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How about posting guidelines?

1013 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  brendandonhu
I'd like to suggest that you pin a posting guideline message in each section. When you're posting and asking a question, it would be nice to have the information to actually give an intelligent answer! Some ideas are:

- Machine hardware configuration/brand
- BIOS date
- Operating System/version
- Program name/version

Then, a clear description of the problem and the steps you've taken to resolve it.

Most initial posts are along the lines of "my machine won't boot, what do I do?".
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I agree that many posters need to include more information in their post, and will get a lot better help if they do. But you don’t want to suggest to them that asking a question on TSG is going to be on the same difficulty scale as filling out your income tax forms. Once the information you need gets to the level of BIOS date that might help in one post out of a hundred then you can just ask the person.

Also general guidelines require too much from newbes. Information you can retrieve quickly is a challenge for someone who doesn’t know where to look. And having them spend an hour to dig up information that is not significant to their problem is either going to make them reluctant to ask questions or just ignore the guidelines.

I would like some specific guidelines that could also be used as a preliminary troubleshoot. For example:

Printer doesn’t work at all –
Make and model?
Downloaded latest driver?
USB or parallel?
If parallel – anything else sharing connection? Will it work alone?
If USB, have you tried another USB device in the same slot?
Any yellow or red warnings in device manager?
Warning messages?
Have you added or changed anything lately?
Did it ever work?

If it is USB and their scanner works fine from the same plug, then you likely don’t need motherboard, BIOS, OS, RAM etc. Having someone dig that information up when it isn’t significant is counterproductive for them, and they don’t always know what is significant If we broke things down by problem we could minimize what newbes had to dig up and still be able to help.

I think it would be fun to have the members put various guides together. But I think we would want to ask for minimal information rather than anything we might ever ask about the problem. And if the information is obscure we could have instructions of how to easily get it.
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Well, I figure if they don't know what computer they have, or what O/S they're running, they're pretty close to beyond help. :) Besides, what I'm suggesting is just guidelines, obviously many folks will feel free to ignore them. :D
the more info the better for a quick analysis....but many first time posts are from folks with bare-bones pc experience.....a recommended list of "helpful" info wouldn't hurt....if they ( we ) understand how to get the info...great....if problem, question anyway. If the post shows all the specs then that post can be assumed to have been made by someone who knows at least a bit....
It would be good to have a little warning reminding them to tell the OS and exact error messages, etc, but also make it clear if they dont know some of the info-they can ask how to find it.
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