This was originally posted by JeffCT in the PHP Development forum. Edited by edwinbrains to make it appropriate to this forum.
Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when posting a question in the Windows Help forum.
SPYWARE & ADWARE PROBLEMS
There is a separate forum for spyware and adware related problems. You can find the forum here:
So please do NOT post problems related to spyware, adware, viruses and firewalls in this forum, but instead create a new thread in the Antivirus Protection forum. If I see any posts related to these topics in the Windows Help forum, I will move them.
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 - use the search box at the top of every page, or browse to http://forums.devshed.com/search.php
If you are unsuccessful with this search tool, you can also use Google to search the forums at Dev Shed. Add "site:forums.devshed.com" to your search term to search the forums from Google. Example search:
I cannot stress this enough. We cannot possibly help you if you simply post a thread about how you're having problems, unless you include sufficient details about the problem you're having.
Explain what problem you're having and include any errors that you're getting. Sometimes it may be appropriate to copy an error message, include a screenshot, or attach a log file to your post.
DON'T USE STUPID TOPIC NAMES
Post a descriptive thread name! Give a short summary of your problem in the subject. Don't use attention grabbing subjects - they're not fair to other users! Things like "PLEASE HELP!" or "URGENT" make your post unfairly look like they have a priority over other posts where people need help just as much as you. Please also avoid excessive use of the exclamation mark.
An example list of thread titles which should NOT be used (created by freebsd) is shown below:
1) Help me
3) You must know the answer
4) Please help this female newbie
5) Something wrong
6) Come on PHP gurus
7) This one for you
8) Just wondering
9) This is too complicated for me
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?!?!
The thread title should include a short description of the problem you're having, so that from the forum listing page it's easy to see what problem each person is having.
ONLY YOU KNOW WHAT "DOESN'T WORK" MEANS
Please tell us exactly what your problem is. Only you know what "doesn't work" actually means. Explain what's going wrong and how you'd like things to work.
IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE ADVICE, DON'T ASK FOR HELP
Often, people post questions about their problem with the wrong mindset from the very beginning. If someone replies to your thread, please acknowledge them as they are trying to help you. 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 favour to those of us who learn more by helping.
REMEMBER THAT WHEN PEOPLE HELP YOU, THEY ARE DOING YOU A FAVOUR
Regardless of how big your ego is, it is not someone else's privilege to help you with your problem. It is not their privilege to have them help you. It is yours. Remember that when people help you, they are doing you a favour. 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".
POLICY ON "BUMPING" THREADS
Believe it or not, but this is not a paid support forum. Everyone here is a volunteer just trying to help people out or find an answer to a question that's important to them at the time.
If you've read the rest of this thread and you've asked a smart question with a smart subject and with all of the details explained, then be patient and wait for an answer. It may take some time for the right person to find your thread and provide some help.
DO NOT post a reply to yourself in the thread asking for help again and effectively "bumping" the thread to the top of the forums so it's seen more. Your thread does not need to be at the top to be seen, it needs a descriptive subject so people will be interested in your problem and in helping you.
In the event that a couple of days pass and you still have no response, you have two options:
1) Realise that no one here right now can answer your question. Just sometimes there are questions that no one has any experience with and they will simply go unanswered. Accept it and try elsewhere.
2) Post a follow-up to your question providing more details as to your problem or perhaps restating the problem. Maybe your questions were just confusing or vague and that's why it didn't get answered.
DO NOT just post a reply such as "anyone out there?" or "can you help, please!!??" or your thread may just be deleted by the moderators.
Bottom line: If you NEED HELP NOW, then that's not what this forum is for. You will get expert help eventually here, as there are a ton of really smart people that help out around here, but you must be patient and earn their help by asking smart questions and using smart subjects.
Thanks for reading this,