How To Post Questions - And How To Get Them Answered!

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by David_AVD, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. David_AVD

    David_AVD Good news, everyone!

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    There's been some talk in chat and elsewhere about the formatting of some posts. I thought I'd post what I think are some good ways to improve them and help those people get more / better answers. There's lots of people here that are willing to help answer questions, but if it's a chore they tend to not bother. If a post is just too hard to read or digest, a lot of people (including me) will simply press the back button and go to another thread.

    OK, let's get down to it:

    First, choose a sensible thread title. Titles such as "Help Required" are awfully vague and impossible to search on or see in a scan through the forum sections. Using key words about your question in the title is the way to go. For example if your question was about a LOR board with stuck output, "LOR CTB16PC Outputs Stuck On" is much better than "Problem With Board" !

    Break your post up into smaller, more readable paragraphs. Add blank lines between those sections. It will make them a lot easier to read, as will using punctuation and double spaces between sentences. I'm a bit of a spelling Nazi, but that's not really a huge issue compared to the run together blocks of text sometimes seen.

    Don't ask lots of questions in the same post, unless they are related or dependent on each other. Better to start with the most important (as perceived by you) one first then work on the finer points in subsequent posts.

    Finally, use the preview button and take a look at what you just wrote. Remember, the other readers aren't in your mind so you may have to reword some of it to make the intent clear. I sometimes preview my posts several times (after changes) to give it the best chance of being read and responded to.

    Anyway, that's my $0.02 for now. More to come in another post. :)

    Edited to fix spelling error in title! LOL
     
  2. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    Re: How To Post Questions - And How To Get Them Aswered!

    I agree so much that this is now a sticky thread
     
  3. OP
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    David_AVD

    David_AVD Good news, everyone!

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    OK, some more meanderings:

    When describing an issue you're having with a particular setup, please ensure that the actual setup is the same as the one you're describing! There's been many a post where the person has asked why something doesn't work. After many posts back and forth, it turns out the differences between what they described and what they actually had in front of them were significant enough to cause a lot of wasted effort on both sides.

    Pictures - we love them! A clear picture (or accurate diagram) of how you've connected something together can help enormously. Sometimes it will highlight a silly error made (we all make them) and get you a solution right away. If the overall picture contains a lot of detail spread over a large area, maybe separate close-up pictures of some parts is a good idea. Just make sure the close-ups are in fact taken from the same setup as the main picture. If the pictures are particularly large, hosting them outside of ACL is better as scrolling around in post's window can be a real problem.

    Next, don't assume the readers know the exact items you're asking about. For example, if you start talking about some "RGB strips from Ray Wu", take the time to spell out if they are dumb, intelligent (and what IC type), the voltage, etc. This will reduce the number of replies where someone assumes that you meant one type when you really were talking about something quite different. If appropriate, provide web links to the item(s) in question.
     
  4. OP
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    David_AVD

    David_AVD Good news, everyone!

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    Sometimes you'll be asked in a reply to check a certain thing (connection, setting, etc). Don't just say that it's not the problem if you haven't really checked. Yes, people replying may suggest something that seems (to you) totally unrelated to the problem at hand. You'd really kick yourself later if you dismissed their suggestion without at least thinking about it. It could just be that you don't realise that the thing they're talking about is related. In this hobby everyone is constantly learning and it would be silly to think we know it all.

    Once your problem is resolved, please do a follow-up post on what the issue was. This will help other people facing the same (or similar) situation in the future. If it was a silly mistake by yourself (it happens to all of us), own up and admit it instead of going quiet and leaving the thread unresolved. Questions asked are good. Issues solved in public are even better!

    Text formatting - I've noticed a few posts with <size> and other weird gibberish in them lately. I suspect it's a result of people copying and pasting from either another forum or MS Word, etc. If you don't preview your post, at least look over it after posting. You can click the Modify button in your own posts to trim out those odd bits left over from the pasting or gross errors, mashed sentences, etc. It can make a world of difference to how your posts are perceived by others.
     

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