View Single Post
Old 10-14-2009, 04:21 PM
C K Dexter Haven is offline
Right Hand of the Master
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Chicago north suburb
Posts: 16,078
Courtesy of 633squadron:

I see an emerging standard for tech support questions posted to forums. This standard has been motivated by the explosive growth of open-source software, which is primarily supported by a community of developers:
  • Use a simple statement of the problem as your thread title: "Checkboxes don't work right in Excel"
  • State your platform
  • State which version of the platform (Windows XP Service Pack 2)
  • Give a complete statement of the problem: "When I create a checkbox in a worksheet and then try to click it, it opens it for editing instead of setting or clearing it"
  • List the steps to reproduce the problem.
  • List error messages in their entirety. Be ready to post/e-mail error logs.
  • List any documentation you've read.
  • List any steps you've tried to fix the problem.
  • If you get a reply that works for you, post a response and tell everyone.
  • If the advice you get doesn't work, post a polite reply saying that it didn't work, and be specific.

Some things not to do:
  • Don't ask for a personal e-mail. Responders may not want to do that, and you're shutting everyone else out of reading the solution.
  • Even if it is urgent, don't say you need the fix ASAP. You'll get it when you get it.
  • Don't be rude or argumentative, even if you get flamed. Just walk away.

Some things to remember:
  • Respondents are using their own time to learn about the product and help you as well. Be considerate.
  • Very few programs are intuitive or easy to use. You have to do some reading and learning to get all the ins and outs. If a respondent tells you to read something, read it. They're not blowing you off; they're trying to be efficient with their time and with yours.
  • Try the help first, and also try reading online. Microsoft software is not always easy to use, but their help is darn good and their website is first-class (IMHO). Particularly with error messages, do a search on the program's web site. This goes double for error numbers.
  • If something doesn't work the way you think it should, first read the online help or documentation to see how it's supposed to work.
Thanks, 633squadron! Nice concise instructions!

Last edited by C K Dexter Haven; 10-14-2009 at 04:22 PM. Reason: Combined threads -- CKDH