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Thread: How to ask questions in a forum!! Newbees and exp. people pay attention!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2002

    How to ask questions in a forum!!

    Newbie’s and exp. but lazy people pay attention!

    Considering all the laconic answers and grunts that the newbie’s and lazy people had to face from the seasoned dbasupport.com members. I thought all the newbie’s and others alike must take a good look at this…

    Because I'm sure you'll be redirected to it should you get lazy or clumsy.

    Some Important issues for you all....


    90% chance is that the problem that you need to have solved is already solved somewhere on this forum or on the net. Do search this forum first and then recommended is to search www.google.com. Pretty good chances are that you'll find your answers. Don’t start posts where you discuss…

    1. Codd’s model.
    2. RDBMS
    3. Dataware Housing
    4. Databases comparison’s
    5. Ay other hugely broad topic’s which are endless and are already being discussed/or fought over by software vendor’s/pundits!

    Like I said, Just search the … Web.


    This can't be stressed any more than it already gets when you have a senior member grunting or giving you one liners which apparently seem sarcastic to you. And all you do is cut and paste and yell "Help me".


    1. Tell us what your script does and what it should have done.

    2. Post the error message and not just that "I get an error!"

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


    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. And besides our so called “URGENT” posts will soon be ignored.

    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 newbie
    5) Something wrong
    6) Come on Oracle 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.

    These are bad examples:

    "I can't figure this out!"
    "Stupid question..."
    "Help me! Urgent!"


    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.
    That meaning that you did try to look at the problem yourself and not just threw it into the forum.


    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. Very often you se that the error in a simple pl/sql code happens to be in the declarative section and you keep pondering over the pls error which gives you the lines which threw the exception or were thrown in the “show err” etc.


    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 troublesome 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!


    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.

    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 somewhere else. So just ask again and this time for explanation.

    Just like the question I saw in a developer forum a few days back a guy asking how to display os files using pl/sql code on the NT. I checked some sources/ adapted it/ modified it/ worked it out on my machine but gave him only the steps of how it could be done but not the copy paste , well he didn’t even bother to ask back , so the bottom line is look first. “HOW TO’S” are not hard to find, like I said in the beginning 90% of the “HOW TO’S” will probably be already solved somewhere, “THE WHY’S” are the one that will need a…
    1. Nice clear topic/header
    2. A concise but yet descriptive explanation with piece’s of your suspicious code. Tip* Use the
    ....your code....
    , this way your code is better readable .
    3. Your efforts to solve it.


    Regardless of how big your ego is, somebody else is taking his time out to help you, he/she is in no way obliged to do that. Remember that when people help you they are doing you a favor. You are not doing them a favor by letting them see your great long cool descriptive code/ cool application.(For all you know you’ll get a nice lecture from someone like Chris point by point, all what you did wrong!). Be patient, help people out by posting good descriptions of what you need help with, and not snapping at people with garbage like "if you aren't going to help don't waste my time replying”.

    Edited the text which I found on a furum
    Also take a few minutes of your time and read this as well...



    Last edited by Tarry; 05-16-2003 at 02:57 AM.
    Tarry Singh
    I'm a JOLE(JavaOracleLinuxEnthusiast)
    --- Everything was meant to be---

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Baltimore, MD USA
    I just wanted to re-emphasize the point about providing feedback. My last 'sabbatical' I took from this forum was after I had worked out an incredibly complicated (in my opinion, at least) problem for someone. This took a lot of time and effort on my part and I was quite proud of what I came up with. The person showed their appreciation by....

    ...well, by doing nothing, actually. That left a very bad taste in my mouth and I decided to take a break from the board - for several months.

    I don't expect anyone to send me roses or anything, just a simple 'that worked' would be fantastic.

    That's the give-and-take dynamic of a board like this.

    If you post a question, you do it because you need help. If we provide this free help, it is generally not out of the goodness of our hearts. We want something back. That something can be simple relief of boredom, or the fear and respect of all our peers (a guy can dream, right?) But mostly, it's to exercise our brains and learn. That learning process is kinda difficult without any feedback.

    The process should be:

    - You ask
    - Someone answers
    - You tell them if it worked or not.
    - And a 'thank you' wouldn't kill you, either.

    - Chris
    Christopher R. Long
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    New Delhi, INDIA
    I agree with Chris and i know how it feels. I my self have done this kinda things, things like creating a new database just to test someones problem, testing big exp/imp to simulte the situation, once i even formatted my PC disk just to make room for three databases and do a test, sitting up late at night, sometimes after work hour or at home, just to see if i can figure out some thing to help the chaps out there.

    But after answering i don't even know if the guy for whom i sat till 2 in the morning saw the answer or not cause there is no response...... This doesn't mean all are alike, there are people out there who do give a sincere thanks.

    When i ask a question, i make sure to say thanks to each and every one who answered (and makes sense).

    So guys out there, a simple TH or "it worked" is goog enough for all of us out here who is taking out time to answer your questions.
    "There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path."

    Amar's Blog  Get Firefox!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Ok, I certainly agree with all of what is said here, and getting a little thank you on occasion is not asking a whole lot. BUT…this is no excuse for some of the downright nasty comments I have seen from some “moderators”. Some actually seem to post more venom than help the community. I can’t understand that, why would you want to chase away new people from this website. Let’s face it, if no one visits dbasupport.com there will be no dbasupport.com, no?

    I remember when this place was cool.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    I Agree with you there. I can speak of myself, so all I do is try to help on the provided issue with the same limited output as the input.

    That would drive him/her away as well, right? DBA support is by far a very mature forum. I think it'll die sooner if the senior members leave before the incoming newbie's. I don't see Tim, Julian, Tamil, among others..anymore. Why? They've gone because all the questions are either incredibly basic , illegible and I mean you don't know what to make of it.

    That makes me thinking where we should start something like a "Question a day" kind of a knowledge forum. Where you play with functions, procs, triggers,or just about anything. You can make a nice quiz or something like that with authorware or other programs... That way you bring the meat back into the forum.

    I think the whole idea is to educate the newer generation of the whole new ball game what the web has become. But certianly there's no need to be downright nasty ,there're other means of shredding
    Last edited by Tarry; 05-16-2003 at 09:09 AM.
    Tarry Singh
    I'm a JOLE(JavaOracleLinuxEnthusiast)
    --- Everything was meant to be---

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    That sticky is very unfriendly. There are ways to convey your message. Although there are no rules as to how moderators should address the mass public, it's just curtesy to say things nicely. Although each of the points are very valid.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Madrid, Spain
    Originally posted by shibha
    That sticky is very unfriendly. There are ways to convey your message. Although there are no rules as to how moderators should address the mass public, it's just curtesy to say things nicely. Although each of the points are very valid.
    I think I mentioned a few times, people deserve the corresponding responses from anyone, not just the moderators, the way they ask or the effort they have done before ask. A forum is not a school, a learning center, a support center, a free consultancy or free consultants. Unfortunately it seems that many think this is one of those places. WRONG!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Top ten list of posters who are fair game:
    10) Anyone who claims to be an OCP DBA asking questions about how to upgrade or get certified.
    9) Anyone who claims to be an OCP asking questions like, "What is OFA?" (Another area covered by the exams.)
    8) Anyone starting certification who has yet to read certification requirements, test procedures, etc. available at Oracle's website.
    7) Anyone who claims to be an OCP/senior DBA/database architect asking questions that have answers that are so blatantly obvious or easy to find that it leaves you wondering how they have the gall to use those titles.
    6) Anyone who over rates himself ("Brainbench certified for 3,512 tests" comes to mind).
    5) Anyone named ******* because he/she has exceeded the forum limit on stupid questions, here and elsewhere.
    4) Anyone claiming to be an Oracle DBA who doesn't own several reference books or know where to find **free** documentation.
    3) Anyone who starts a thread using the word "guru" (Dear Guru's...).
    2) Anyone who claims to be an Oracle DBA asking questions about backup and recovery, where the question is usually prompted by a media failure and that person realizes he/she has no backup, and has never had one to begin with.
    1.5) Anyone who claims to be a consultant coming here begging for URGENT or IMMEDIATE help for a paper, project, or recommendation due in 90 minutes, unless that person is willing to make arrangements for personal payment to my PayPal account.
    1) Anyone who uses export/import as their one and only backup strategy.
    Last edited by stecal; 05-21-2003 at 11:29 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Maryland, USA
    Originally posted by stecal
    1) Anyone who uses export/import as their one and only backup strategy.
    It depends on the kind of application and environment one works for. I would modify stecal's line to "DBA who thinks export...."
    Sometimes, the client is willing to lose all the data since the last backup(export). Maybe because client does not want to put some extra resources into archiving and rman stuff. Who is to blame in this case? Not the DBA. With the bad market around, definetly I would not be arguing with my manager. We can only suggest what is good and what is bad. Most of the times decisions are made not by DBA's but by people who pays them. Its a whole big debate, but I would stop here.

    -- Dilip

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Washington DC
    Originally posted by patel_dil
    It depends on the kind of application and environment one works for. I would modify stecal's line to "DBA who thinks export...."
    I don't think that kinda clients/corporates exist in this internet era who can wait for couple of hours to bring their database back on line with import and no indexes and creating indexes again might take some time again.

    I'm assuming here decent size database if not, Well! One can take cold backup of all the files assoicated with database on Sunday in the middle of the night. May be Public sector is an exception as no one is gonna get fired even if the database crash. OR fix it while users spend their time in cafetaria.

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