General Posting "Netiquette"

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Learn how to properly post your questions to the messageboard.

1) Search First! If you want to post to eggheadcafe.com choose your keywords carefully, then use our Search link at the top of the menu first to search and see if there isn't already an article or post about your issue or question. Our forums have been up since 2001 and there is a lot of searchable information there, much of which is well indexed by our custom Site Search facility. Chances are good that you may find an answer and not need to make a post at all!

2) Make sure your post is in the proper category. Don't put a question about SQL Server in the ASP.NET topic. Not only will it be harder for people to understand what you want, it may be less likely to even be replied to. If you aren't sure of a category, the "Ask Dr. Dotnetsky" category will do.

3) Don't cross-post to multiple topics with the same question. Pick the closest topic and make one single post. People will find it. New posts appear listed on the main page too. When you have multiple identical posts, people get confused and it becomes extremely difficult for people to follow a thread.

4) Be specific in your post. You are competing with other posters for readers' attention, and the person who words their question carefully and provides sufficient information to readers about their issue in their initial post is the one who is most likely to get a good response. If your post is about a programming issue, post "just enough" sample code for the person reading it to be able to understand or even to reproduce your issue. Jon Skeet has the canonical definition of "Short But Complete" code samples here: http://www.yoda.arachsys.com/csharp/complete.html

If your post is about an exception, post sufficient code to show where and how the exception is occurring including the exception Message and StackTrace. If you arent' familiar with how to use exceptions, try this article:

http://www.eggheadcafe.com/articles/20030127.asp

5) Search Google! We get a large number of posts from people who have obviously not even tried to search for an answer at google. We know this because when we put one or two of their relevant keywords into a Google search, we often come up with an answer in the very first page of results.

6) "RTFM". "F1 is your friend". If we got one dollar for every time we get a forum post where the answer is just a keystroke away in the Help / Documentation, we wouldn't have to go to work in the morning! And, don't forget the QUICKSTARTS! Quickstarts and samples install with either Visual Studio.NET or the .NET Framework SDK. They have a huge amount of helpful info and code samples about "How to do XYZ"!

7) Share! If you discover an answer to an issue, post the solution you found for others, not just "Nevermind, I fixed it". You can also submit a "Tips & Tricks" item or even an article for publication on eggheadcafe.com! Eggheadcafe.com has a program of monetary rewards for quality posters. You can get more information here: http://www.eggheadcafe.com/forums/merit.asp

We try to first grant merit to those posts that include an actual code sample of a solution in the post body, as opposed to an outside link to some other resource. However, we understand that sometimes a link to another site or MSDN is appropriate.

8) Get involved. Try to help others when you can by providing answers to other people's requests. Follow up with a brief note on the solution. If one of the answers helped you, we would all like to know which one it was, and what you did to finally solve your problem. This is what an online community is all about - sharing information . Sharing information is not just taking information from us, but also sharing your success and failure stories, and by helping others who might read your post in the future understand what was the outcome of the thread.

9) Put a descriptive SUBJECT on your post. "Need help with connection string" is good. "Please Help" is not. Oh, and by the way... Nobody around here gets particularly impressed with "Send me the solution right away", "please email the code to me", or "URGENT!". The more specific and descriptive your SUBJECT is, the better - since our forum posts are indexed by large search engines and more people will be able to find your post!

10) Please DO NOT send email to eggheadcafe.com expecting individual answers to questions. Post questions and comments to the forums. We cannot possibly answer individual emails in addition to running this site!

11) When replying to a thread, please do not do so by starting a new thread. Respond to the poster in the original thread so the readers can follow easily. Also, when you reply with an answer, be sure that you are replying to the correct message and not just tacking something "on to the end" - in which case the wrong person may receive the notification.

12) "Forum Spam" or the use of multiple login identities is- well, just don't do it.

Finally, even Microsoft has a formal KB article on this subject, written by Daniel Petri, an MVP from Israel. You can read it here, in four different languages!

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555375

Submission Date:  4/11/2006 7:06:29 PM
Submitted By:  Peter Bromberg
My Home Page:  http://www.eggheadcafe.com

My Biography
Pete is a consultant / architect and "UnEducator" using .NET. His samples at GotDotNet have been downloaded over 42,000 times. He enjoys jazz / classical music, digital photo artistry using Maya, fine wines and the beach. Pete is the co-founder / co-developer of eggheadcafe.com, and a Microsoft C# MVP and MCP. Read Peter's UnBlog at http://petesbloggerama.blogspot.com.