How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions
How To Get Good Answers To Your Questions
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.
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.]
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 Wallace AlphaBet City Dataworks http://www.AlphaBetCityDataworks.com
See the Developers' section for some helpful fundamentals.