Tutorials on Forum Basics
Some of the users on these forums are pretty forum-savvy--they've used forums for other subjects even if they're new to Ubuntu, so they know how to ask questions, how to find their old threads, etc.
Well, other users ask us from time to time how to do the forum basics (How do I post a new thread? How do I find my old threads?), and it occurred to me that we don't really have tutorials for those things on our site, and maybe we should. So here they are: one tutorial per post.
Please feel free to add your own tutorials to this thread, if you think they'd be helpful to new users--only tutorials on how to use the forums, not on how to use Ubuntu.
Where do I post a thread?
The forum is basically broken up into four main sections, with a bunch of subsections in each one.
The three main sections are Absolute Beginner, Main Support Categories, Other Community Discussions, and Forum Community Discussions.
If you're looking for support on a technical issue, your best bets are to post in the Absolute Beginner section (if you're new) or in the Main Support Categories (if you're not new).
If you have a thread that is not to do with technical support, you should post in one of the other subforums.
Please try to post in the appropriate subforum, though, as this will help keep the forums organized and will help others be able to find you to help you or to find your thread later to help themselves.
Avoid cross-posting. Post only one thread per topic. Do not, if you have a problem with getting your laptop to resume from suspend, post one thread about it in Absolute Beginner, another thread about it in Hardware & Laptop Support, and yet another about it in General Help. Cross-posting bumps other people's threads down, dilutes support from users trying to help you, and is generally considered parasitic--you may receive warnings or infractions for such behavior.
When in doubt, post one thread per problem and put in Absolute Beginner.
How do I make a new thread?
Once you've found the subforum you want to post in (Absolute Beginner, for example), click Make New Post to start a new thread for your problem.
Once you do that, you'll be able to create a thread title for your thread. Please pick one that actually gives an indication to others of what your thread is about. Avoid vague attention-seeking titles like Please help! I'm pulling my hair out! or If this is the kind of problem Ubuntu is going to give me, I'm going back to Windows or Help! I'm a noob. Urgent!
If it's a sound problem, say it's a sound problem. If it's a CD burning problem, say it's a CD burning problem.
Once you type your thread title and hit Tab, the forum will automatically search for threads on a similar topic. The idea is that many "new" questions have actually been asked and solved before. You can save yourself (and others) a lot of time and energy by just seeing if the answer might be out there for you, so feel free to middle-click these search results and see if any of them help. If they don't, continue to type your initial thread post.
In your thread's first post, please explain briefly your situation, what you've tried, and any other information that may be helpful to people who are not standing right behind you looking at your computer monitor.
How do I attach an image to my post?
Before you submit your post, scroll down to Additional Options.
In that section, you'll see a little box that says Attach Files. Within that box, click the button called Manage Attachments and a new window should appear.
From that new window, you can Browse and Upload images from your hard drive to the forums.
Once you're done, you can click Submit Reply finally submit your thread.
How do I find my old threads?
If you are a beginner, you likely have a lot of questions (many new users often have three or four simultaneous support issues going on at once--perhaps one thread about getting wireless to work, one about how to install software, and one about user account management).
To find the threads you started, click on Search and select Find All Your Threads.
This will do a search for any thread in which you were the first person to post.
How do I mark my thread as solved?
Marking your thread as solved is a great thing to do.
First of all, it lets those know who were helping you that their help worked.
More importantly, for other new users starting new threads (remember that automatic search when you start a new thread?), if they see a thread that's marked as solved, they know they're more likely to find a useful solution in that thread.
To mark your thread solved, go to Thead Tools and select Mark this thread as solved
Your thread should now have the prefix [SOLVED] in the subject title.
How to Find Help on the Forums
As has been stated, there are many problems that have been solved before, and you should attempt to find them first before posting a new thread asking for help. That's why this is a forum and not a PM portal, it's an index of searchable knowledge. You can try both the forum-hosted search or through Google.
So at the top right of every page on the forums is a search field. From there you can search whatever you are looking for. One thing to keep in mind is that if you are in either a main forum or a subforum when you search, you will only search within there. So a good idea when using the forum's search feature is go to the main ubuntuforums.org homepage before searching. A quick way to do this is to go to the top left and click the Ubuntu Forums logo.
So how is the best way to search through the forum field? Just like every search feature, you should attempt to be both precisce and vague at the same time. You can do it however you want, but the way I do it is I try real basic terms in the search string and keep adding in bits until I find relevant information. For instance, I have an Nvidia 8400GS video card. If I had problems with it, I could search for "Nvidia" and add in terms like "8400" "GS" "GeForce" (and other terms like the problem I'm having) "vesa driver" "desktop effects" "compiz". Another good idea is to mix around which terms you use together to see if it brings up different results.
One important thing to remember about searching in the forum's search field is that it ranks everything by last post. So the newest ones may not solve your problem, or even have much to do with it. That's where Google comes in handy.
Google is an excellent resource for both general searches and searching inside the Ubuntu Forums, and many consider it better than the search inside the forums. You would use the same techniques, and add a special tag to the search string:
Just make sure you put that in the search field and Google will search strictly within the Ubuntu Forums site. You can also do this with the Ubuntu help wiki:
Using these techniques you should be able to find exactly what you need.
Re: How to Find Help on the Forums
As an example, I'm attaching a forum search of the phrase broadcom ndiswrapper and then a Google search for
Originally Posted by JoshuaRL
broadcom ndiswrapper site:ubuntuforums.org
Re: How do I Suscribe to a Thread
By subscribing you will have the choice of being contact either only in your Suscribed Threads Folder or in your Suscribed Threads Folder and your email.
Subscribed Threads is useful when you want to check on new posts in a thread. The Subscribed Threads can be your own request for help, a thread you find useful, or a thread that you want to follow.
To access the Suscribed Threads Folder: User CP > Suscribed Threads Folder. (User CP is located next to HOME on the top bar.)
1) Before hitting submit reply: go down to Additional Options > Thread Subscription > Select Desired Setting > Click Submit Reply
2) After hitting submit reply: in your post, click on Edit > Go Advanced > go down to Additional Options > Thread Subscription > Select Desired Subscription > Click Submit Reply
The subscription options are about how you want your email notification sent.
(You will always receive a notification immediately in Subscribed Threads.)
a) No email notification - No email sent.
b) Instant email notification - Email is only sent for the first new post to the thread. To get newer replies to the thread, you will have to visit the forum again.
c) Daily email notification - Email sent once a day with all new posts.
d) Weekly email notification - Email sent once a week with all new posts.
Re: Tutorials on Forum Basics
Another issue that has come into mind is forum members who simply skim over a question and give a stock answer, which sometimes doesn't really have to do with the problem at all, and can be misleading.
If you're not sure about an answer, don't post just to increase your post count. It's tempting to do so, but it can result in confusion for the OP, and for any other people reading the thread. What you can do is do a quick google search related to the member's problem and give him a link or two, for instance.
And as to the Original Poster, I say, please be specific. Give as much information as you can about your problem. Simply saying "I don't have internet" is not a good way of seeking help.
It might be a good idea to put your computer specifications in your signature, so that everybody knows what hardware you're running.
Also, if you don't understand a command that someone else has posted, please feel free to ask for further clarification before using the command. Some of us, me included, are so used to the commands that we just fire them out without any explanation. Sorry.