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December 3, 2003, 3:08 am
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1) Give as much detail as you can. Take your time. The more information
you give, the better advice regulars here will be able to give you.
Describe your problem as if you were telling it to Sherlock Holmes in his
study. NEVER assume regulars are telepathic! All we know about you and
your problem is what you tell us. If you have a website, give us its URL.
You will NOT bore us with details. Oh, and remember this newsgroup is an
newsgroup so don't assume people telepathically know which country you're
2) Don't necessarily expect to receive answers with your first post.
Expect instead to receive questions. Answer these questions promptly and
expect more in return. Once the regulars feel they have an adequate
understanding of your situation and problem, they then might feel they can
offer you some useful advise.
3) Be active. After you post, check this newsgroup at least once a day and
reply to all posts. Take the time to give detailed replies. Don't rush
here either. Give as full of a reply as possible. The more you're active
and the more in-depth your replies, the more regulars will participate in
your thread and the more help you'll receive.
4) Keep it clean. The ones that are probably going to help you the most
will be the professionals that frequent this newsgroup. Unless you'd like
to be put into their kill-files, treat them with respect and don't waste
their time. Many of these professionals regularly check this group from
work during the little breaks in their workday. While more details are
better than too few, adding too much unrelated junk will only confuse the
situation and reduce the usefulness, readability, and value of your post.
Take a moment and streamline your replies. Reduce the header down to just
who is saying which lines. Do NOT simply repost the entire message if
you're only referring to a part of it. Without distorting what they wrote,
trim down what they said to just what you're replying to. Also, do NOT top
post. Top posting forces people to scroll down then back up to your reply.
Think logical progression of thought. Again, it will reduce the time the
professionals need to spend reading your post thus more time they'll have -
during their coffee break -- to reply to your post.
5) Return and let us know what happened. Title your post the same as your
original one and add "[update]" at the end of the subject line. Again, put
as much effort into it as you'd like regulars to give to their replies.
Tell what worked, what didn't, ups, downs, and surprises. Use this as an
opportunity to ask further questions. Bless us with the pearls of wisdom
you learned along the way. Also, remember this is a nice way to thank
those that helped you. Some regulars sometimes feel used and cheap when
those they help never return to let them know what happened. They also
remember those that do and next time you have another problem, they'll be
that much more willing to devote time and effort to help you when you come
Lastly, remember that the advice you're getting here is worth exactly what
you paid for it. While professionals do frequent this newsgroup, they do
so at their leisure and their advice is informal. If you want better
advice, hire a professional.