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Tech Helproom


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Ten steps to getting your question answered on a tech forum.


Chronos the 2nd

Likes # 1

I wonder if this could be stickied?

  1. Before you even go to a forum, think through what your problem is. Write down how you are going to describe it. Think about it from the other side - what would you need to know if a stranger came to you and asked a computer question? Write down any error codes that appear on your screen. Gather all the system information that seems to bear on the problem (see how at this link). Sometimes it even happens that by thinking through the problem, you come up with the answer yourself.
  2. Place your question or problem in a forum that is relevant to its subject. That may seem obvious but anyone who has experience with forums knows that a lot of questions show up in the wrong place.
  3. Select a title that briefly and accurately describes your problem. A title like “Help!” or “Computer won’t work” will often get ignored. Almost any problem can be titled with a few key words that will raise interest in somebody who is familiar with the subject. A corollary to this is to avoid using all caps or a lot of exclamation points. Something like “HELP!!!” turns many people off.
  4. In the post, briefly describe the problem in a paragraph. Leave out unnecessary details. Save everybody time by listing any solutions that you have tried but didn't work.
  5. Next, describe relevant system details. For example, it is essential to designate your operating system and type of computer and any components that might be involved in your problem. List any error code that has been displayed. Be prepared to provide more details if asked
  6. Tell what you were doing when you encountered the problem. If it is a reproducible problem, list the steps or computer operations that cause the problem.
  7. List any recent software you have installed or hardware changes you have made. If you have updated any drivers recently, also list that.
  8. If requested, be prepared to list all the Windows and software updates that have been made recently.
  9. Be courteous and thank whoever is helping you whether you get a solution or not. Somebody is giving you their time and expertise for free. You may want to come back to the forum and it pays to be friendly.
  10. If a suggested solution works, be sure to return to the forum and report your success. It is the least you can do to return something for the help you have been given. It will make you welcome in the forum the next time you go there for help.
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Chronos the 2nd

Likes # 0

spuds

Yes they have hence the "I wonder if this could be stickied?" question.

As for your point "Some people can only describe problems in the way they see, or experience them, possibly based on how computer savvy they might be, and perhaps not wanting to make a fool of themselves?." You would have come across many posts,like me, here where it can take quite a while to actually get to the problem because the original thread starter has put a three word plea for help in his/her original post. Of course those trying to help will still need to ask questions but if the basics could be covered,operating system,make and model of PC or component, any error messages then hopefully help will be a little quicker in coming

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Jock1e

Likes # 0

[Try to bump it to the top each day]

Don't think that that would work as all problems are not just for the Helproom.

Would that mean that you would have to put it in all forums.

If I had to pick one forum to put it in it would be the Beginners forum.

Or better still get PCA to do something similar and put it next door to the Beta Testing Forum.

That way it would be seen by all no matter which forum they were on.

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Chronos the 2nd

Likes # 0

Jock1e

It did cross my mind about the various forums and beginners forum is certainly one place my OP should/could go.

Or better still get PCA to do something similar.

what can i say.

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Woolwell

Likes # 0

Jock1e - Disagree about beginner's forum. The people who use that have already recognised that they know little about computers. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

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Ian in Northampton

Likes # 0

Re comments about literacy, spelling, grammar etc. - the same could be said of some of our regular responders.

No names, no pack drill... ;-)

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Chronos the 2nd

Likes # 0

Ian in Northampton

My hand was already on that one.

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Chronos the 2nd

Likes # 0

Oh for an edit button: There should have been an up before the on in my last post.

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spuds

Likes # 0

IiN & Chronos

I put it down to an age thing :o)

.........

Perhaps coming back to Beginner's Tech Help, I have noticed on a few occasions that some of our more experienced subscriber's have used this part of the forum, when placing a question. Is this to attract a better and quicker response, or to test the 'expert advice you can trust'?.

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xox101

Likes # 0

I seem to remember this being brought up before many times many years ago on this site. I had a different username then but the advice was never followed or enforced then and it seems it still isn't now.

I spend a lot of time on the XDA forums and it is no better there to be honest.

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johndrew

Likes # 0

Perhaps coming back to Beginner's Tech Help, I have noticed on a few occasions ...

I think the reason may be that when a subject element is really new to the writer/questioner then they feel they are at the Beginner level. I have some experience in some areas but there are areas that are way beyond my knowledge - at these times I would feel any question on such a subject area should be in the appropriate area for my level of expertise.

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