Arduino Forum

Using Arduino => Installation & Troubleshooting => Topic started by: nickgammon on Feb 14, 2013, 03:05 am

Title: How to use this forum - please read.
Post by: nickgammon on Feb 14, 2013, 03:05 am
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1. Register and sign in

Create an account (if necessary), and login (sign in).

(http://www.gammon.com.au/images/Arduino/forum_howto/sign_in.png)




2. Choose an appropriate forum section

Browse through the forum sections (not all shown) and choose the most appropriate one (some suggestions highlighted):

(http://www.gammon.com.au/images/Arduino/forum_howto/choose_a_section.png)




3. Choose the correct language

The initial sections are for posting in English. If you want to post in other languages scroll down to find an appropriate one (some suggestions highlighted):

(http://www.gammon.com.au/images/Arduino/forum_howto/international_sections.png)




4. Do some research before posting

Try to solve your problem, or answer your question, yourself. For example, if you are wondering how to connect LEDs to a 74HC595 register, try Googling exactly that (add the word "Arduino" to narrow things down):

(http://www.gammon.com.au/images/Arduino/forum_howto/do_a_Google_search.png)

The above example gave lots of hits. Read some of them, perhaps your question has already been answered.

If you don't bother doing that, and if your question shows no indication you have tried to help yourself, you may find people doing it for you:

(http://www.gammon.com.au/images/Arduino/forum_howto/lmgtfy_example.png)

If that doesn't help, try browsing existing threads in the forum for a while. Maybe what you are asking is currently under discussion in another thread.

Tip: If you want to just search this forum, use the Google "site" specifier, for example:

Code: [Select]

motor power site:arduino.cc





5. Click on the New Topic button

Click the button shown: "New Topic"

(http://www.gammon.com.au/images/Arduino/forum_howto/new_topic.png)




6. Make a meaningful subject line

Try to summarize your problem with a helpful and informative subject line. Helpful subjects draw in people who might know the answer. Unhelpful ones are likely to be skipped.

Examples of unhelpful subject lines:



Example of a good subject line:

(http://www.gammon.com.au/images/Arduino/forum_howto/meaningful_subject_line.png)

In particular avoid subject lines in ALL CAPITALS. That annoys a lot of people, they feel as if you are shouting at them.




7. If you are posting code or error messages, use "code" tags

For code, error messages, program output, etc. select the code, and click the "Insert code" button, as shown

(http://www.gammon.com.au/images/Arduino/forum_howto/before_adding_code_tags.png)

This makes the code much more readable, and also stops things like the following turn the entire rest of your post into italics:

Code: [Select]
a = b [i];

After you have clicked the "Insert code" button you will see code tags around your code and messages, like this:

(http://www.gammon.com.au/images/Arduino/forum_howto/after_adding_code_tags.png)

(In that example I highlighted both the code - and clicked the "</>" button - and then the error message - and clicked the button again).

If you click the "Preview" button under your post you'll see what the code tags have done, and can check everything looks OK before posting:

(http://www.gammon.com.au/images/Arduino/forum_howto/preview_with_code_tags.png)




8. You can add attachments

If your code is too long to fit into a post, or you have multiple files (eg. code and libraries), or you want to show an image, click on the Additional Options button:

(http://www.gammon.com.au/images/Arduino/forum_howto/how_to_add_attachments.png)

Then you can browse your hard disk for the image, code, schematic, photo, that you want to attach.

(http://www.gammon.com.au/images/Arduino/forum_howto/attachment_details.png)

Please resize photos down to a reasonable size. A 4 megabyte photo takes a long time to download. As a courtesy to other forum users, images should be no more than a couple of hundred K bytes.




9. You can insert images

If you have an image hosted on your own (or a public) site, you can imbed the image directly inside the post, for example:

(http://www.gammon.com.au/images/Arduino/forum_howto/insert_an_image.png)

Paste your image URL between the "img" tags:

(http://www.gammon.com.au/images/Arduino/forum_howto/after_inserting_image.png)




10. Post in proper sentences

This is a forum you are using, not a mobile phone.

As a courtesy to the people you are hoping to have help you, type complete sentences. That is:



For example, instead of:

Quote
i need ur help with my code i dont no what i did wrong pls answer quick i am such a noob thx
This is much better:

Quote
Hi! Can you please help me with my code? I attach a copy below.

Code: [Select]
Code pasted here inside code tags.

I got these error messages:

Code: [Select]
Errors pasted here inside code tags.

Any help appreciated. Thanks.
Taking the time to make a proper, punctuated, post is a mark of courtesy and respect. It will improve your chance of a response.




11. Tips for getting the most out of your post


Title: How to use this forum - continued.
Post by: nickgammon on Feb 14, 2013, 03:06 am

12. Don't "message" technical questions to people

The messages part of the forum is for personal messages. Not technical questions.

(http://www.gammon.com.au/images/Arduino/forum_howto/personal_messages.png)

It is not appropriate to find someone who you think might be able to help, and try to get one-on-one personal assistance. If you do, I suggest you be prepared to pay for such personal help.

If you are really keen to get the attention of what appears to you to be an expert in your problem, post a forum question first (as described above).

Then wait a day or two. That person may be busy. If they haven't answered by then, and if no-one else has been able to help you, you could send a brief message politely asking for assistance, including the URL (link) of the forum thread.

If you don't post a link to the forum question, the person you are asking for help has to try to work out where it is, and the time and effort involved may slow down, or stop, their response.

Note that generally questions posted on the forum are answered within the hour, by someone or other. Asking a particular person to help may cause at least an 8-hour delay, if they happen to be asleep, at work, out fishing or whatever they are doing.




13. Forum etiquette

Once you have made your post, here are a few other guidelines:

Don't cross-post!

We know you are anxious to get an answer to your problem, but re-posting the same question to multiple parts of the forum causes duplicate effort, and divides the focus on your problem. You'll get a better answer if everyone can discuss it in one place. Cross-posting is very annoying; the moderators will delete your extra posts, and you will get a warning. Save all the hassle, and just post the question once. It will be noticed.

If you aren't sure what section to post in (Programming Questions, Electronics, etc.) make a guess. Don't cross post "just in case".

Don't bump!

Don't bump your thread after an hour. Because of the different time-zones the person who knows the answer may be asleep, or away for the day. Maybe after a couple of days.

If your question didn't get an answer, honestly review it to see if you posted enough information to help people answer you. Did you even ask a question?

People are trying to help

If someone asks for more details, they are probably trying to visualize what you are attempting to do. Don't fob them off with "that's irrelevant" sort of responses. The more detail about your project, the better the help you will get.

Keep your signature short

A signature should be preferably one line, and relevant. A signature that links to some unrelated-looking site (like football competitions) is likely to get you banned as a spammer. To keep bandwidth down, no images, thanks.

Be polite

A little courtesy and politeness goes a long way. Even if you think a question has been asked before, or you don't see the point of it, try to answer politely. Remember a lot of the posters with high post counts see the same questions every day, and they may get a bit terse if you appear not to have tried very hard to help yourself in the first place. You will find that if you respond in a friendly way, people will stick with you and you will almost certainly get your problem solved. Personal insults are not acceptable. Stick to the topic.





14. Once you have a response ...

You will probably quickly get some helpful suggestions. Read them carefully.

Title: Re: How to use this forum - please read.
Post by: nickgammon on Feb 14, 2013, 03:29 am

15. More tips ...

If you want to receive good answers to your questions in the Arduino forums - be sure to provide us with your complete source code, your schematic and/or hookup diagram (we much prefer a schematic if you have one), as well as clear pictures relating to your project (ie - with a schematic and a clear picture of your breadboard, we can easily spot bad connections, for instance).

Don't give us links to another website showing someone else's implementation (pictures, schematics or code) - we need to see your implementation. I cannot tell you how many times questions have gone round and round with people seeking help, only to find out that they had made a wiring mistake, which we could have spotted fairly quickly had they originally provided us with pictures, etc of their project.

Post your complete code (and use the code tags!); if your code is too large to put in a single post, then provide a link to a github or similar shared area. Sometimes we can diagnose an issue with just a snippet of code, but more often than not, the complete code will reveal to us problems that can't be found with just a snippet. If you can't post the complete code, schematics, or other parts of your project (due to any number of issues), then you may find that we won't be of much help.

Learn how to properly ask questions:

http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html (http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html)

Also - don't expect answers immediately - don't sit there waiting, "bumping" the thread every 15 minutes or so; more likely than not, that will just turn off people from helping you. Instead, use your waiting time to think about your problem, and other ways to potentially find the problems or fix it. In other words, be productive with your time waiting - you might just fix it before anyone else does! Be sure to update the thread if you try new things and get results that seem promising (or that fail as well). Most of the time you may have to wait a while, simply because people are trying to look at the problem, understand the issues, and figure out a solution. Some of them (depending on the problem of course) may be trying to replicate your project, to see if they can get the same failures to occur, and how to fix them.

When someone gives you advice, try it out. Don't just sit there and contradict them, or tell them "no that can't be it" - unless you have a really good reason why that would be (and provided you gave us a proper description and such about your project, and asked the questions properly - then you should have addressed those reasons anyhow from the beginning). Nothing is more frustrating than someone asking for help only for them to turn around being contrary after you have given them help.

Also - don't claim you are an engineer or some other high-falutin' title, and then go and ask questions that make us wonder what box of cracker jacks you got your degree from. We can see through that a mile away; we also don't like doing other people's homework for them, and we see those kinds of questions often as well at certain periodic moments (on this and other electronics forums we are on - we all have seen it, we know when the waves are about to start with people asking for homework help - we don't mind honest questions toward understanding, but we don't like being conned into doing someone's homework).

This section courtesy of forum user cr0sh.





16. The X-Y problem

We see a lot of X-Y problem questions on the forum. In brief, this is asking a question about how to do Y when you really want to do X.



Solution: State what you really want to do (eg. flash 3 LEDs at different rates) rather than how you think it might be achieved (eg. manipulate internal processor registers).

http://xyproblem.info/ (http://xyproblem.info/)





To quote this page in other threads:


Code: [Select]
[url=http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,148850.0.html]How to use this forum[/url]




Individual points:



(Right-click and choose "Copy Link Location" to make a copy of one of the links).