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Still No Answer?

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Most forums are manned by volunteers. If only a couple of days have passed without a response this doesn't mean that your question won't be answered, or responded to. Many volunteers visit infrequently, but many will also look through the forum(s) for specific language(s) and look, specifically, at unanswered questions. (The Home page usually contains a list or link to all unanswered questions, and this is also a popular way for people to discover your question.)

What I am trying to stress is that, even though your question is no longer on the first page of questions, it doesn't mean that it won't be encountered.

So how long to wait until you can consider your question as unanswered? It depends. For a popular forum like Java I suppose two days (48 hours+) might be appropriate. This is a personal, rough, estimate and many will disagree, demanding three or more days. For a less frequented forum you should wait longer.

Why No Answer?

By far the most common reason is that your question is poorly asked and unclear. It needs:

  • A useful, relevant, title - not "Help Me!"
  • A clear description of the problem
  • Posting some relevant code, between code tags
  • A description of what you have attempted to solve the problem

Of course, if your question is very poor then it is likely to have been closed. In which case, you will have been notified and provided with a description as to why it has been closed, and what you need to do to prevent this.

Even if your question wasn't bad enough to be closed, you must still consider the likelihood that it is poorly described and unclear.

A related issue is that you haven't provided enough information. The first reply to most questions is a request for more, and specific, information. However, if there is just too much information missing then many people won't bother asking for more: it's too much effort.

You may be asking about a framework, feature or plug-in that people haven't encountered. This doesn't mean that you won't receive a useful response; see the next section.

Of course, there remains the possibility that your question just didn't attract the interest of someone who might be able to assist. This does happen, but rarely. It is far more likely that your question isn't clear enough.

What To Do?

If you have editing rights then.. improve your question. As mentioned above, your question will still be encountered, so there is no need to "bump" it. Of course, the sooner you recognise that your question is poor, and improve it, the better.

If you don't have editing rights, or if you are just adding additional (useful and relevant) information, then add a new post to your question. Don't "bump" it, creating the new post is sufficient to move it forward.

Do not just add a new post with the word "bump". Surely you can think of some useful information to add to your question? Even adding a small, but useful, detail will move it forward without the need to "bump".

If sufficient time has passed (a week?) and you think that you can offer a significantly improved version of the question then, I suppose, you might consider starting over. Be aware though, that duplicate questions are actively discouraged.

If you are asking about an obscure framework, feature or plug-in then, as already mentioned, this doesn't mean that you won't receive a useful response. In this case you should:

  • Provide a link to the feature's official site
  • Copy a paragraph or two from the site that describes the feature
  • If appropriate, copy a piece of sample code from the site plus, of course, your attempted version of this code

The point is, people will be more willing to investigate the feature (or framework, etc.) on your behalf if you make it easy for them.

Your main resource for an obscure framework/feature should be their official site: its documentation, examples, FAQ and possibly their forum. I am not saying that you cannot post your question, but you'll need to anticipate a longer wait for a response.

Unfortunately, it does occasionally happen (but not often) that some questions don't receive any response. If you are certain that your question was clearly asked then, sadly, you might try another forum. After all, you cannot force volunteers to respond!

1 Comments On This Entry

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14 December 2014 - 03:23 PM
Yes, yes and yes
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