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Thread: Suggestions on how to get your support questions answered as quickly as possible

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    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Alabama, USA
    Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

    Suggestions on how to get your support questions answered as quickly as possible

    When posting a question on the Ubuntu forums, there are some things you can do to make sure your question gets answered quickly.

    General Guidelines
    1. There are no stupid questions. You're not a stupid person simply because you do not know how to do something, or do not have the answer to a question. Everyone was a green user at one point in time.
    2. Use the forum search first. Most problems have happened to at least one other person before, and have already been discussed in an existing thread. If you can find your solution this way, it will be much faster than waiting on someone else. The search box can be found in the upper-righthand corner of the page.
    3. Post in the correct forum. At the end of this post is a list of forums that you can post your questions or comments in. If you post in a forum that is not meant for your question, then it will have to be moved by a moderator to the correct forum, which make support take longer. If you accidentally post in the wrong forum, ask a moderator to move it for you rather than making a new post, or one of your posts will get deleted.
    4. Make the title of your thread meaningful and concise. For example, if you are having difficulty using your BroadCom card to connect to your wireless internet, the title "Cannot connect to wireless with BroadCom card" will attract people with experience with wireless internet and BroadCom cards. Titles like "Help me please!!!" or "I have a problem" may be overlooked by people who could otherwise help you.
    5. Indicate your level of experience with Ubuntu and the topic of your problem. If you are new to Ubuntu, mention that at the beginning of your post. There are often many ways to solve a problem, and knowing your level of expertise will help others suggest the method that is best for you.
    6. Explain how you installed or are installing Ubuntu. There are many different flavors of Ubuntu and even more ways to install it. Most people will assume you used the latest version of the Ubuntu Desktop Edition CD to install, so if you installed via Wubi, had Ubuntu preinstalled on your computer, or have any flavor of Ubuntu other than the latest Ubuntu Desktop Edition, say so.
    7. Provide information relevant to your problem. Error messages usually contain valuable information, so include those in your post.

      A picture or a screenshot is worth a thousand words. To take a screenshot in Ubuntu, press the "prt sc" button near the upper-righthand corner of your keyboard. You will be given a chance to save your screenshot to a file, which you can then attach to your post.

      If your problem is related to any specific hardware, (for example, wireless or video problems), then include a model number for that piece of hardware. If you don't know how to find your model number, look at the "Hardware Information" section below.
    8. Use proper grammar and punctuation. Most members of the forum won't get stuck up on grammar, spelling or punctuation, but grammar is still important when communicating your problem. This makes it easier for those on the receiving end of your message to understand what you meant, especially for those who are not native English speakers. At minimum you should mark the end of your sentences.
    9. Don't ramble. Some background information on your problem is necessary, but try to keep all the information in your post relevant to your problem.
    10. Follow the Ubuntu Forums Code of Conduct. The UF Code of Conduct details the forum rules that all users must abide by. These rules can generally be summed up to one phrase: Be friendly to everyone. If you follow that one rule, there should be no problems. Section II of the Code of Conduct also gives some advice on asking for technical support.
    11. Check back on your thread and answer any questions others have about your problem. Sometimes more information will be required to fix your problem, and a forum member will respond to your thread with instructions on how to get that information. If you do not like to check back on the thread page, you can use the "Subscribe to this Thread" feature from the Thread Tools menu near the upper-lefthand corner of the page.
    12. Let us know when it's fixed. When your problem is solved, mark your thread as [SOLVED] by using the Thread Tools menu near the upper-righthand corner of the page, and remember to thank those who helped fix your problem. This lets us know that we are doing some good with our time, and encourages us to keep at it.
    13. Post only one thread on your topic. Posting multiple threads dilutes community effort, and makes it more difficult for others to help.

    If you believe that you have been cracked or otherwise attacked, please read this before posting.

    Hardware Information.
    Often times, it is helpful to include information about the hardware attached to your system. For example, if you are having graphical problems, information about your video card is helpful.

    The quickest way to get your hardware information is by opening a terminal from Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal. From here you can type and run commands that will give you information about your hardware.

    To find out what video card you have, copy and paste this command into the terminal. (If you like to use keyboard shortcuts to copy/paste, you will have to use Ctrl+Shift+V rather than Ctrl+V when pasting to the terminal)
    lspci | grep VGA
    and press enter. The text displayed will include information about your video card including its manufacturer and model number.

    To find out what wireless card you have, use
    lspci | grep Wireless
    This command can be modified to find any kind of PCI card attached to your computer. For example, if you want to see all the cards attached to your computer that were made by ATI, run
    lspci | grep ATI
    To simply list all PCI cards (i.e. All the extra pieces of hardware attached to your system), use
    You can get an exhaustive, detailed list of hardware on your computer. This requires doing things that need administrative privilegens, so this command will have you type your password. When you type your password into a terminal, you will not see any characters, not even asterisks. This is perfectly normal and your password is typing just fine.
    sudo lshw
    If you prefer a graphical view, you can install lshw-gtk. To do this either, use Synaptic, The Ubuntu Software Center, or the following command:
    sudo apt-get install lshw-gtk
    Once lshw-gtk is installed, press Alt+F2 and paste this command
    gksu lshw-gtk
    Also, remember that you can copy and paste the information from a terminal straight into your post rather than retyping them. Just highlight the text you want to copy with your mouse, then you can either right-click and choose "copy", or if you are more of a keyboard person, press Ctrl+Shift+C (Ctrl+C doesn't work because the terminal uses it for other things). You can then paste the text you've copied into your post with the right-click menu or Ctrl+V.

    The support forums
    There are several support forums where you can post your questions. Please post your question in only one forum. Double-posting is frowned upon and will usually result in one of your threads being locked

    Absolute Beginner Talk - The perfect starting place to find out more about computers, Linux and Ubuntu.
    General Help - All your general support questions for Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu and Xubuntu.
    Installation & Upgrades - For questions about upgrading and installation of your new Ubuntu OS.
    Hardware & Laptops - Problems with hardware & laptops not being detected or supported during or after install.
    Security Discussions - Discuss security flaws/updates/notices in the various Ubuntu releases.
    Server Platforms - Discussion regarding the Ubuntu Server Edition. For more information on the Ubuntu Server Team, please visit their wiki page or Launchpad page.
    Desktop Environments - Support for your Ubuntu desktop. Including Gnome, KDE and XFCE.
    Multimedia & Video - Have multimedia question? ATI, Nvidia, Sound cards. Just ask here.
    Multimedia Production - Discussions about Ubuntu Studio and other multimedia production applications.
    Networking & Wireless - Having problems getting connected to the internet or getting your wireless card to work? Ask here.
    Ubuntu One - Discuss the Ubuntu One service and the Ubuntu One Music Store.
    Apple Users - Discussions for users who are using Apple Intel or PPC based systems with Ubuntu.
    System76 Support - Support for System76 Ubuntu Laptops and Desktops.

    For a complete list of all the forums on this site, including non-support forums, go to the UF index page.

    If you have any suggestions on improving this post, let me know by posting in this thread.

    Also, a special thanks to matthew for stickying this post, and to aysiu, Sef, and 2hot6ft2 for helping improve it.
    Last edited by sandyd; April 10th, 2014 at 05:11 PM. Reason: Fixing broken code of conduct link


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