I've been on Dream in Code a few months now, and I continually see unanswered threads go through, not because no one can help answer a specific question, but because the given question is vague, confusing, etc. So I've compiled a list of Dos and Don'ts here on Dream In Code. Most of this is common sense, but if I see it getting any worse, I'll have to write a how-to on common sense...
Don't send a private message to someone with a question. The forums are designed to help more than you. Post your question on the forum, get the answer, and then let someone else get the answer through a search two or three months down the line. Think of this forum as "programmer socialism."
Don't expect people to do your homework for you. For the most part, many of us have been through school, or (on my part) have been through the first CS classes, so we know what your assignments look like. If you don't learn these concepts now, I can guarantee you're going to be at the bottom rung of the development cycle, or tier-1 tech support for a long time because you're switching jobs so much (trust me, I've seen it).
Don't use the forums to find exploit code, “hacking” howtos, etc. This isn't some sort of underground computer hackers forum. As a security consultant, I find these questions almost insulting, as if you seriously think that all you need to do is run a .exe program, and it'll hack that web server and allow you to post “u R h4x0rd!” Don't ask if there's a way to steal a MySpace password unless you want a large explanation about XSS vectors, and MySpace's inability to sterilize user input properly (which you probably won't understand anyway).
Do be as detailed as possible in your question. The rule of wrist here is: Ask an x question, get an x answer. If you have a specific code question, post what you have so far. For example:
If you would add your code here, others on Dream In Code can see how you're calling it. Post the class as well as your code to call the class and the specific error. This way, we can analyze it. On initial look, I'd assume you're calling a method statically that isn't a static method. However, I can't give you any details or an explanation unless I can see your work first.
As well, if you ask:
No, I'm dead serious when I tell you I've seen not one, but TWO posts that are like this. How the heck am I supposed to know what your teacher said? I wasn't in your class! I can't even begin to start on what he might have said...
Do say thanks to whoever was helpful in your effort to get your code working. It's a small gesture that encourages helpfulness throughout the forum. Acknowledge when a suggestion helped, even if it wasn't the EXACT thing that fixed your code. Maybe someone pointed you in the right direction. Let them know!
Do feel free to ask questions regarding someone's answer. When I walk up to someone and ask a question, I don't just want to answer. I want the why. Feel free to ask why. If you don't, you might find yourself in the same problem later on. Help us build each other! You have a plethora of coders here at your disposal. Maybe the person who answered the question doesn't know why (I've written a lot of Qt code recently that I have no idea “why,” but I'd like to know at some point), but others may know.
1/18/2007 Edit: I thought of some more!
Do post the solution to the problem. If no one was able to help you, tell us all how you ended up figuring it out. I often will read a post, even though I have no idea how to fix it, and wonder what the solution is. I never get to see it though. Remember the "programmer's socialism" concept, and let us all know how Foo.bar() actually defaults x parameter to False, but that you needed to set that to true.
Do use the code tags, if nothing else. When code is posted that I can help with, I usually copy and paste it into my editor of choice. Code tags mean I don't have to worry about the page scrolling too far. I can stay inside the textbox, grab all the code, and get it going. I've often ignored posts because the code is so long and I don't feel like scrolling for 30 seconds to grab all the code you posted.
This post has been edited by rockstar_: 18 January 2007 - 04:39 PM