We all have had a computer problem or question suddenly rear its ugly head and then run to post in a forum for help from other members. A few guidelines to remember before posting will make getting help easier and faster.
1. Using a topic title that explains the problem you are having, rather than “HELP!!!!” will guide those with expertise in that area (or later, other members having a similar problem) to find your post. Members who want to help generally browse the posts in their spare time by topic titles, and are more likely to respond to a specific topic rather than waste time discovering what you are writing about or looking for a new post in an existing thread.
2. Explain your question or problem with as many details as necessary, and always mention the version of Windows and the application you are using. If there are error messages, write them EXACTLY as they appear. Try to include what you were doing when the problem occurred, and whether you made any system changes or new installations before the problem happened. Remember that, in some instances, someone trying to help you might want to replicate your problem on his own computer, or to open the application you are having problems with. Again, the problem you are having may turn out to be a symptom of something different; a complete description of the problem will often help identify those cases.
3. Include any steps you have taken already. This saves the time involved in asking you to take actions you have already done, or to suggest steps you may already have tried.
4. When you post, it makes sense to follow the rule: one problem, one post. The more problems you include in one post, the more likely the chance one or more of them will get lost or unanswered, especially if the problems require different areas of knowledge. Letting different kinds of problems be answered by members with different areas of expertise will be quicker and probably result in better responses.
5. Double check the information you are supplying. For example, the omission of one letter, or a typo, in talking about an .exe file or a program name can make a major difference resulting in time-wasting confusion or incorrect help.
6. Lastly, before hitting that POST button, take the time to read what you are posting from the point of view of someone trying to help and ask yourself, “is this as clear as I can make it?” When your problem is resolved, remember to add a final reply letting everyone know what worked; this effectively closes the thread as well as validates the solution offered.
Edited by scarlett, 11 May 2005 - 02:44 PM.