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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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nickf

Likes # 0

I have to say that I have found the help and advice given here on PCA has been great , even to the point that now I scan the forums daily , to pick up knowledge and on the off chance that a numpty like me might actually be able to help someone out . Keep it up chaps , I have learned so much in the last 8 months .

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Chronos the 2nd

Likes # 0

nickf

Don't be so modest as you have also given good advice.

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Secret-Squirrel

Likes # 0

Well said Chronos - especially points nine and ten. It seems to me that only half of the thread starters bother to return with any feedback or appreciation and that will certainly deter a lot of helpers from offering continued support on these forums.

Here's hoping that the Forum Editor acts on your suggestion.

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Jock1e

Likes # 0

Woolwell

[ 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.]

Oh dear, That's where I started and I can assure you that I am still as thick as two planks when it comes to the inside of computers.

The pay is good. The crack is good. And you get your computer fixed free of charge.

What more could you ask for.

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VCR97

Likes # 0

Many of the problems/queries which I have seen on here could have been sorted by consulting the Help facility on the computer.

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morddwyd

Likes # 0

How damned arrogant,.

What makes you such an all fired expert that you think you can tell people how they should post?

If you don't like the way they post their question then don't deign to answer it.

For the rest of us, I, for one, will exercise a little tolerance and, if I don't understand what a question is about, try to get the enquirer to give more information.

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Mr Mistoffelees

Likes # 0

"I, for one, will exercise a little tolerance and, if I don't understand what a question is about, try to get the enquirer to give more information."

Unfortunately a lot of askers of questions never reply when further information is requested, by someone trying to help.

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nickf

Likes # 0

Mrddwyd , unbunch yer knickers , Chronos was only making a suggestion for a guide , so people could get quick concise and relevant info and help with there problems

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Chronos the 2nd

Likes # 0

Oh dear, I seem to have upset morddwyd. i think I can live with that.

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onthelimit1

Likes # 0

morddwyd

Nothing arrogant there at all, just sensible advice. Most forums have a sticky to help newcomers get their posting right, why should we be any different?

FE notable by his absence though! :-)

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