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  1. PHP & Java Error Master
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    Exclamation [ALL USERS] - How to post a question


    I've adapted the PHP forum's guide for posting a new question for the java forum:

    Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when posting a question on these forums.

    USE SEARCH FIRST

    There is a pretty good chance that unless you have some
    really odd or unique problem that it has been addressed on this
    forum before (or even hundreds of times before for some issues).

    Use the forum's search feature first to see if there are already some good threads on the subject. It's easy to search - just click the "Search" button at the top right of the page.

    BE DESCRIPTIVE

    I cannot stress this enough. We cannot possibly help you if you simply post a thread, copy and paste your whole script and say "it has errors what's wrong with it?". Keep this in mind:

    1. Explain to us what your script does (or what it's supposed to do).

    2. Explain to us what exactly the error is. Is it a Java error/exception? Your own error reporting? Database error? Or is it just not doing what you want?

    3. Remember that you know a lot more about your script than we do. Don't assume we know just what it does.

    DON'T USE STUPID TOPIC NAMES

    Post a descriptive topic name! Give a short summary of your problem in the subject.
    Don't use attention getting subjects, they're not fair to other users! Things like "PLEASE HELP!" or "URGENT" make your post unfairly look like a priority over other users post who need help just as much as you. Posting non-descriptive leading in topic names just to get more reads will not be tolerated.

    Here's a great list of topic subjects YOU SHOULD NOT POST by freebsd:

    1) Help me
    2) Hello
    3) You must know the answer
    4) Please help this female newbie
    5) Something wrong
    6) Come on Java gurus
    7) This one for you
    8) Just wondering
    9) This is too complicated for me
    10) possible?
    11) Very urgent
    12) I have a question
    13) Stupid question
    14) Newbie needs help
    15) pulling my hair out
    16) this is driving me nuts
    17) WHAT THE?!?!

    Generally anything similar to those is unacceptable. Just post your problem.

    Here is a good example of a way to post a question about ereg() and regular expressions / validating emails

    "Need ereg regular expression help"

    or even better:

    "validating emails w/ ereg() regular expressions"

    These are bad examples:

    "I can't figure this out!"
    "Stupid question..."
    "Female newbie needs regex help"
    "Help me! Urgent!"

    ONLY POST THE PART OF YOUR SCRIPT THAT HAS PROBLEMS

    Please do not post your entire script in a message. To get help faster, post only the code most related to the problem you are experiencing - really try to single it out. If you have to use 2 or more posts just to fit your code in, that is probably a good clue that you are posting way too much of it and it's not going to be easy for anyone to help you pinpoint the problem, especially not having run the script themselves.

    PUT YOUR CODE IN THE VB CODE TAG

    Very often we see people post a huge ugly script right into the message. There's a problem with that - tabs and spacing don't show up properly. That makes it difficult to read!

    There's a really neat vB code built in that will format your code when you post it. You can use that easy Code button right above the box where you type your message (it looks like a # sign). The result will look like this:
    Code:
    // This is some easy to read Java code
    public class myCode
    {
         if(your_code_is_easily_read)
         {
              people_will_like_it();
         }
    }
    IF YOU GET AN ERROR ON A CERTAIN LINE, TELL US WHAT'S ON THAT LINE AND THE LINES ABOVE AND BELOW IT

    It's not too helpful when you mention an error on a certain line but don't tell us what code is on that line. Because errors can sometimes be caused by lines of code above or below the one the error is mentioned on, please post those lines as well.
    Example:
    Code:
    // There's an error on line 4
    public class myCode
    {
         if(your_code_is_easily_read)
    // LINE 4 BELOW //
         {
              people_will_like_it();
         }
    }
    ONLY YOU KNOW WHAT "DOESN'T WORK" MEANS

    Please tell us what your script is supposed to do and why it "doesn't work". Or if you don't feel like explaining what the whole script is, at least tell us what the offending code is supposed to do. When you come in and say "it doesn't work" or just "it has errors", that means nothing. There could be a million things wrong and no one will know where to look.

    IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE ADVICE, DON'T ASK FOR HELP

    Often times, people post questions about their script with the wrong mindset from the very beginning. Soon they are receiving replies, and silently debugging their code, making no effort to even acknowledge the people helping them! It becomes one sided, and the poster isn't aware that many of the people helping them hope to learn something as well! Letting people know of your progress and how their suggestions apply (or do not apply) will not only help you figure out your problem quicker, but you'll be returning the favor to those of us who learn more by helping.

    In even worse scenarios, sometimes the poster will argue back even when they don't know what they're talking about. Hey - if you know it all, don't ask for help.

    When people give you free code that may solve your problem, by all means, try it out! And if it's not what you need, at least thank them.

    And if people post code that is over your head, ask them for an explanation. Too many times I see great solutions posted, then the original poster doesn't understand it and goes hunting around the PHP manual and finds some function they think will solve their problem but really has Nothing to do with their problem! The solution you are given may not always be something you are totally familiar with, so just ask for a better explanation!

    REMEMBER THAT WHEN PEOPLE HELP YOU, THEY ARE DOING YOU A FAVOR

    Regardless of how big your ego is, it is not someone else's privilege to debug your code. It is not their privilege to have them help you, it is yours. Remember that when people help you they are doing you a favor. You are not doing them a favor by letting them see your incredible application. Be patient, help people out by posting good descriptions of what you need help with, and not snapping at people with garbage such as "if you aren't going to help don't waste my time replying".

    Comments on this post

    • Oli1152 agrees : Awsom i wish people would read it and actually do what it says
    • alam agrees : really Cool.
    • vaza santosh agrees
    Last edited by Nemi; May 11th, 2004 at 02:07 PM.
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    Clueless llama
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    Nice job Steven. You get a sticky for your effort.



    Some other excellent references on "how to ask a question the smart way". If you are serious about getting help, read these.
    http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

    http://www.physci.org/codes/sscce.jsp
    Last edited by Nemi; January 3rd, 2005 at 11:27 AM.
    ~Nemi

    Before posting did you try:
    [ Javadocs | Google ]
  4. #3
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    Please Use Real Words


    Write in clear, grammatical, correctly-spelled language

    We've found by experience that people who are careless and sloppy writers are usually also careless and sloppy at thinking and coding (often enough to bet on, anyway). Answering questions for careless and sloppy thinkers is not rewarding; we'd rather spend our time elsewhere.

    So expressing your question clearly and well is important. If you can't be bothered to do that, we can't be bothered to pay attention. Spend the extra effort to polish your language. It doesn't have to be stiff or formal -- in fact, hacker culture values informal, slangy and humorous language used with precision. But it has to be precise; there has to be some indication that you're thinking and paying attention.

    Spell, punctuate, and capitalize correctly. Don't confuse "its" with "it's", "loose" with "lose", or "discrete" with "discreet". Don't TYPE IN ALL CAPS; this is read as shouting and considered rude. (All-smalls is only slightly less annoying, as it's difficult to read. Alan Cox can get away with it, but you can't.)

    More generally, if you write like a semi-literate boob you will very likely be ignored. Writing like a l33t script kiddie hax0r is the absolute kiss of death and guarantees you will receive nothing but stony silence (or, at best, a heaping helping of scorn and sarcasm) in return.

    If you are asking questions in a forum that does not use your native language, you will get a limited amount of slack for spelling and grammar errors -- but no extra slack at all for laziness (and yes, we can usually spot that difference). Also, unless you know what your respondent's languages are, write in English. Busy hackers tend to simply flush questions in languages they don't understand, and English is the working language of the Internet. By writing in English you minimize your chances that your question will be discarded unread.

    ~
    Yawmark
    class Sig{public static void main(String...args){\u0066or(int
    \u0020$:"v\"ʲ\"vΤ\"".to\u0043h\u0061rArray()
    )System./*goto/*$/%\u0126//^\u002A\u002Fout.print((char)(($>>
    +(~'"'&'#'))+('<'>>('\\'/'.')/\u002Array.const(~1)\*\u002F)));}}
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    In a hurry?


    Don't claim your question is urgent, even if it is for you.

    First, it tells respondents that you think your time is more important than any of the other people posting questions here; that you should jump to the front of the line, so to speak, and that they should prefer answering your question before other, less "urgent" question. That's inconsiderate of other posters, who would likely prefer their questions to be answered just as quickly as you.

    Second, it tells respondents that you're passing off your stress to strangers on the forum. Most forum volunteers answer questions here because they like to, because it is interesting and fun. When you push off your urgency to others, it sucks the fun right out of the thread. That's inconsiderate of the people who are most likely to give you good information.

    Third, it tells respondents that you just want to be served an answer, as quickly as possible, with as little thought as possible. Quick responses are typically not considered as carefully as more measured responses, which degrades the overall quality of the material at the forum. Not to mention the fact that potential respondents have no way of knowing what your deadline is, so it's quite possible they have already failed to meet your window of opportunity and would therefore just be wasting their time considering your question.

    To put it bluntly, potential respondents don't really care how rushed you are. Broadcasting that information will *not* get your question answered any faster. Conversely, it has a better chance of ensuring that people *don't* answer your question, which is directly at odds with your intention. Therefore, it's best to just keep that sort of information to yourself and stick to the real problem.

    I hope I've sufficiently explained why it's a bad idea to broadcast demands for urgency. You will typically get much better help if you don't.

    ~
    Yawmark
    class Sig{public static void main(String...args){\u0066or(int
    \u0020$:"v\"ʲ\"vΤ\"".to\u0043h\u0061rArray()
    )System./*goto/*$/%\u0126//^\u002A\u002Fout.print((char)(($>>
    +(~'"'&'#'))+('<'>>('\\'/'.')/\u002Array.const(~1)\*\u002F)));}}
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    I don't know how to start!


    Do your homework (and that's not meant in a mean way)!

    If you have no idea how to even approach some task, the very first step is to ensure you fully understand the problem. Review the detailed requirements and make sure it all makes sense. If once you fully understand the problem you still have no idea how to begin, then the problem is too challenging for you and you will need to devote the necessary time and effort with less difficult problems until you gain the knowledge and confidence required to resolve the problem.

    This forum is excellent at providing specific help on specific problems as well as more general esoteric design discussion. What it isn't good for is step-by-step tutorials and personalized pedagogy. There are other, more effective mechanisms for such needs.

    ~

    Comments on this post

    • gimp agrees
    Yawmark
    class Sig{public static void main(String...args){\u0066or(int
    \u0020$:"v\"ʲ\"vΤ\"".to\u0043h\u0061rArray()
    )System./*goto/*$/%\u0126//^\u002A\u002Fout.print((char)(($>>
    +(~'"'&'#'))+('<'>>('\\'/'.')/\u002Array.const(~1)\*\u002F)));}}

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