Forum Etiquette: How to post data/code on a forum to get the best help

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 994261

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item Forum Etiquette: How to post data/code on a forum to get the best help

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
    "If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."--Red Adair
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not."
    When you put the right degree of spin on it, the number 3|8 is also a glyph that describes the nature of a DBAs job. 😉

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 994261

    Heh... guess I hit someone's "sweet" spot... got 1 vote with 1 star so far and they didn't even take the time to post what their complaint was 😀

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
    "If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."--Red Adair
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not."
    When you put the right degree of spin on it, the number 3|8 is also a glyph that describes the nature of a DBAs job. 😉

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • Mike C

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 23224

    Hey Jeff, people trying to get answers in the newsgroups can certainly learn from your experience. The only thing I would add is that it also helps if people post expected results (the explanations aren't always clear) and the thing about cross-posting to multiple newsgroups instead of posting the same question to 10 different newsgroups 10 different times.

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 994261

    Thanks for the feedback, Mike.

    Yep... folks on news groups could learn a thing or two about how to post questions, as well. Some folks just don't understand how much better an answer you can get if you post some easy to use test data.

    And, I absolutely agree... post on one thread and post some expected results to go along with the data.

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
    "If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."--Red Adair
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not."
    When you put the right degree of spin on it, the number 3|8 is also a glyph that describes the nature of a DBAs job. 😉

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • Bad dog

    Old Hand

    Points: 367

    Hi Jeff

    You raise a point that goes beyond just posting on forums - In the general office situation this is also common: People ask questions without being clear and actually expect you to write their code for them. Worse still, they hold you accountable if it doesn't work. It never ceases to amaze me how people who don't have a clue would sooner spend an entire day trying to get someone else to solve their problem than spend the day doing some research to figure out and understand SQL better (and there is no shortage of fantastic resources: books online, books from Amazon etc.)

    In the office situation, I've resorted to giving answers like "You could probably solve this using the DateDiff function, you can read up on how it works in books online" - point someone in the right direction but don't write the code for them. This way they have to figure it out for themselves and be accountable for their solution, and they are far less likely to ask you the same question again in a weeks time.

    Its a sad truth that there are people out there who claim to be programmers when all they can do is copy code off the web and don't really understand the fundamentals of programming.

    I couldn't agree more with your statement that if you don't take your code / problem seriously, why would anyone else.

  • Phil Factor

    SSCoach

    Points: 19823

    I couldn't agree more with Jeff. I really enjoy solving problems if they are well presented, and loathe doing so if the problem is badly expressed. What irritates me is when a question can be answered by anyone by a simple search on the internet.

    It is a really good habit to take care and thought in describing a problem. I suspect that the very process of presenting and describing a problem often makes the solution suddenly pop into the head.

    Best wishes,
    Phil Factor
    Simple Talk

  • Gail Shaw

    SSC Guru

    Points: 1004424

    Nice. I'm also a little tired of people looking for a free lunch.

    Problem is, those who need it most will likely not be the people who read it.

    Gail Shaw
    Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server, MVP, M.Sc (Comp Sci)
    SQL In The Wild: Discussions on DB performance with occasional diversions into recoverability

    We walk in the dark places no others will enter
    We stand on the bridge and no one may pass
  • Doug Wittich-466168

    SSC Rookie

    Points: 37

    My pet peeve besides those given already: Poor choice of subject. So many "Newbie needs help" and "help me" threads abound. I'd much rather see a topical subject.

  • Jason Selburg

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 24560

    My fingers are crossed that people actually read this article!

    Maybe get Steve to include something like this in the new user sign-up... 😀

    ______________________________________________________________________

    Personal Motto: Why push the envelope when you can just open it?

    If you follow the direction given HERE[/url] you'll likely increase the number and quality of responses you get to your question.

    Jason L. Selburg
  • Bob Fazio

    SSChampion

    Points: 10684

    You realize that the only ones who will read that article are those that know how to post 🙁 However, is it just me or did Jeff's post of the "Bad Code" not show up? Had a slider, but no code.

  • Opus

    Default port

    Points: 1419

    As someone who generally posts more questions than answers, I thought this was a great article. Any way to make this required reading before someone creates their first post? This would have saved me a lot of time and those answering my questions, as you stated. Nicely done.

  • Loner

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 21279

    Actually I tried to answer that question, it was quite a challenge !!!

    Sometimes it is hard to write a question, I read a question that is a page long with tables and query and everything, I just don't have patience to read a page long question.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 715079

    We can recommend it, but not sure many people will read it. Lots of people want to get an answer, post quickly, don't think about reading anything, including the sign-up screen. 🙂

    Great article, Jeff!

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 994261

    You raise a point that goes beyond just posting on forums - In the general office situation this is also common:

    Funny that you should mention that, Bad Dog... We've been having a bit of a debate on one of the threads about the differences between a "Programmer", a "Good Programmer", and a "Great Programmer". I think you've identified a couple of areas we missed 🙂

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
    "If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."--Red Adair
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not."
    When you put the right degree of spin on it, the number 3|8 is also a glyph that describes the nature of a DBAs job. 😉

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • Marie Wilkinson

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 178

    I've never posted a problem because I have been too intimidated so this was a wonderful 'how-to'. Thanks.

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