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Thread: Posting Guidelines

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    Join Date
    May 2007
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    The New Forest
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    Xubuntu

    Posting Guidelines

    Posting Tips:
    Quick start link: Suggestions on how to get your support questions answered as quickly as possible.

    When asking for technical support:
    1. Search for posts on the same topic before posting a new question. Sometimes using Google to search the forums works better than our own search function. You can do so by entering your search in the Google search bar followed by site:ubuntuforums.org.
    2. Give clear, specific information in the title of your post. Also, please resist the urge to use a sensationalist, extreme, and flame-baiting title like "I've had it with Ubuntu!" "I bet you can't solve my problem" or "Ubuntu sucks".
    3. When posting long outputs from terminal commands or from certain scripts, or the contents of configuration files, wrap this between[CODE] and [/CODE] tags. This is to preserve essential formatting and to prevent the posting of large difficult-to-read walls of text.
    4. If you include screenshots, use the forum attachment system rather than an offsite host such as imgur.
    5. Include as many details as you can, for example, software version numbers or computer hardware specifications. If you do not know how to find out the information that a user is requesting of you, ask them how to find the information they have requested.
    6. Post a follow up with a "Thank you" or "This worked!" It's always nice to let the people that help you know that you appreciate their help, and it lets future readers know the information was useful. You can also mark a thread solved using 'thread tools' as a courtesy. It makes it easier for others to find the solution.
    7. When you learn something, use that knowledge to help another user later.
    8. While we are happy to serve as a resource for hints and for asking questions when you get stuck and need a little help, the Ubuntu Forums is not a homework service. Please do not post your homework assignments expecting someone else to do it for you. Any such threads will either be jailed or closed, and warnings or infractions may be issued.
    9. Write your posts in English unless you are participating in a Loco Forum, where you are permitted to use another language if it is in common use in that Loco Forum and understood by the Loco Forum staff. We have many users from many different countries, and English is the common language of these forums.
    10. Refrain from using "leet" speak, or excessive or unclear slang.
    11. Do not shorten your words to acronyms or abbreviations or use URL-shortening services, as is often done when texting or in a Twitter-style update. It is very difficult to read and understand and you are not limited to a small number of characters.
    12. Use color and font properties for highlighting portions of your text, and not for all of the text in your post. Please use the default font color and properties unless you need to highlight or draw attention to a part of your post. ALL CAPS is interpreted as screaming. Funky non-uniform font size/color is difficult for those who are visually impaired. If you are having problems with reading the font, please adjust your browser.
    13. Do not cross post, or post the same thing in multiple locations.
    14. Bumping your thread if you receive no answer is acceptable. Premature and excessive bumping could attract staff attention and action. If you wish to bump, consider time zones - the one with your answer might be asleep. Bumping your post means it will not appear in the unanswered posts search and will escape the notice of the Unanswered Posts Team.


    When answering technical support issues:
    1. Be considerate to the person asking the question. Yes, some users are harder to help than others, but please be respectful to all users.
    2. Avoid acronyms and jargon when giving instructions.
    3. If the user's question has been covered in one of the community documents, please give them a description and the links. Some useful sites to point green users are: wiki.ubuntu.com, help.ubuntu.com, and the forum HOWTOs.
    4. If you wish to remind a user to use search tools or other resources when they have asked a question you feel is basic or common, please be polite. Any replies for help that contain language disrespectful towards the user asking the question are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. This includes things like STFU, RTFM, and LMGTFY as well as the obvious forms of disrespect.
    5. Always assume the the user has a default installation unless you are told otherwise. If you tell people to use an application outside of the official Ubuntu installation, please give instructions on how to install it.
    6. Always assume that the user is a new user unless you're certain the user is not.
    7. When posting long outputs from terminal commands or from certain scripts, or the contents of configuration files, wrap this between [CODE] and [/CODE] tags. This is to preserve essential formatting and to prevent the posting of large difficult-to-read walls of text.
    8. Remember to do things the Ubuntu way. Often there is more than one solution to a problem. Choose the one you think will be the easiest for the user, and the method most commonly used in Ubuntu.
    9. Never instruct users to do anything that might break their system.
    10. Explain each step of the solution. If possible, teach the user while giving a solution to them. Teaching begets more teaching.
    11. If you're uncertain if a procedure is correct, please tell users so. If your procedure has inherent risks, please tell users what they are.
    12. Replies to questions that ask for help running legitimate software (albeit closed source or proprietary) that do not answer the question, but instead instruct the user that they should not be using that software on the grounds that it is not free serve only to frustrate and confuse the user and may be removed. The goal of this forum is to first provide technical assistance and then to educate users on the benefits of free software.
    13. It should go without saying that if you offer help, it should be grounded in your own relevant experience or expertise. Whilst there is nothing wrong in web-searching to help you formulate an answer, or to check facts, you should not simply do a web-search for an answer to a similar question and post this answer as your own. Similarly, it is acceptable to consult AI resources such as ChatGPT in order to complement your own original thoughts, or to see if there is an aspect of the issue under consideration that you have forgotten. You may include a short partial quote or paraphrase from AI-generated output, so long as it clarifies or illuminates what the help requester has written, and you attribute the quote to the AI source. But simply regurgitating AI-generated answers is not allowed, and may very well lead to your account being banned.

      Addendum: we have recently seen a significant number of posts posing as requests for help, but which consisted substantially or entirely of unattributed ChatGPT output. The text immediately above applies equally to questions as well as answers. To be clear: whatever the motivation for using AI to formulate a question, we have a zero-tolerance approach to unattributed AI-generated text.


    Footnote - Use of AI resources such as ChatGPT

    Currently, what is called "Artificial Intelligence" is not really intelligent. Essentially, it trawls the internet, assembles what its algorithms determine to be the most statistically significant bits into a framework, then massages this framework and renders it into grammatical and superficially authoritative text. Essentially, it is just convincingly rewritten copy/paste.

    AI has high abuse potential, fails to attribute sources, is based on statistical methodology so is prone to obsolescence and outright error, does not test its output, is therefore unverified and is also therefore often useless, misleading or even dangerous. It can return erroneous results couched in convincing techno‑speak and so overwhelm the forums with deceptively convincing garbage or misleading pseudo answers.

    The Forums are a resource for posterity. As such, we are charged with ensuring the integrity of its content. Above all else, we must strive for accuracy and verifiability. The Forum Council has given considerable thought to AI-generated content and has determined that, in its current state, it will erode the integrity of these forums.
    Last edited by coffeecat; 4 Weeks Ago at 06:12 PM.

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