How to get better help on DIC

Follow these steps to get the best help possible

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11 Replies - 20215 Views - Last Post: 19 April 2010 - 09:30 AM

#4 akozlik  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get better help on DIC

Posted 09 September 2008 - 02:10 PM

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Looking on the forums, I see a lot of stumbling around trying different things before a solution to a problem is found. Often times, the solution solves a problem that is completely different than the one originally being described. This post contains some tips to get better help from the members of DIC.

Clearly Describe the Problem

This is easily the most important tip that I can give. Too often I've seen posts that don't clearly describe the problem, and it takes a while to nail it down. Before you post your problem, take a moment to collect your thoughts. What have you done to try solving the problem? What have you found while researching the problem? Where does the error occur?

It is extremely important to be absolutely clear about the problem you're facing. Let us know precisely what errors you're receiving, and what lines. Don't be afraid to copy and paste your error messages. Which problem description is better?

Quote

"I'm getting an error"


Quote

I am getting the following error:
"Cannot send headers in foo.php at line 15. Headers already sent by foo.php at line 7".


Obviously the second problem description is going to get more responses.

Don't Post Like an IM

Which of the following would you rather read?

Quote

i need hlp slving my problem!1! cn sum1 pls hlp!


Quote

I am having a problem with a script I am writing, and I wanted to see if anyone could help me.


Posting on the discussion board is completely different from IMing your buddies. You're here with a specific problem, and there's no point in making it harder to understand the problem with your leet speak. Use the best language and sentence structure you can.

Use [code] [/code] tags

This is at the top of every forum posting, yet we still see people not using the tags. Use them! It makes your code much more readable, and will be more likely to elicit a response. In case you haven't noticed the pattern here, it's extremely important to make your posts readable by someone helping you. These people are taking their time to give you free guidance and assistance, so you should make their job as easy as possible!

Post as Many Details as Possible

Post everything you can to allow us to help you. Use details when describing everything. Post your code! Include your database schemas! Everything you can give us that's related to your problem is great. The more information we have, the more likely we'll be able to come to a solution.

Deliver Thanks!

DIC has a system you can use to thank a poster for a response. Use those little green thumbs up "This post was helpful" links. People like to know that their time is appreciated, and that's one of the best ways you can thank them. The more a person feels they're appreciated, the more likely they'll stick around and continue to answer questions.

Be Patient

The last piece of advice I have is actually an important one. You need to be patient when posting your problems. Posting a problem, and then coming back several hours later and posting "Anyone!?" is not going to get you help. If anything, it will push people away from wanting to help you. It's important that you give everyone time to read your answer and give you a correct response. It's better to get one good response than 20 rushed ones.

There are many other ways to get people to help you with your post, but those should be enough to get you started. I'm sure there are other ideas out there as well, so if you have something I haven't posted, put it up!
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#5 Moonbat  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get better help on DIC

Posted 09 September 2008 - 02:28 PM

Very nice akozlik :D

I'd like to add a tip of my own, and that is use paragraphs. I've seen some posts that are just one HUGE block of text. Splitting text into a few paragraphs makes for much easier reading, and it makes it more likely that your question will be answered.
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#6 akozlik  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get better help on DIC

Posted 09 September 2008 - 02:30 PM

Yeah definitely use paragraphs. When writing for somebody reading on the internet, you should write for skimmability. Basically when you're writing, separate all your ideas so they can quickly be seen.
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#7 CTphpnwb  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get better help on DIC

Posted 09 September 2008 - 08:18 PM

Good suggestions! Here's one for giving help: Understand that if the person asking for help could clearly describe the problem, they would likely be able to solve it too! After all, the most important step in coming up with a solution is understanding the problem.

Also remember that when a newbie asks for help with something that you think is simple, it's easy to answer with something that is technically correct, but not helpful. Remember that if they couldn't properly describe the problem to begin with, your solution to it may not make a whole lot of sense to them if you don't provide any explanation.
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#8 akozlik  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get better help on DIC

Posted 10 September 2008 - 07:57 AM

That's a great point. When answering question we should always give the most clear and easy to follow instructions available.

Don't say

Quote

Check your php.ini file


Say

Quote

Look in your php.ini for a line that says

;extension=php_pdo_oci8.dll

and delete the semicolon


It may help to also offer an explanation of what that does and why it works, so the person can understand it much better. It's one thing to know that something works. It's another to know why it works. Taking the time to clearly explain a solution may save others a lot of time in the future on a similar problem.
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#9 jjsaw5  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get better help on DIC

Posted 10 September 2008 - 08:19 AM

Very nicely done!! :^: :^:
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#10 RawrItsAdam  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get better help on DIC

Posted 10 November 2008 - 01:19 PM

Very good idea, this way it helps out the person in need and the person helping out. Nice one!
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#11 akozlik  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get better help on DIC

Posted 10 November 2008 - 01:25 PM

View PostRawrItsAdam, on 10 Nov, 2008 - 03:19 PM, said:

Very good idea, this way it helps out the person in need and the person helping out. Nice one!


Now we just need to find a way to get people to actually read it. You wouldn't believe how many posts are put up that are written by people who don't read this guide.
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#12 RawrItsAdam  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get better help on DIC

Posted 10 November 2008 - 01:39 PM

View Postakozlik, on 10 Nov, 2008 - 07:25 PM, said:

Now we just need to find a way to get people to actually read it. You wouldn't believe how many posts are put up that are written by people who don't read this guide.


Well I shall post it into my Sig and then that way it will be seen everytime I post. :)
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#13 _Umar  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get better help on DIC

Posted 08 January 2009 - 01:22 PM

Cool man this is great, Good thing you recommended it to me. Thanks..great work man...
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#14 homemade-jam  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get better help on DIC

Posted 08 January 2009 - 01:25 PM

Always remember the thanks!

Nice guide
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#15 nathanpc  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to get better help on DIC

Posted 19 April 2010 - 09:30 AM

Also, remember that when you want to say the username of someone, please put the member tag([ member=<insert username>]).

Example: nathanpc
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