The do’s and dont’s when posting on a public forum

On a public forum, what you ask is as important as how you ask it. Ensure that you have done all that is possible at your end when asking the question before you seek answers.

Etiquette

Work on your title

As flowers attract bees through their vivid display of colors and scents, posts attract visitors by their titles. Ensure that you have captured the essence of your query in your title. Think over what it would take for you to click on the title if you came across it. For example, if your issue is related to a problem with a software not responding at launch, you can title it, “Adobe XYZ software doesn’t launch on the latest version of Mac OS (Maverick)”. People are more likely to click a link if they understand what the title is all about.

Provide all information that you think would help solve the problem

Solving a query on a forum is detective’s work. Provide as many clues as possible.

  • When did this happen?
  • Was this working normally previously?
  • Did you make any changes to your computer before this problem surfaced?
  • What is your software version, which OS are you using it on, which version of the OS?

The more clues you provide, the better will be the quality of your responses.

Insert screenshots where necessary

Absolutely, when necessary. Use the provision to insert images (click the Camera icon) to insert screenshots into your post. This way, you don’t have to type a whole lot of text. And if you are good at capturing videos of your screen, that would be equally wonderful. Just make sure that the video is crisp and captures most of the information that the experts will need to solve your problem.

screenshot

Do not divulge confidential information

Public forums, are well, public and accessible to everyone across the world.  To avoid your contact information being misused ensure that you do not divulge any confidential information such as your contact details, your serial number, your credit card details, and so on. Most forums have an option to send a private message. You could use that to provide information to trusted people on the forum.

Acknowledge help received on the forum

I cannot say this enough: Please, please acknowledge answers by marking them as correct or helpful whenever relevant. This provides other users with an insight into solutions that helped, and the next reader does not have to read the entire length of the post to arrive at the correct answer. And of course, it encourages the person that answered the question. Also, most times, people are helping you for free and this gesture can be rewarding in more ways than one.

Have patience

If you have asked the question well, it shouldn’t be long before someone answers your question. Just in case your question is ignored, do not panic. Go back and ask if people on the forum need more insight into your problem.

Go back and help other users

If you have enough expertise on the topic, enlist yourself for helping other users. Keep aside some time to help other people in your community. It can be a highly rewarding experience.

 

 

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