Having seen countless threads opened on these forums that make no sense at all,and do no
help to any volunteer to respond to it. I thought its only appropriate to write something like this that may help a new poster
to get help quicker. Following are some general guidelines that must be kept in mind when posting a new topic
or when you are responding to one as well.
I can not emphasis more on this one, I hate to see threads which are vague and leave us( volunteers) guessing that what
could have been wrong or what the poster actually meant. So please be kind and describe your question
as much as you can, Phrases like these "Why my code does not work" or the worst ones are where you post several hundred lines of code and heading only says "Can you help me?",are a total no no.<br/>
Please follow these guidelines for your sake as well as volunteers sake.<br/>
1. Explain to us what your script DOES (or what it's supposed to do).
Is it some server side related error Or is it just not doing what you
3. Remember that (or so we hope) you know a lot more about your code than we do. Don't assume we know just what it does.
4. Most of the volunteers at this site are really good at what they do; however, do not expect them to know about every piece of garbage code, that is scattered all over the internet.
So phrases like "I took this code from XXXXX site why doesn't it work", means nothing. Please be descriptive as in item 2 above.
Stupid topic names, that MUST NOT be used
Post a descriptive topic name! Give a short summary of your problem
IN THE SUBJECT field.
Below is a list of some universally agreed upon topic headings that YOU SHOULD NOT POST :
1) Help me
2) Hello please help me
3) this is driving me nuts
4) newbie alert
5) Newbie needs help
7) XXXXX doubt
8) This is too complicated for me
9) Is this possible?
10) Very urgent
11) I have a question
12) I have a problem
13) Stupid question
14) Something wrong
15) pulling my hair out
16) Its probably easy for you
Generally ANYTHING similar to the above is not descriptive enough.
Here are few good topic heading examples
"Error: getting a NaN error"
or may be:
"Getting an object required error when loading"
Or something like this
"text1 is null or not an object error!"
ONLY POST THE PART OF YOUR SCRIPT THAT HAS PROBLEMS!
PLEASE do not post your entire script in a message. Only post the part of your script where you have problems.
That's it. Just a very small piece of it. It's not hard. Just find the
part you think doesn't work and post that. WE DON'T WANT TO SEE YOUR
ENTIRE SCRIPT. And if you post the entire script it's going to take us
a lot longer to find the problem. And if you must then please upload your file as txt or zip file.
Do not expect us to go through several hundred lines of code to figure out where you have omitted a comma.
PUT YOUR CODE in PHP vB code blocks!!!
Hundreds of times every week we see people post a huge ugly script
right into the message, this code in most cases is too hard to read.
Pease use the built in vB code formatting using<br/>
square bracket PHP square bracket<br/>
This will color code your script good enough for readability.<br/> If you use that your code may look like this
Please let us know that which line caused the error and what that line's code is supposed to do when it works.
Tell us what,in general, your script is supposed to do and why it
"doesn't work". Or if you don't know why it does not work then at least
tell us what the offending code is supposed to do.
When you come in and say "it doesn't work" or just "it has errors",
that means NOTHING. There could be hundreds of things wrong and no one
will know where to look.
If you're not going to take the advice, don't ask for help.
Often times, people post questions about their script with the
wrong mindset from the very beginning. Soon they are receiving replies,
and silently debugging their code, making no effort to even acknowledge
the people helping them! It becomes one sided, and the poster isn't
aware that many of the people helping them hope to learn something as
well! Letting people know of your progress and how their suggestions
apply (or do not apply) will not only help you figure out your problem
quicker, but you'll be returning the favor to those of us who learn
more by helping.
In even worse scenarios, sometimes the poster will argue back even
when they don't know what they're talking about. Hey - if you know it
all, don't ask for help.
When people give you free code that may solve your problem, by all
means, try it out! And if it's not what you need, at least thank them. <br>
And if you find some responses over your head, ask them for a better
explanation. Don’t come back arguing that it wasn't what you need,if you knew what you needed you wouldn't have posted a question in first place ,would you?.
Remember when people help you, they are doing YOU the favor
Regardless of how big your ego is, it is NOT someone else's
privilege to debug Your code. It is not their privilege to have them
help you. It is YOURS. Remember that when people help you they are
doing YOU the favor. You are not doing them a favor by letting them see
your incredible buggy application. Be patient help people out by posting
good descriptions of what you need help with, and not snapping at
people with garbage such as "if you aren't going to help don't waste my
Here is another suggestion:
I say 4 out 5 questions on these (and other fora) are asked in a way that makes giving a valuable advice next to imposible. The reason is that such posts do not present THE PROBLEM, but rather a problem that was created by a solution to (a problem that was created by a solution to) THE PROBLEM. Somehow, the majority fails to see what the REAL problem that needs to be solved is.
So here is a VERY SIMPLE advice on how to find out what THE REAL PROBLEM is:
When presented with a problem, ask yourself "Why, the ****(heck) do I want to do this", and then apply the same question to the answer (repeat as needed)
Then post THE PROBLEM you came up with and what you thought of as an original problem as "here is how I thought of solving it" with a question "is there a better way".
Only then will you get a much better response in much less time.
About describing a problem, for some newer scripters that migth be a problem.. not knowing how a part is called (object parts etc etc..) same as with my last post I have no clue in how to call it in any other way! (that is why I put down my problem on the net on a page so the problem can be expierenced yourself)
The only limitation to create something is your own imagination.
I followed these guidelines to post a question, but got no response. I put the question in as much detail as possible, put the purpose of the question in the subject, and posted the script in my thread (as the script was working, I just wanted to know how to make it do something more).
Days later, I saw another thread with a vague title, and a similar question (but the person wanted to do something totally different, so it wasn't of help to me), who got a good response.
So, today I have reposted my question, but made it more vague.
Are there any other tips in your guidelines as to how to get a response?
The best way to get a good response is to post a post with one or two small to medium paragraphs summarizing your problem. We don't usually need explicit details, as we get a great deal of questions. A vague subject title is not a good way to get a response, although most posts are read anyway. If you do post code, post little or only a small portion of it, so that it does not appear as a large amount of work. When you post a long message or a lot of code, commonly those who could possibly help out turn away at the thought of such an overwhelming amount of code. Some are willing to help out with such large amounts, but personally, I believe it is more polite to prevent the person answering the question from doing a great deal of work. I prefer for the person asking the question to try to figure out things for themselves, so that the job is not completely put on the shoulders of the responder.
Oh, and instead of posting a new post, just go back to your old post and say something like, *BUMP* and it will put it on the front page again... That way someone can see it, and you won't have to post it again.
Looks like I have broken a few rules of this board by mentioning 'HELP' and 'NEWBIE' in my first post.
I'd appreciate it if people understand that there ARE newbies who have learning difficulties and who searched the net and came over here, registered and posted a message hoping for some help. Slamming them for seeking help is not particularly encouraging. Could we hope for some more compassion around here please? I find it hard to imagine a forum intended for voluntary assistance banning the use of the word 'HELP'.
I do appreciate other pointers on how to post. I have a steep learning curve to catch up!
Funnily enough, my vague posting did actually get responses. Another funny, one of the answers was actually covered in my original posting (the one that wasn't answered), so I had to go back in and clarify that one as well
I am though finding it tough to explain something in few words. I guess, not being an expert, I don't know the 'short term' for something, so have to explain it further. That may be why newbies give such large questions. It is a catch 22 situation there.
Also, I had to post my whole script, as the script itself worked, and I just wanted to know how to adapt it to what I wanted.
I guess it is all tricky, but I will keep all of your advice in mind and try to perfect this question asking. Even as a Newbie, I have information to help others, so that feels good to give some back.
Originally posted by javamark I'd appreciate it if people understand that there ARE newbies who have learning difficulties and who searched the net and came over here, registered and posted a message hoping for some help. Slamming them for seeking help is not particularly encouraging. Could we hope for some more compassion around here please? I find it hard to imagine a forum intended for voluntary assistance banning the use of the word 'HELP'.
A lot of us do understand, and realize this. No one has been banned for posting "Help please" since this message was posted (and it wasn't posted very long ago, either). However, since you are not one who regularly comes here to answer questions (for free*), you do not realize the frustration one can get when there are many new posts all titled something relatively the same...
Originally posted by LindaQ I guess it is all tricky, but I will keep all of your advice in mind and try to perfect this question asking. Even as a Newbie, I have information to help others, so that feels good to give some back.
Yes, sometimes I feel the same way--as far as helping out the people who ask questions in this forum, and others. I feel I owe it back to this site, even though I'm pretty sure I've paid it back for what I've done, those who answered my questions (Dave Clark, Khalid Ali, and pyro mostly), I am sure, deserve something. Hopefully they're glad to see others, such as myself, helping out others so that they do not have such a work load. (Apparently Dave Clark left, though.)