Lifted from another forum which in turn lifted it from another forum
Asking a question
- Before you ask
Before you ask a question, do some research to try to find an answer. A forum isn't necessarily a last resort, but it's hardly a first port of call. Before you ask, check:
- Check the The FAQ Emporium
- Any relevant manuals (paper ones, and .pdfs etc, on the manufacturer's site)
- Search on the web
- Search any forums (use the site:www.domain.com/forum syntax in Google if necessary)
If you find another post on a forum that's asking the same question, use that info first. If the answers don't help, post in the older thread rather than starting a new one.
When you have done these things, and you post your question, mention that in the question. Also, say what results you found and why they were not helpful.
Think through what you're going to ask. The easier the question is to read, the more likely you are to get an answer. Give as much information as you can about where and when you have the problem. Give details of what you've tried, and what these things did or didn't do.
If there are any locked topics, have a look at them and see why they were locked (the moderators normally post a note saying what was wrong with it)
Put as much information as the forum will let you in the title. It doesn't need to be grammatically perfect, but it must be understandable. Use of the words 'urgent', 'please help' etc. will most likely result in your post being ignored.
Don't flag it as 'urgent' or 'very important'. Even if it is to you, it isn't to anyone else.
Using caps and/or non alphanumeric characters will have similar results.
It should be possible to be half-way to answering your question just by reading the title
This should be easy to read and in proper English. Re-read it when you've finished, to make sure it makes sense. Cut out any background information that isn't necessary, but put in all the useful information you have. If you're not sure whether something is useful or not, put it at the bottom.
Say what went wrong, and when. Describe what you've tried, and the results of that.
Ask accurate questions. Asking "i need some information about ______" will not get you a useful answer. You need to specify what information you want and, if necessary, why. If your question can be answered with a 'yes' or 'no', you will likely get that answer.
If your question involves a long link, either use a 'forum code' (it will be in the FAQ if there is one) or use www.tinyurl.com to shorten it. On some forums, long links do all sorts of bad things to the forum layout.
Don't ask people to e-mail you their answers - they won't. Instead, make the forum e-mail you when there is a reply (usually called 'subscribe to thread' or similar).
Don't use all caps, don't flood the post with smileys.
- Using the reply
If you get the answer 'RTFM', chances are the responder feels you could have found your answer if only you'd bothered to Read The ******* Manual. Similarly, if you get the response 'STFW', you should Search The ******* Web (this is often censored to 'Google is your friend').
In general, in this instance, the person responding has the web-page, or manual, open in front of them as they type. Their answer is therefore an implication that the information is very easy to find. Go find it.
A 'yes' or 'no' answer means you've worded your question badly.
If you don't get an answer, it does not mean you are being ignored, it means that no-one who has looked at your question has answered it. This could be because thy don't know the answer, or because they don't understand the question. 'bumping' the question (where you post in the thread purely to put it at the top of the thread list) is not a good way to solve this problem. Re-read the original post, and see if you can re-write it in an easier-to-understand form. If you don't understand the answer, don't immediately ask for more help. Use the same techniques you used before asking the original question to get clarification - look in manuals and online for mentions of processes described in the answer.
If that doesn't help, ask for clarification, but say that you've looked already, and say what you found.
- If it all works, and you solve the problem, tell the people that helped you.
It means that anyone in future who has a similar problem knows that this will help. It also gives the people who helped you a nice feeling of closure; they know the problem is fixed. If it was a very difficult problem (i.e. it took a guru a while to work out the answer) the feeling of satisfaction at overcoming it is of immense importance. Finally, it means other people will stop looking for answers for you, and let the forum get back to answering questions that haven't been answered yet.
There is a difference between a forum and a chatroom, treat the forum as such. Don't use it for inane banter; if you want to change the subject, start a new thread.
Posting an opinion
If you're posting for the purposes of propagating your opinion on something, first check no-one else has just done that. If someone's posted what you were about to post, or the opposite, contribute to that discussion.
It is not worth expressing your opinion if you cannot back it up reliably - the thread will degenerate into a flame war, and then no-one is happy.
Remember that everyone else is as entitled to their opinion as you are to yours. Don't dismiss them out of hand
Forums are places for discussion, not playground spats.
- Give a worthwhile reply. Don't just respond with 'I don't know'. Don't put 'RTFM' unless the answer's in the documentation.
- If you know an easier way of doing something than the one the person's suggesting, tell them. Don't just help them work out how to do something the hard way when there's an easy way.
- If you *think* you know the answer, say so. Don't authoritatively state that a complete guess is correct.
- If you did some research for the answer, explain what you did. You may reveal a resource they didn't know about, or just offer a hint that would otherwise have gone unrealised.
Being subjected to abuse
If you get abuse, or 'flamed' on a forum, in general, you've done something wrong.
Asking a decent question will almost never result in a flaming. Asking a bad question, or a good question badly worded or spelt, almost certainly will. Regular forum-users tire of having to decipher bad English, so will enjoy the chance to relieve some pent-up anger.
Posting inane comments purely to boost your post-count (on forums with this feature) will annoy people. Many forums will ban you for it. When you join a forum, you've got to bear in mind that the members are most likely perfectly happy with the forum as it is. The onus is therefore on you to act in such a way as to make them feel you are a valuable addition to their forum. Don't expect the forum to adapt to how you want it to work/be, it is up to you to make yourself suit it.
In general, the best response to abuse or flaming is to ignore it. If you can't see anything wrong with your post, and they don't say what's wrong in their replies, just leave it and try another forum
Some common forum abbreviations
Use these sparingly, if at all. You'll never get bonus points for using them, you may well loose points though. This is here as a dictionary, not as advice:
AFAIK = As Far As I Know
BTA = But Then Again
FWIW = For What It's Worth
FYI = For Your Information
IIRC = If I Remember Correctly
IME = In My Experience
IMHO = In My Honest/Humble Opinion
IMO = In My Opinion
IYSWIM = If You See What I Mean
JIC = Just In Case
OP = Original Poster
QFE = Quoted For Emphasis
RTFM = Read The ******* Manual
STFW = Search The ******* Web