in one or more of three places: the OpenSearch GitHub repositories, documentation, or forum. The one you need depends on the details of your issue.

Please try to search existing material first in all three places. I’ll make sure to keep reminding you.


If you’re not sure what something does, how it works, or how it is supposed to be configured, please visit our documentation first. There you will find descriptions and examples.

This is one way in which you can be of help to us (yes, you!) by creating an issue on our documentation website repository. We take documentation contributions from anyone. Feel free to create an issue or submit a PR!


GitHub is the best outlet for feature requests and bug reports.

If you want OpenSearch or OpenSearch Dashboards to do something that it currently does not do, create a feature request (OpenSearch/OpenSearch Dashboards). Share with the community as descriptively as possible what your cool new feature would do, what it might look like, what you’d use it for, etc.

Search existing material first. If someone has already created a feature request for your idea, give it a thumbs up on GitHub to let the community know it’s something you’re interested in. Share any details you think are important about how the feature gets made. You have a stake in the build as much as anyone.

Think you have a bug? If you’re certain you’ve configured a feature correctly (perhaps have someone from the forums check your config), and you’re still seeing confusing behavior, this might be the time to file a bug report (OpenSearch/OpenSearch Dashboards).

Please search for existing material (in this case, bug reports in GitHub) first. Someone might already be working on the same problem you’re having. Give it a thumbs up if the bug applies to you. Someone might even offer a workaround until an official fix can be implemented.

If you’re just not sure, don’t worry. There’s one more option to try.

The forum

Our community is quite diverse and filled with experts of all kinds. If you’re not sure about something, are getting an error that you don’t understand, or would just like feedback, visit our forum and set up an account, if you haven’t already. The forum is yet another way that you can become part of the community. Not only will you develop expertise by answering questions, but you’ll also develop the community’s collective expertise by sharing yours.

Please search for existing forum topics first to make sure you’re not duplicating questions. It’s possible someone has asked the same question and has marked an answer as the solution.


We’re a very diverse crowd with a ton of knowledge to share, so let’s share it with each other! Share your logs. Share your configs. Share your thought process. Share your code and code examples. Ask others for code and code examples. Sharing will build our community and collective expertise.

As always, we encourage you to participate in the OpenSearch community. Answering questions on the forum is a great place to start. Issues with the “Good First Issue” label on GitHub are another great place to start. Also check out David Tippett’s live stream on Contributing To Open Source. One extra special bonus—now that it’s Hacktoberfest, your participation may just earn you a swag pack that will include a water bottle, a sweatshirt, and a sticker pack!