How to ask for help in IRC

tl;dr No one can answer your question if you never ask it.

I regularly see frustrated people asking for help in IRC. Unfortunately, they don't receive the help they're looking for because they don't ask questions that others are going to bother answering with any form of intelligent response.

Anyone could answer "yes" to the questions below, but no one knows what level of experience or knowledge your actual question requires, so no one ever bothers responding:

<techXfan> Does anyone have experience with Technology X?
<techXfan> Can anyone help me with Technology X?

More importantly, even generally helpful people are afraid to be lured into a conversation where they can't be helpful.

Asking to ask a question takes this conundrum to another level, because the direct answer to this question is a guaranteed "maybe":

<techXfan> I'm using Technology X, can anyone answer a question I have?

Instead of taking a terribly useless approach to receiving help, ask your question with as many framing details as possible:

<techXfan> Sending 200 megabyte files to Technology X always fails with "Request too large"; I've tried setting allow_large_requests=True in the config file, but the issue persists.

Finally, don't ask for help in a private message when you can ask in a public forum. There are more people around to provide help, and there are more people around to benefit from the answers.