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By XavierP at 2004-09-14 12:36
To post a question, first click on the appropriate forum and then click the "New Thread" button.
Your Thread Title
This seems silly but it is actually pretty important. Many people will just skip over a thread if the title isn't informative.
Bad Title: Help Me, Please!!!!!! - putting 5 exclamation marks after your title doesn't make it any more compelling. It tells us nothing about the topic and decreases the likelihood of a member reading your thread.
Good Title: Installed GAIM, Won't Connect to MSN
Before posting, it is always a good idea to know exactly what your questions is. That sounds strange, I know, but too often we see short, one line questions which need lots of further questioning until we can see the problem. In fact, the best thing to do is to run a Search first - chances are, your question has been asked and answered over and over again already. Another great resource is the LQ Wiki - there are a large number of articles, many dealing with diagnostics.
As an example:
Bad Question: Help me, <program> just stopped working, what do I do????
That does not give us any of the information needed to help you. We need to know: your distribution (really this should be set in your User Profile so you only need to type it in once), the version of the program (if it's, for example, GAIM, the answer may simply be to upgrade to the latest version), how you were trying to run it, what happens if you run it from the console, what error messages you get, what searches you have run already (this is important, there's nothing worse than spending ages on a search for someone only to be told "I tried that")
Even worse, is to say that you are too busy to search. Why should your time be more valuable than anybody else's? We are not your personal technical support team, nor are we your personal research assistant, the spirit of Linux (one of the many spirits :)) is of helping yourself.
So a good question would be: I have been trying to get GAIM running and it will not connect to MSN. I am running version x.xx in Fedora Core 2. When I open it, there is no problem, but when I try to connect to MSN, it returns "error message". All other applications seem to connect with no problems.
I have tried a search on Google, but I really don't know what I need to search for. Can anyone help me to solve this? Please bear in mind that I am new to this and so would appreciate being told in plain English what I need to do or where I need to start
What was written above applies to all questions - we need information. Tell us your hardware, what happened before you tried it, what changes have you made. Tell us everything - you save a lot of frustration down the line.
It may be that after 10 posts, you still haven't found an answer. Instead of posting this, it would be a good idea to read back over the posts and see if you can work out why it is that no one can answer you. Does your question need restating? Is there a piece of information which, at the start, seemed not to need stating but now does? Have you tried any additional troubleshooting since posting?
What If No One Answers You?
Firstly, if after sitting for an hour hitting refresh on your browser no one answers, do not despair. LQ's membership is drawn up from a wide variety of people - from all around the world. 2pm your time is the middle of the night for someone else - and that person may have the answer.
My (and everyone's) advice is to wait for 24 hours - give us all a chance to see your post. If no one answers after at least 24 hours, reply to your own post giving us some more information: of course, you didn't sit there waiting, did you? No, you searched and tried some things - tell us what you tried, it may mean that a member seeing your post will know what you need to do.
What To Do When Your Question is Answered
Tell us. Tell us what worked for you. Someone coming along after you with an identical problem needs to know if the fixes work. And, just as importantly, the people who have spent their free time helping you would like to know that you have now solved the problem. Please don't just vanish or walk away without saying Thanks.
Even better, find a place in the LQ Wiki to describe what was done to get it working properly first time. Not only will you help others, but your solution will be saved for posterity.
And Remember - every member of LQ (and that includes Jeremy and the Moderators) is doing this on their own time and for no remuneration. No one is guaranteed an answer and no one can always expect one.
For a more detailed essay on asking questions, please read How to Ask Questions the Smart Way by Eric S Raymond and Rick Moen. And don't forget, two very invaluable resources are Google and the LQ Wiki - much of the help you need can be found there.