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How Do I Get Great Answers To my Tek-Tips Questions? by MikeLacey
Posted: 13 Dec 02 (Edited 6 Aug 05)

Here are some suggestions, and a rule or two, for using the Tek-Tips forums. These suggestions and guidelines are based on comments from various members and have developed over the last few years. There are very few hard and fast rules - please read the guide-lines and use your common sense.

  1. Be nice. Try not to get impatient if someone doesn't understand your question.

  2. Be nice. Try not to get impatient if someone doesn't give enough information for you to understand their question. This is a hard and fast rule. Bad tempered replies don't help anyone, and will just get deleted by site management anyway.

  3. Choose the right forum for your question. There are quite a few forums here at Tek-Tips, take a few minutes looking through the list of forums and pick the one that looks closest to your question.

  4. Don't ask people to help you do illegal things or offer to do them yourself; respect copyright laws while you're at Tek-Tips. This is a hard and fast rule.

  5. Avoid posting the same question in multiple forums. Try to determine the best forum for your problem or question and post it there. If in doubt, ask. You'll be directed to another forum if necessary. If you don't get an answer in a reasonable time, then post to a different forum.

  6. Tek-Tips doesn't provide the ability to post into more than one forum at once, but people will sometimes post the same question in multiple forums anyway. The main problem with this is that other members will not know about the duplicate postings unless they visit all the forums. An answer may be given in one forum, another answer in a second forum and so forth. If a discussion is restricted to one thread, it is easier to follow up, comment and get closure on a discussion.

  7. Avoid asking multiple questions in a single thread, you'll get better results if you keep your questions focussed on a single well defined issue.

  8. Use a descriptive Subject. Many of us will skip over reading the post if the subject doesn't indicate the question.

    Don't use Subject's like this...
        Does anybody know...
        Urgent help needed!
        Error message
        Basic question
        My )&*#$^)#&^$ PROGRAM won't ...

    Try Subject's like this instead...
        How do I enable multiselect on Listview?
        How to get ADO connection
        Avoiding recordset overrun

  9. Keep e-mail addresses out of the forums - This is a hard and fast rule.
    Putting your email address in a post, whether in the body of the post or in your signature has three undesirable effects:
    • It attracts spam to you personally - annoying.
    • The recruiters and sales people who are encouraged to trawl the site looking for email addresses use up bandwidth, this is costly to the site.
    • Posting addresses encourages taking discussions private which goes against the sharing philosphy of Tek-Tips.
    Place any e-mail addresses you feel you *have* to share on a personal website, and then link to that site from your signature.
    Threads offering or requesting email solutions are likely to be Red-Flagged.

  10. Make an effort to look in help files and/or other documentation or articles.  Help article's are
    often available online at the software or hardware vendor's web site.

    Use the Search facility and try to find answers before you post a question.

    Read the FAQ's here at Tek-Tips and try to find answers before you post a question.

    Even if you don't find an answer to your question and end up asking in a forum anyway, researching and thinking about your problem will help you ask a focussed question that will get answered, rather than skipped over..

    If an answer exists in a FAQ or a previous thread, youÆll probably be directed to that FAQ or thread rather than repeating the answer in your thread.

    FYI: to direct someone to a FAQ or thread, simply type (or copy and paste) the FAQ or thread number in your post, like this: faq183-874 or thread183-108148

  11. Just so you don't get the wrong idea: no question is too basic for Tek-Tips forums. We simply suggest spending a few minutes trying to find the answer yourself, and then if you can't, post your question.

    There is a lot of knowledge and help here.

  12. Remember that Tek-Tips is designed for IT Professionals. It isn't intended as a lazy person's way to get homework assignments done. Nor is it a free program writing resource. People are often willing to give snippets of code to clarify an answer or illustrate a point, but it's expecting too much to ask for a 'full code solution'.
    This is a hard and fast rule. Don't copy and paste your homework assignment in Tek-Tips unless you want your question and your Tek-Tips user-id deleted.

  13. Don't worry if English is not your first language; that's true of a lot of Tek-Tips members and no-one here will criticise your use of English. You will find that more people will be able to help if you use English; please stick to English when using Tek-Tips.

  14. Try not to fall into the temptation of answering or asking questions by email, if you do (and we all do sometimes) then please post the solution on Tek-Tips when you're done so that everyone can benefit and we know the problem's been solved. Best thing is, if someone e-mails you, politely tell them to post it on tek-tips, thank them for the e-mail, but refuse to answer.

  15. Include the version and service pack or patch-levels of the product you are using; a solution that works in one version may not work in another. If you are connecting to a database, give details of which database and which connection method you use. If you are using external add-ins , controls or dll's please specify.

  16. If you are asking a question related to code, please post the shortest example of code that will reproduce the problem you're experiencing. Include relevant declarations and controls that are affected.

  17. Provide sample result (or desired result) of your code if you can.


    Remember to bracket your example code (in questions or in answers) in [code] and [/code], it will then display like this text.
    Please report the exact error message if you are asking a question about an error you are receiving, please...Telling us you are getting an error is unlikely to result in a useful response. "My app errored!!!" or "Please Help." will not get as quick or accurate reply as "When I run my app under these conditions I get a syntax error on this line ... The error mesage is ..."

  18. Please acknowledge answers that help. Sometimes an answer is given but the questioner never replies in any way. It is hard to know if the problem was solved or if the questioner just hasn't seen the answer yet.

    If one of the answer's solves your problem, post a short reply and let everyone know what worked for you. This lets the person who posted the answer and everyone else who reads the thread know which answer was correct for you. That way other people can benefit from the knowledge base we are building here.

    Tipmaster Stars are a way to provide positive feedback. We all (even those of us who say we don't!) appreciate receiving stars - but only when they are deserved...

    FYI: You "award Stars" by clicking on the link at the bottom left of the post.

    "Thank <username> for ..."

    Please post the solution if you solve a problem yourself. That way, all questions will have the solutions. And all of us can learn from others' experience.

  19. When you reply to long threads note the person you are addressing. That way we'll know to whom the post is directed. For example,
    I don't think the solution you posted will work in Version 5; that feature was introduced in V6.

  20. Don't forget that this is a two-way forum and we are all here to help each other. Even if you start in here as a question-asker, please make the effort to put something back into the site when you can. You'll find it feels good when you  post a few replies as well, besides gaining the thanks and respect of your peers
Summary. Tek-Tips provides us with an opportunity to help and be helped. Please remember to show respect and appreciation to all other members of the forum, keep enjoying the forum and the programming. And, from time to time, give them some money

This FAQ, like a lot of others on Tek-Tips, was based initially on Terry Broadbent's FAQ, Thanks though to the other members who have also contributed. I have unashamedly stolen borrowed from various sources for this document. All of the good bits are theirs, all of the bad bits are mine.

If you've got any comments, additions, suggestions about this FAQ, please use the "Feedback" mechanism and I'll get back to you.

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