Allways check stickies first, most forums have them. In some cases the just stay at the top of the posts and never move down, other forums (like this one) seperate the stickied posts.
Before you post a question you should do the following:
1) read all FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) for the forums you want to post to
2) read the stickies that might apply
3) run a search, all forums have them, it's just finding the search engine, often you can set them to search just a sub-forum
if one of the search results is close you might want to just ask for clarification in that thread (read the entire thread though)
Asking questions that have been asked a hundred times or have been stickied can get you ignored