Proposed "sticky" : How to use this forum

I get a personal message every few days asking "how do I even post a question on the forum"? Plus we have the usual assortment of cross-postings, code not in code tags, etc. I propose a "tutorial" sticky along the following lines:


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How to use this forum

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That's awesome Nick, now we just need a way to enforce that newbies actually read it before posting. Like the scroll down & click acknowledge that software licenses make you check off.

CrossRoads: Like the scroll down & click acknowledge that software licenses make you check off.

And we know that everyone always reads those! :D (Sorry, could not help myself.)

Absolute bang-up, above-and-beyond job, Nick! I'm all for it. At least we could give the clueless a link to it.

BTW, I got one of those messages in the last day or so. Couldn't believe it, so I decided to just ignore it.

Looks well though out and if it can get people to read and understand before posting all the better. I tend to ignore meaningless subject headings and common questions that could be answered with a little searching unless I'm really not busy.

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.

This cuts both ways though as some people reply in a flippant manner that does not become an official support forum.

Well done Nick. I would add one more piece of advice.

If you do not understand the answer then google the words you do not understand. If you are still stuck then ask again explaining what you didn't understand about the answer. Try not to say you didn't understand any of it, be specific.

I LIKE this guide. ;) +1

Finish with a period (full-stop).

And only ONE!

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.

I’ve pointed out fundamental flaws in code before, and gotten back “Yeah, I’ll fix that later, after I figure out what is wrong with my code”. We need to convey that if problems are pointed out, they should be fixed. That may well fix the problem that the poster is having.

On the topic of code, I think that the sticky should emphasize the need to post ALL the code. Where the problem is may not be where the poster thinks the problem is. It quite often isn’t, and we waste a lot of time getting them to admit that the problem might originate elsewhere.

Adding suggested changes has made the post exceed the forum posting maximum. So now it is split into two parts. Consider this one following on from the earlier one.


Continuation moved to: How to use this forum

excellent in every particular if only we could get noobs (and some not-so-noob) to actuall read it! can we email it to them as part of the sign-up process?

If there are no objections, I'll take the two relevant posts (points 1 to 12, and 13 to 14), put them in the "Installation & Troubleshooting" section, lock them, and sticky them. I get the impression that this section people visit first, being at the top.

Those moderators who speak other languages than English may want to make a copy, translate as required, and post the translated copies into their own International sections.

Just a bit of word-smithing, and some rationale for discouraging cross-posting:

Don't cross-post!

We know you are anxious to get an answer to your problem, but reposting 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".

Amended as suggested, thanks.

On the issue of posting modified code, should it say something about posting the modified code in a new reply, rather than modifying an earlier post/reply? I find it irritating to have the original munged up code overwritten, so that you can't see what changes were made.

In the After you get a response section, should there be anything about not deleting the thread? I thought that posters could only delete their posts/replies, but apparently, and quite annoyingly, the topic starter can delete the whole topic.

And, still nothing about "ALL the code"... :)

PaulS:
And, still nothing about “ALL the code”… :slight_smile:

It says:

Post a complete sketch (program code)!

As suggested by someone, qualified to be “the minimal code that exhibits the problem”.

PaulS: On the issue of posting modified code, should it say something about posting the modified code in a new reply, rather than modifying an earlier post/reply? I find it irritating to have the original munged up code overwritten, so that you can't see what changes were made.

In the After you get a response section, should there be anything about not deleting the thread? I thought that posters could only delete their posts/replies, but apparently, and quite annoyingly, the topic starter can delete the whole topic.

Point 14 above modified to incorporate your suggestions, thanks.

Added extra line to ask for link to any user-downloaded libraries.

Nick, this is spot on with what is needed. I was about to write a similar post as this, but having just seen this with all the details, you have saved me a heap of time.

The only problem I see with a sticky is that it is not in your face, there are many people who have a problem want an answer fast and they bypass the reading of any sticky. Then it is us who then every time go through the same process of explaining to them some basic concepts, such as how about using CODE brackets or how about even showing us your code.

I was also thinking, how difficult would it be that when a person posts a new topic, he/she will need to go through some check list in an effort to try to make sure the post is posted in the relevant section and that the poster has supplied enough detail in their first post. It will take an extra moment or two, but it will probably tend to sort out the folks who are after a 'Plz help me or I will fail my exam' type'.

In the Home Automation and Network Objects section, I am seeing more posts that I believe should not belong there. Their questions are more aimed at basic fundamental electronics or other circuitry that would be better suited in other sections. The poster must wonder why they get very little response. I guess the same is happening in other section as well.

It appears to me more 'newbies' and or 'noobs' are on active the forum, the humble Arduino is more popular by the day, but that they are many total 'noobs' in forum use as well.

Yes Nick, your idea would be a real step in the right direction, I appreciate the effort you have put into writing your idea up.

Regards, Paul

P.S.

Nick wrote: 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:

Start with a capital letter. Spell words properly. Finish with a period (full-stop). (Just the one, thanks!)

Oh yes, I could not agree more and I feel irritated when I see such laziness. There seems to be a lot of folk who lack articulation in any form of language, extra nooby!

Yes, well we are being told off in another thread by someone who claims to be a moderator on another forum, but can't be bothered to capitalize sentences, use a capital "I" to refer to himself, and is generally rude and abusive.

I was also thinking, how difficult would it be that when a person posts a new topic, he/she will need to go through some check list in an effort to try to make sure the post is posted in the relevant section and that the poster has supplied enough detail in their first post.

I have proposed exactly that to the forum administrators. However as an interim measure at least we have this thread, and if it can be linked to at the head of starting a new thread, all the better.

You can then, at least, say: "see 'How to use this forum' (link) point 5" rather than having to type the whole thing again.

Main post moved to How to use this forum

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