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How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

(OP)
If you use this site to get help, please read this post. It will help you get the help you need and it will help others feel better about providing that help.

No One Is Getting Paid To Answer These Questions
People on these forums help because it feels good to help. We can't read minds. We don't have unlimited time. And we get bored answering the same simple questions over and over again. Do what you can to make it easy for people to help you, and you'll be more likely to get good, thorough, usable responses from people.

Demonstrate That You've Put Some Effort Into Solving The Problem Yourself
If you show us what you've done to try to tackle the problem, we'll know that you're actually trying, and we'll feel better about helping you. At the very least always look in the help files to try to answer your own question. If you've looked and can't find it, just say so. But if you've not looked, don't ask me open up the help file to find the answer for you.

  • Look in the help files. More than 50% of what I know about Access programming came from the help files.

  • Need a definition? It's in the help files.

  • Need to know the syntax for something? It's in the help files.

  • Buy a good book and read it. For $50 you can buy a book that will answer almost every post on any one of these forums. My personal favorite is the Microsoft Access [version number] Developer's Handbook.

  • Make a couple of attempts at fixing the problem yourself.


And remember to describe, briefly, what you've done to try to solve it yourself, so we can distinguish your post from a lazy post.

Make It Easy For People To Help You
You're posting because you want help, so give people all the information they will need to be able to provide that help. If you can't be bothered to spend an extra five minutes crafting your post, does it really seem reasonable to ask someone else to spend ten minutes answering your post? Take some extra time to go back and make your post as clear as possible. You'll often find that you can see the answer yourself, or you can see where you need to start searching for the answer.

Include all the Information We'll Need

  • If you are having problems in code, include the code.

  • If you are having problems with a query, include the sql.

  • If you are getting any errors at all, post the entire error message, and tell us exactly what you did just before getting the error, and which line of code throws up the error.

  • If you're using a macro, convert it to code (there's a menu item to do this) and paste that code.


If you leave any of this information out, someone is going to ask you for it, and it's going to delay the answering of your question. Help us all out and provide this information the first time around.

Be Polite
Please don't make your post, or even your subject line ALL CAPS. It's a very strong form of emphasis, often interpreted as yelling. It's harder to read than properly cased text. And it's rude. Yelling will not help you get an answer to your question.

And about telling people that your problem is URGENT...did you ever hear the story of the little boy who cried wolf? Well far too many people post telling us that their problem is urgent, and I, for one, have reacted by avoiding all posts that tell me of their urgency. Everyone here is posting because they need help. Someone will reply, assuming you have provided a reasonable amount of information and demonstrated that you have in fact made some effort to overcome the hurdle you're facing. It sometimes takes time before someone with knowledge specific enough to help you out finds your post. Be patient.

Alter Your Expectations
Think about your expectations. No one is getting paid. No one is under contract. People are very busy. Someone may answer your post with an offer to follow through and then drop the ball. Someone may reply with only tangentially related information. Someone may be entirely rude to you. But if your aim is to get as much help as possible in solving your question, it's not going to do you any good at all to spew fire at these people. If I see you getting angry at someone who started to help you out and then got busy with other stuff, there's very little chance I'll feel inclined to help you out myself, because I don't like being flamed.

Reward people for Their Help
If someone has helped you out, say "Thank you". It's just polite. In a forum like Tek-Tips, give the person a star. It takes two clicks of your mouse, and it provides a measurable form of reward. There's no requirement that you do this, but if someone has helped you out, why not let that person know how helpful they've been--it can only make that person more likely to help the next person with a question, or to help you with your next question. [One note here: if you are posting to say thank you, do it in the same thread as the question you ask. That's where all follow-ups should go.]

Finally
Keep in mind that you're posting because you want help. These electronic communities really are communities. I've been hanging out with some of the same people on some on-line communities since 1992. Some people have been around these communities for longer than this. You actions now will be remembered years from now. Losing your temper on occasion is not going to make people hate your forever. But people will notice it. If you are helpful, thoughtful, and friendly, people will take note of that too. None of the things I've talked about here are written as rules, they are simply pointers to help you get as much of what you want out of these forums.

Jeremy

=============
Jeremy Wallace          AlphaBet City Dataworks          http://www.AlphaBetCityDataworks.com

See the Developers' section for some helpful fundamentals.

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

Jer,
I agree fully with your post, but lets not forget the SEARCH function of this site.
I realize it is difficult for the newbies to formulate a search string for their problem. However trying anything would be better than doing nothing.
Another pet peeve is punctuation. Try to put a few periods and commas where they belong. I'm not a grammaticist by any stretch of the imagination, but trying to read some of the posts is difficult.
jim

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

23
(OP)
Jim,

Man, I knew I was going to leave a thing or two out, and you just hit two big ones that I really meant to include. Clearly, searching should go in that first bulleted list. And I definitely[/] wish I'd added something about punctuation, abbreviation, and the use of cutesy shortcuts like u, ur, etc. I don't have a problem with people for whom English isn't their first language having a bunch of errors, or even with anyone who has a few errors. But people will be taken much more seriously, and their questions given much more serious contemplation, if they at least make an attempt at being clear.

Thanks much for the pointers. I'm sure I'll rework it some and post it on my website.

Jeremy

=============
Jeremy Wallace          AlphaBet City Dataworks          http://www.AlphaBetCityDataworks.com

See the Developers' section for some helpful fundamentals.

See Thread181-473997 for information on how to get the best responses possible here at Tek-Tips.

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions


Great post, Jeremy.  You get a star for that!

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

I have personally received help from JeremyNYC as well as other "gurus" of the MS Access community.  This site has taught me and made be into a better MS Access developer than alot of individuals that take this stuff for school.  This site is VERY helpful and the individuals that help deserve the respect and appreciation from any body they help.  Love this site and look forward to one day be on the other side to help people rather than be the one posting the questions.  You get a star from me JeremyNYC.

Tejanorey

"Do not attack the First Marine Division. Leave the yellowlegs alone. Strike the American Army."
    - Orders given to Communist troops in the Korean War; shortly afterward, the Marines were ordered to not wear their khaki leggings to keep the enemy from immediately fleeing

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

Isn't it sad, that this needed to be posted?
Jeremy's note is not about latest scientific research findings, but Common Sense. A 'Thank You' should be pretty international, why can't you find one in so many threads?

And why do so many ??!*(Programmers)!?? subject lines look like "Hi, I'm trying.." or "Help needed" or "Problem!" while even *(Visitor) seem to be able to specify the topic?

Thanks, Jeremy, it helps when it comes from someone, who's been around a lot longer,

TomCologne

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

2
Jeremy,
Great pointers.  A few of my suggestions include reading the FAQs.  People put a lot of effort into creating these.  I've found that not only have they answered many of my questions, but they've given me several great ideas that I never even thought of.  Also, take advantage of other links as well.  Tek-Tips is my favorite website, but there are other websites that also offer a great wealth of information.

Jeremy's website has a great security FAQ.  Security is one of the tougher issues to learn, so I've sought out multiple sources to help get it through my thick skull.  Also he has a great article about relational database design.  I wish I had seen that before designing my first few databases.

One of my other favorite websites is www.mvps.org/access/tencommandments.htm
This gives good guidelines for database development.

Microsoft's Knowledge Base also has a lot of good stuff.

Mostly, what I'm trying to say is spend a little time doing research and you'll be suprised what you find.

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

Jeremy:

Don't mean to be a parrot, but your suggestions are direct and elegant.  And as TomCologne said, sad to have to be posted.

I too, have discovered in these forums many nuances to coding Access that I wasn't aware of.  I do use the Access help extensively, but there are times, (often too many), where MS has chosen not to include help screens.  The topic will show up in the search results box, but when clicking on them, either nothing happens, or one will get the 'No Help for This Topic' screen.

While it may be true that much of the unsupplied help can pertain to DAO as opposed to ADO, I have found ADO topics also not available.

And yes, now that the search function on the forums is operational again, it's a great place to start.  FAQs are a wealth of information too.

The one suggestion I have about this post is that it should pop up every time a user clicks on a forum.  It might be annoying, and goodness knows I despise annoyances, but the saturation technique might also drive the point home more effectively than just hoping people read this post.  Maybe it could be scheduled to happen, say the first 2 or 3 days of each month!

So, yes user, please take Jeremy's words to heart.  We want to help.  Demonstrating effort on your part will make this experience much more rewarding for all of us.

I will now step off my soapbox.

Vic

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

(OP)
It's funny. After I posted this, I noticed that when you go to start a new thread, at the bottom of a forum, there's a link that says "Click Here for tips on how to write a "good" question." The stuff that's in there is great. But it's really small. Maybe I'll suggest to Dave that it would be helpful to make that link bigger, more obvious. It would be cool, of course, if it came up automatically the first time each user posted, but that would require a decent bit of coding.

One helpful help hint for folks: if you can, keep a copy of Access 97 installed on your machine. The help files in a97 a far superior to those in later versions. Of course there are some differences, but not so many, really.

Jeremy

=============
Jeremy Wallace          AlphaBet City Dataworks          http://www.AlphaBetCityDataworks.com

See the Developers' section for some helpful fundamentals.

See Thread181-473997 for information on how to get the best responses possible here at Tek-Tips.

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

Jeremy:

A good idea about making the 'question-writing tips' link more prominent.  Perhaps it can be added to the forums pages, as well as the new thread page.  (My reference to making this thread pop up was wishful thinking.)

And just for being thoughtful and conscientious, I'm gonna add another star to your collection!

P.S.  I forgot to mention that I have a copy of A97 just for the helps.  They have been a lifesaver on more than one occasion.

Vic

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

Jeremy

 can you post this in the other acces forums like forms and modules, or can i copy it there?
Because this is what people need to know.
One more tip, for some users, if you really dont know access at all TAKE A COURSE somewhere.

PS: i really try to improve my english

Christiaan Baes
Belgium
"What a wonderfull world" - Louis armstrong

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

jeremy and all,
One other feature I use is the "Threadminder" on the left side of the forum.
I keep all the different forums I use there and just have to click one one get to;
barcode
Forms
Reports
Other topics
I don't remember how I set it up initially, but it sure helps navigating.

(And Chrissie1, in the posts I have seen your name your english is very good.)
jim

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

(OP)
chrissie1,

First off, your English is pretty darn good. I really meant it when I said I don't have a problem with people who are learning the English language--I get pretty fed up with English speakers who get frustrated when non-English speakers don't have full command of English; how many Americans do you know who speak Flemish? Or even French.

I'm not sure if I want to post it in other forums. I hear what you're saying, but I'm a bit afraid of looking like I'm hunting for stars, as it's a good bet that a bunch of people will react similarly in each forum. Feel free to post it anywhere, or just post a link to this thread, though, as I think it we'll only benefit if more people read it.

I did send an e-mail to the Tek-Tips support people, with a link to this thread. I suggested making the link to their tips more prominent, perhaps putting it directly above the text box where you enter a new post. I don't know that it's reasonable for us to expect them to change their page layout because of this, but they are very nice folks, and I'm sure that if it makes sense to them and won't cause them too much pain, they'll do their best to make that link a bit more out front.

Jeremy

=============
Jeremy Wallace            AlphaBet City Dataworks            http://www.AlphaBetCityDataworks.com
See the Developers' section for some helpful fundamentals.

See Thread181-473997 for information on how to get the best responses possible here

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

I was shocked to find out that no Wizard gets paid !
Why does it cost $K15 (or so) a month to run this site then ? I am confuuuuuuused now.

Just my "language" 2 cents.
"how many Americans do you know who speak Flemish? Or even French".
You, guys do not have to ! You were born here, but for people who came into US and expect everyone to speak their Flemish or French I would say - Get a Grip !

Thanks for all help and please, explain about upkeep of the site. I am VERY ready to begin my donation circle, but I was very sure that Wizards are getting some...

TIA

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

(OP)
TLady,

I imagine the infrastructure costs of this site are huge. And the people running it have to make some money. You capitalize Wizards as if there were an actual position with that title. People here are answering questions because they like to help people out. That's it. The site costs money to run--just take a look at the number of forums there are and imagine the storage and bandwidth they have to pay for, and the upkeep work they have to do.

I assume you're from the US. Have you ever travelled outside the US? I have seen English speaking tourists get angry with others for not speaking English in Spain, France, Ecuador, Mali, South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya. I have never once seen someone whose first language is not English have this reaction in any country I've ever been to. People whose first language is English speak FAR fewer languages than people whose first language is anything else. And they generally do not realize the amount of work other people have done to learn other languages in order to be able to better communicate with people.

Jeremy

==
Jeremy Wallace
AlphaBet City Dataworks
http://www.ABCDataworks.com
Affordable Development, Professionally Done

Please post in the appropriate forum with a descriptive subject; code and SQL, if referenced; and expected results. See Thread181-473997 for more pointers.

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

You were born here, but for people who came into US and expect everyone to speak their Flemish or French I would say - Get a Grip !

TLady,
I'm sorry, but this post offended me a bit.  First of all, very few people who come to the US speaking other languages expect us to speak their language.  Instead, people get angry if they don't speak English.

Also, when you say "You were born here", you seem to be failing to realize that these forums are not in the U.S.  These are world-wide forums with visitors from the U.S., Britain, Australia, the Phillipines, and Belgium (and that's only listing the places I remember people saying they're from).

I applaud everybody who comes and shares their knowledge on Tek-Tips, but I have to give extra thanks to those who do so while working in a language that is not native to them.

I apologize if this seems rude, but I have heard that argument about people coming to the U.S. and expecting others to know their language a few to many times.  Most of them either struggle and learn English, or struggle to get by without speaking the language.  They aren't expecting us to learn their language, but instead trying to live somewhere where communication is difficult for them.

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

Sorry million times if I am offended ANYONE, please forgive me! Being ESL myself I thought I have rights to speak ...

I am honestly did not think about this forum being worldwide.
We may all need a little bit of HUMOR in our everyday lives to realize - people not always having a good day, as simple as that. I wouldn't treat it as Global catastrophy if someone said something i do not absolutely love.

So, cheer up and Thanks for explanation.
Not having your own forum I think it is hard to realize maintanance fee could get you ...

Have a wonderfull day everybody !
Spring is around the corner !!!

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

I'm attempting to learn VB and how to programme ASP's at the moment (Employers seem to require a person to know almost every Software Package these days).

You might think this strange, but in my "rest periods" I attempt to answer Member's questions on Access, having speialised in it for some years. Is it not possible for Tek-Tips (as others have suggested, maybe if enough of us request this to be done, Tek-Tips will actually do it) to add the Edited Highlights of your Posting above, to the Start a New Thread Window, there's loads of space, both to the left and the right of the Window.

I personally, as of now, am giving up asking Member's to post their Code and SQL, this morning there were 6 questions like this in the "Microsoft Forms Forum" alone. In most cases if they had posted their Code and SQL along with their question, I or another Member could have sent a Usable Answer in the time it would take to request their Code and/or SQL.

I don't have any strong feelings on this, don't get me wrong, but I'm nearly in a postion to add VB and ASP to my CV thanks to the Members of Tek-Tips and I like to give a little back by attempting to give Solutions to other Member's Questions, the lack of info in initial questions restricts this.

Anyway, the posting above is great, keep up the good work, Bill

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

Actually it was the "Microsoft: Access Forms Forum"

Bill

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

(OP)
BillPower says "I'm nearly in a postion to add VB and ASP to my CV thanks to the Members of Tek-Tips and I like to give a little back by attempting to give Solutions to other Member's Questions"

Man. That's a pretty stunningly good thing to say about Tek-Tips. I'm sure you're working your tail off to learn that stuff, but it's great that you give Tek-Tips so much credit, and so much of your time.

Cheers.

Jeremy

==
Jeremy Wallace
AlphaBet City Dataworks
http://www.ABCDataworks.com
Affordable Development, Professionally Done

Please post in the appropriate forum with a descriptive subject; code and SQL, if referenced; and expected results. See Thread181-473997 for more pointers.

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

Thanks Jeremy,

I forgot to say that as soon as I've got a job, that I will be making a Financial Contribution to Tek-Tips, I feel so much more confident now, nearly having VB and ASP under my belt. I'm on here most days, sometimes nights, I haven't had to ask a question myself now for about a month, I suppose I've been lucky, each time I've used the Advanced Search facility, loads of Good Examples from past Threads come up that have either solved my problem or pointed me in the right direction.

Bill

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

Keep up the good work bill.
I'm sure that the company that will give you job wont have any regrets. Hell they would be stupid not to give you one. Someone even gave me a job.

Christiaan Baes
Belgium
"What a wonderfull world" - Louis armstrong

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

To begin the site is one of the best Learning Tools I have ever come across. (Brilliant)

But after reading the above I feel like a bit of an ass for posted a ridiculous question.

Keep up the good work.

Will make a contribution in the near future (If I ever get this database finished) :)

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

Bravo, realm !
"But after reading the above I feel like a bit of an ass for posted a ridiculous question. "
Aren't we all sometimes ?
It was Hillarious!

The point is - bad written questions - past, present and future (sorry, Jeremy) and all you have to do is smile (SMILE, darnett!)to prolong your life.

Have I missed spring or it wasn't here yet ?
Best regards
TIA

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

Thanks for the tips!!
In 15 minutes tehy'll result once again in a better written question (Microsoft Access Modules - Automating Netscape to send (address dependent) attachments using table data). Thanks for the tips!
Hans - Belgium

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

ps In the end, I decided to try to solve the problem I mentioned by discussing it with a FAQ-contributer first.
It's still sad you can't delete your own posts when they're not relevant anymore

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

Jeremy's guidelines are excellent.  However, dont' forget, we're all humans, and these dialog boxes lack both time and space and so have no 'demeanor'.  Everyone, periodically, does or says something they wish otherwise they had not.  That's life, that's being human.  Most of the people in these forums are truely professional in their attitudes, and ALL appreciate the likes of Jeremy, Chrissie and others to spend their valuable time to help.

Tek-Tips has become an excellent and wonderful place to discuss technical dissues - and it's because all of us are willing to help and donate time for others.  A great ideal.

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions


I was very pleased to read the comments, ideas and suggestions in this thread. I wonder, though, how many members who have posted in this thread have looked in the FAQ area of this forum.

FAQ181-2886 by RickSpr covers many of the same issues discussed here. The FAQ was created a few months ago. Similar FAQs exist in many Tek-Tips forums. These FAQs are included in the signatures of many Tek-Tips members. I see that Jeremy has included this thread in his signature. Both FAQs in my signature cover the same issues.

I was about to suggest that Jeremy create another FAQ. I don't know if that would be as effective as updating Rick's FAQ. RickSpr hasn't posted in this forum for a couple of months so I don't know if he is able to respond to a request.

Additional Comments

I informed Tek-Tips management of this thread soon after Jeremy posted it. I know they will consider many of the suggestions and implement them if feasible.

I think a small donation to Tek-Tips by members is a good thing to do. We all benefit because Tek-Tips exists. Site design is excellent. Members usually treat one another well and freely share knowledge. Banner ads and other intrusions are minimal unlike other forums that I've visited. If members do not help support the site, the site operators may be forced to add more advertising. I certainly don't want to see more banner and pop up advertisements.

If you want to get the best answer for your question read FAQ183-874 and FAQ183-3179.
Terry L. Broadbent - DBA
SQL Server Page: http://tlbroadbent.home.attbi.com/sql/sql_articles.htm

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

Jeremy,

You are right people should say thanks, I always try to say this in my reply. It only takes a couple of key strokes and meeans a lot. As you said nobody gets paid for replying, you and other including myself who anwser any question do it because they want to share there knowedge in the problem.  I have spent a lot of time to get online help working in access and like you will pass on any knowledge. I think you have raised some good points, it can be a time for you to answer similar question all the time.  I have been working on database for 2 years now, and most of my problems from FAQ, post on various sites.

RE: How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions

I think it is time to read this post by our new members if they are not..
regards

Zameer Abdulla
Visit Me

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