View Full Version : Ways you should and should not try to get your threads noticed

October 13th, 2008, 10:36 PM
Among some frustrated new users, there are are a few misconceptions about how these forums work and what the best tactics are to get help.

First of all, I will say that some parasitic behavior may actually get you a lot of help, but you're also duplicating efforts, stealing attention away from others who are equally if not more deserving of help, and ignoring basic netiquette.

Don't Cross-post
Cross-posting means posting more than one thread on the same topic. For example, if you are having problems with sound in YouTube, you might post a thread about sound in YouTube in Absolute Beginner, post another thread about sound in YouTube in Multimedia & Video, and yet another thread about sound in YouTube in General Help.

Please don't do this. Cross-posting is bad.

First of all, every time you post a new thread, it bumps down everyone else's thread off the top of the page for that subsection. Ordinarily, that's not a problem if it's just one thread. But if you're cross-posting, you're creating multiple threads where only one will do.

Secondly, you'll get duplicate help and those helping you won't know what else has been suggested to you or what else you've tried unless they're following all three or four of your threads. Keeping it to one thread keeps things efficient.

Don't bump excessively
There are two parts to this: one is the first bump, one is how often the bumps come. A bump is any post who's primary purpose is to bring your thread back up to the top of most recent threads. Bumps allow you to bring back attention to a thread that might have gotten lost in the shuffle.

If you bump once every 24 hours or so, that's acceptable behavior. If, however, you bump more frequently than that, you're bumping excessively, which is obnoxious. Don't do that.

I would also urge users to wait even longer than 24 hours to do the first bump. There are many users (me, for example, and a lot of people on the Beginners Team) who make a habit of looking for unanswered posts; that is, threads that have 0 replies. If you bump your thread, your thread will have one reply--yours. So your thread won't come up in searches for unanswered posts even though no one gave you an answer.

The Golden Rule of Asking for Help
The golden rule of asking for help is this: your problem is important but it is no more important than anyone else's problem. It's a slight twist on the regular golden rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you). If everyone adopted your posting behavior, would it be to everyone's benefit or everyone's detriment? If it's the former, then continue on. If it's the latter, you're a parasite and you will be warned, then you will be infracted, and ultimately you will be banned.

No one ignored you
I constantly hear the complaint from frustrated users that their posts were ignored. They weren't. I have never in the 3+ years I've been on these forums seen a thread that was ignored. Find me one. Find me a single thread that was ignored. No thread here has ever been ignored. If you don't get an answer, it usually means no one knows the solution to your problem. It's as simple as that.

We are not gods here. Many people here are almost saint-like in their behavior. Many are almost geniuses in terms of computer knowledge. But no one here knows everything and can solve every single problem that you could encounter.

If you do a search for unanswered posts, you'll see all of them have been looked at, sometimes as many as 13 or 18 times. People don't reply because they know a reply of Hey, I have no idea how to solve your problem but I just wanted to post a reply is unproductive.

Not being on the first page doesn't mean your post won't be seen. We have many eyes here, and if you ever do an unanswered posts search, you'll notice that 99% or 100% of the unanswered threads are obscure problems that have no easy solution. If an easy solution to your problem exists, you'll be answered within hours if not minutes. And if there's no easy solution to your problem, you won't be answered, but you also will not have been ignored.

Further Reading
Getting the Best Help on Linux Forums (http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntucat/getting-the-best-help-on-linux-forums/)
To all those with zero-reply threads... (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=82471)