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How To Ask Questions The Smart Way

User Help for Mozilla Firefox
craigevil

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Joined: February 20th, 2005, 2:12 pm
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Post Posted May 4th, 2005, 7:00 pm

<b>Before asking a technical/support question please do the following:</b>

1.Try to find an answer by searching the Web.(Google is your Friend.)
2.Try to find an answer by reading the manual/help. F1
3.Try to find an answer by reading theFrequently Asked Support Questions
4.Try Searching the forum (Chances are someone else's has had the same issue).
5.Look through theMozilla Firefox Knowledge base
6.Try to find an answer by inspection or experimentation. Don't be afraid to play around.
7.Try to find an answer by asking a skilled friend.
8. If you are a programmer, try to find an answer by reading the source code.

When you ask your question, display the fact that you have done these things first; this will help establish that you're not being a lazy sponge and wasting people's time. Better yet, display what you have learned from doing these things. We like answering questions for people who have demonstrated that they can learn from the answers.

Prepare your question. Think it through. Hasty-sounding questions get hasty answers, or none at all. The more you do to demonstrate that you have put thought and effort into solving your problem before asking for help, the more likely you are to actually get help. In the world of computers, the kind of answers you get to your technical questions depends as much on the way you ask the questions as on the difficulty of developing the answer.

Use a title that will convey something to others. Just saying "help" or "firefox" makes it less likely your post will be read by the person who might have the answer.

<b>Be precise and informative about your problem:</b>

* Describe the symptoms of your problem or bug carefully and clearly.
* Describe the environment in which it occurs (machine, OS, application, whatever).
* Provide your vendor's distribution and release level.( XP SP2, Win98SE, Linux distro)
* Provide the version of Firefox you are using. Help>About.
* Describe the research you did to try and understand the problem before you asked the question.
* Describe the diagnostic steps you took to try and pin down the problem yourself before you asked the question.
* Describe any recent changes in your computer or software configuration that might be relevant.(including OS or Firefox security updates, adding extensions or themes,)
* Describe your knowledge/skill level with computers and of Firefox.


* Try posting in an existing thread about the same problem. If you need to post a new thread requesting support be sure you have done all of these steps, tell us you did so, what symptoms you are experiencing and then follow any directions we give you exactly. As you can see from reading some of the threads, people often ask for advice, then only do bits and pieces. This will not help you; and it will frustrate those trying to help and take more time than required for everyone involved. This is a user support forum, we all try to help out.

* If you don't understand the answer, do not immediately bounce back a demand for clarification. Use the same tools that you used to try and answer your original question (manuals/help, FAQs, the Web, skilled friends) to understand the answer. Then, if you still need to ask for clarification, exhibit what you have learned.

If you do not get an answer, please don't take it personally that no one was able to help you. Sometimes the members of the forum may simply not know the answer. No response is not the same as being ignored, though admittedly it's hard to spot the difference from outside.

In general, simply re-posting or double/cross posting your question is a bad idea.
This will be seen as pointlessly annoying. And will most likely get you ignored.

Original Article:How To Ask Questions The Smart Way Slightly modified for the Firefox Forum.
Last edited by craigevil on May 8th, 2005, 2:06 am, edited 4 times in total.

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