Guide to making a good post/thread

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Posts: 10,615   +467
Part 1: Asking a question

0. Nothing Illegal

We aren't going to help you find a CD key or Serial Number, and we aren't going to discuss software you've downloaded or movies you are trying to get or obtained illegally. Take those questions elsewhere. Don't complain when your thread gets edited/locked/deleted, complaining is going to get you nothing but harsher treatment.

1. Use our search feature.
You may be surprised how many topics and problems have been discussed here.

2. Post in the proper forum
If you are unsure to what forum your question fits into, pick the one you think it most closely fits into or post to the "Ask A Question" forum. A moderator will move it if you chose the wrong one. Do not post the same question in multiple forums. Posting in multiple areas creates a separation of replies and makes it harder on people that follow rule #1.

3. Create a subject line that summarizes your problem.
It's poor form to create a thread with “Help!” or any variation of in the title, even worse when that is the entire title. Those threads are less likely to be read because we can’t waste our time clicking and reading something that we may not be able to help. If there is a specific title then we know whether or not we have a shot at answering it and can focus/manage our time in those threads. This also forces you to think a bit harder about your problem; perhaps it will give you another idea on it before posting. As an added bonus this makes the search function more efficient.

4. Writing your post.
Write in respectable form, this isn’t an instant message conversation with your buddy, it's irritating to have to decipher whatever malformed English you are typing and it's likely your post will be ignored or get something nasty replied.

In order for us to help you, we need to know what the problem is. The more precise you are with this the better. Don’t provide information that isn’t relevant, if your hard drive is giving you CRCs or clicking we don’t need to know how much RAM you have or what video card you are using.

Bad: Computer won’t turn on
Better: Computer powers on for 3 seconds then shuts off.
Even Better: New build powers on for 3 seconds then shuts off with no error beeps. I’ve checked all the power connections and reseated the RAM.​

Do not tell us what to do, you are the one with the problem, and if you write a decent description of your problem and steps you’ve taken to solve it we will already know what not to tell you to do. An example of this is would be to mention in your post that you don’t have a floppy drive, do not tell us not to tell you to boot off a floppy.

To see a great example check out this post: Brand new PC is Crashing :(
To see a great example of how not to do things check out this thread: Need Some Effin Help!!!!

6. Waiting for an answer.
Do not ask for someone to email you with the answer. If you can’t be bothered to check up on your post we can’t be bothered to help you, not to mention its a good way to get your email address picked up by spambots. This is done on our free time and nobody is getting paid here to help you. If you feel you have to get an email when someone replies, there is a box you can check when writing your post that will send you an email if someone replies.

Do not bump your post back up to the top after a short period of time. It's generally a good idea to wait at least 24 hours, our members are all over the world, people can't answer when they are asleep. Bumping posts shortly after you posted is only going to irritate people and make it less likely you'll get a helpful response.

7. Follow up.
If something was suggested and that fixes your problem, post back with what it was, and a quick thank you to whoever helped. If you fixed it yourself make a post saying what you did. This gives the thread some closure and can help people that may find it in a search later if you indicate what was done to solve the problem.

Part 2: Replying to a thread

1. Try and reply only if you have something to add. This keeps people from having to sift through 6 posts of nonsense before they can get to 1 relevant post.

2. Try and post only things you know to be facts, if you must speculate make it clear that that is what you are doing, I'd hate to do something that messes up my system because someone told me that it worked, when in fact they weren't sure.

3. If you have time look up an answer for someone on google if you don't know it yourself (Note*: This comes in especially handy during contest time). If you do it this way, it can't hurt to provide links to where you got the information.

4. If you are only answering or responding to a certain portion of someone's question or comment then use the quote feature and edit out the parts that you are not responding to. This makes it easier for people to see what you are commenting on.

5. It is not necessary to quote if the person you are responding to you is the last post in the thread. Quotes again aren't necessary if you are replying to the original question (first post) in the thread, if you can only answer one question out of many, quote just that question rather than the whole post.

6. Do not post twice in a row, there is an Edit button at the bottom right of your posts, click that if you need to add information, a new reply isn’t necessary and clutters the page.

Part 3: Posts in the General Discussion forum

Since this forum is much more open than others not all above rules apply

1. Avoid posting extremely controversial issues, we have a wide variety of maturity levels here and not all members can handle threads like this. Bring those to the IRC chatroom if you must.
2. Do not personally attack people, that just creates grudges.
3. Keep threads as on topic as possible, if you must discuss something else inside of another thread don't - instead create a new thread on it.

Part 4: Dealing with responses you don’t like, or slow/no responses.

From time to time someone is going to post a response that you think is rude. Short terse answers usually come as a response to a poorly written post. Complaining about it will do no good, infact it is likely to make things worse on you. Running to a moderator or Julio isn’t going to help you either. There are exceptions to this like continued bullying, posting offensive pictures, linking to illegal or dangerous sites. For those instances there is a red outlined triangle in the top right of every post that reports that to all the moderators.

Remember everyone here is a volunteer, nobody is getting paid, we are doing this out of the kindness of our hearts. If you need something fixed on a set timeframe then you are better off taking your problem somewhere where the people get paid and you can demand a certain level of quality.
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