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Microsoft SQL Server: Programming FAQ

Effective Forum Participation

Suggestions for Getting Quick and Appropriate Answers by tlbroadbent
Posted: 28 Jun 01 (Edited 2 Apr 03)

These are some suggestions for posting in the SQL Server forum. Many of the suggestions are applicable to all forums while some are specific to SQL Server.

  1. Do not post homework assignments here. Read the policy at http://www.tek-tips.com/market.cfm.

  2. Don't expect members to write your T-SQL code, though you will often be given working code as part of the answer.

  3. Don't expect members to tutor you in T-SQL. There are plenty of online tutorials available. See FAQ183-694.

  4. Here are some resources that can help you become a more affective forum member.

    http://www.tipmaster.com/includes/goodposts.cfm - 'How To Post A "Good" Question'
    FAQ183-3179 - "Learn to Use Tek-Tips Features"
    Thread181-473997 - "How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions"

  5. If someone posts in the wrong forum, gently direct them to the correct forum and resist the temptation to give an answer. I have to work on this one myself.

  6. Make an effort to look in SQL Books Online and/or other documentation or articles. When we refer to SQL Books Online (BOL), we mean the electronic books that came with SQL Server. They can be loaded onto your hard drive as part of the SQL Server or client tools setup. They are also available online at http://www.microsoft.com/sql/techinfo/productdoc/2000/default.asp.

    See FAQ183-689 for more information on SQL BOL

    Don't be offended if members suggest reading the manual.

  7. Remember to read the FAQs submitted by forum members. They answer many questions. You can also do a keyword search of previous threads to see if someone already asked the same questions.

    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 - faq183-874 (FAQ183-874) or thread183-108148 (Thread183-108148). You don't need to post the shortcut.

    You can find excellent lists of resources in FAQ183-513, FAQ183-689, FAQ183-718, and FAQ183-694.

  8. Don't post long excerpts from other online sources. Post a link to the source and brief explanation instead.

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

    Examples of bad subjects headings:

    Does anybody know...
    Urgent help needed!
    Error message
    Basic question
    )&*#$^)#&^$ PROGRAM won't ...

    Examples of good subject headings:

    Copy DTS job to another computer
    Output of one SP usable by another?
    How to determine build version

  10. We want to answer questions. We do tire of answering the same simple question several times per month. We 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.

  11. Tek-Tips forum members give a lot of credit to those who post questions for whom English is a foreign language. So don't be embarrassed to try.

  12. Include the version and service pack of SQL Server you are using because the solution that works in one version may not work in another. If you are using a SQL Server client tool, ASP, VB, Access, ODBC, ADO, Delphi, Cold Fusion, etc., include information about the tool also.

  13. If you are asking a question related to a SQL statement, please post the SQL statement and include relevant table layouts, relational information and sample data.

  14. Provide sample result (or desired result) of your SQL statement.

  15. If you are asking a question about an error you are receiving, please report the exact error message. Telling us you are getting an error is unlikely to result in a useful response. "My SP errored!!! Please Help." will not get as quick or accurate reply as "When I run my SP from Query Analyzer it gets a syntax error on this line ... The error mesage is ..."

  16. 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 an answer posted in response to your question solved your problem, post a short reply and let everyone know which answer(s) 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.

    Marking a post as helpful/expert provides positive feedback and lets other members know the thread contains a helpful or expert answer. Members appreciate receiving recognition but only when deserved.

    FYI: You mark a post as Helpful/Expert by clicking on the link found at the bottom of each post.

      Mark this post as a helpful/expert post!

    If you solve a problem yourself and the solution hasn't been posted, please post the solution. That way, all questions will have the solutions. And all of us can learn from others' experience.

  17. 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 SQL 7. That feature was introduced in SQL 2000.

  18. Eric S. Raymond has written an excellent article titled "How To Ask Questions The Smart Way." You can read his article by clicking on the following link.


  19. 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.

    Usenet and other newsgroups often allow cross-posting of questions or comments by naming multiple forums or groups. While this is allowed, Netiquette indicates that execessive cross-posting is to be avoided.

    Tek-Tips doesn't provide the same cross-post functionality but people will often post in multiple forums. 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 the discussion was restricted to one thread, it would be easier to follow up, comment and get closure on a discussion.
This FAQ was originally created as a TIP by fluteplr in Thread183-68247. Several other forum members contributed to the TIP. I consolidated the suggestions and posted this FAQ as a reminder. I appreciate the feedback that has helped me improve the FAQ.

Terry Broadbent

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