Guidance for getting help and giving help

edited December 2014 in General Help

Hello service users!

Before you post a question/discussion please abide by the following:

  1. Choose a descriptive title. Vague titles, or ones the beg for help are not more likely to be answered. Choose a title that actually summarises the problem.
  2. Provide detail. If you want people to help, you can't rely on psychic powers. As the person helping is not with you, they are relying on you to provide information that can help with identifying the issue you are having.
  3. If at all possible provide steps which can help replicate the problem, so that they may be repeated to aid diagnosis. Alternatively examples, debug information, picture an other supporting information.
  4. Let people know what steps you have taken to rectify the problem.
  5. Try not to conflate problems unless you think they are related. These question and discussion are difficult to follow, and you may get a confusing answer as a result. So instead open as separate question/discussion. Unless you problem is identical to someone else do not tag on you question someone else's question/discussion. This is confusing and not easy to reference.
  6. Don't assume that all help is coming from the same level of knowledge or experience. Don't be afraid to ask for a second opinion in a civil way, and also you aren't required to make changes just because someone tells you do so.
  7. If someone give you a helpful answer, or you resolve a matter some other way, say so. It is helpful to others to know not just that the matter is resolve but what actually resolved the matter.
  8. Be patient. You may not reply straight away. Don't just bump the question/discussion, make sure it is fulfilling the requirements of a good question, and provide updates on the situation.
  9. Don't come across as if you don't want to help yourself, even if not the case, it is discouraging to those that wish to help you. Make as much effort as you possibly can, conveying this, unless you would take risks you are not sure about, in which case ask before doing so.

If you wish to give advice follow the following principles:

  1. Don't state opinion as fact.
  2. Don't compel the questioner to "shot gun debug", by offering wild suggestions that may or may not work, without clear methodical process. Unless you make clear you are offering only trial and error suggestions, suggest if possible to test in non-invasive way as possible.
  3. Make clear you level of experience, especially if you are not clear of the underling processes, but have resolved similar matters.
  4. Be mindful that different advice, from multiple people across multiple post can get confusing to the questioner. Therefore make clear when advice is different of addressing a different cause, and that the most likely causes should be tested first.
  5. Defer to those with more experience than you. State you opinion as it may be useful, but make clear that it may need input from others.
  6. You aren't required to answer (any) questions so stick to what you think you can help on.

General advice to all:

  1. Respect each other.
  2. Treat people with kindness, and give them benefit of the doubt.
  3. If someone wastes your time, or is rude despite the effort offered, move on. You aren't required to participate, but at the same time it is not worth getting angry about.
  4. Be careful of the information you publish. You might expose private information of yours or others, and you are bound by the privacy policy. If in doubt about the sort of information safe to provide, ask.
  5. Any disruptive behaviour report it immediately, don't add fuel to the fire.
Login In or Sign Up to comment.