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

  • Loner (11/27/2007)


    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.

    My preference is to have the question summarized first. Then break it into details. This gives the reader the ultimate goal upfront and if they're interested they can read further.

    ______________________________________________________________________

    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
  • I suspect that the very process of presenting and describing a problem often makes the solution suddenly pop into the head.

    Well said and absolutely true... the "Old School" method of writing down the steps to be done define the old "Divide and Conquer" method which is very effective in solving problems. Once done, those steps also make pretty good comments in the code.

    --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.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • in response to "Mr. or Mrs. 500"--

    it wasn't just you, i couldn't see the bad code example either. seems to happen quite frequently in these articles with code snippets...

    burke

    [font="Arial Narrow"]bc[/font]

  • GilaMonster (11/27/2007)


    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.

    Heh... I know exactly what you mean, Gail. I've even had people post that it's my job to give them an answer on the forum despite the fact they've posted no code and no data and the principle behind their question defies every good rule of RDBMS usage. Of course, if you ask them why they want to do such a {bad} thing so you can help them find a different/better way, they either get real indignent, provide correct but undetailed answers like "It's for a Report" or they simply go away.

    --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.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • Doug Wittich (11/27/2007)


    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.

    Spot on, Doug, a doubly appreciated (but I had to get that one out of my system 😀 )... I've got 3 more articles in the works (2 accepted but not scheduled and one 2-parter in the process of being written) that cover more topical topics like...

    Hidden RBAR: Triangular Joins

    Performance Tuning: Concatenation Functions and Some Tuning Myths

    Very High Speed Running Balances, Running Counts, Ranking, and Percentiles (this will be the 2 parter... haven't totally settled on the name, yet).

    But, I also remember when I was a "newbie" and, if I see that they're actually trying without the arrogance that some show, have a bit of a soft spot for them. Thought I'd post something to help the "good ones" get better answers to their questions. And... it wasn't just for newbies. Sure, it was for them and some of the people who regularly ask questions like the one in the article, but it was more for me... I've gotten pretty tired of spending more time setting up test data than it takes to solve a problem and I'm sure some of the other heavy hitters would agree with that! 🙂

    I'm hoping that some of them will actually take the time to post test data correctly so we don't have to spend so much time on not answering the question.

    --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.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • Very good article Jeff. Unfortuately, as others have mentioned, those who really need to read it won't, and if they do, they probably will ignore the advice.

    😎

  • Steve Jones - Editor (11/27/2007)


    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!

    Heh... thanks for the compliment, Steve. I'm afraid that you and a bunch of the other folks who have posted on this thread are correct. They just want an answer. They don't want to have to "think" about it never mind actually write a touch of code to get a better answer...

    ... but I had to try. 🙂

    --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.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • Marie Wilkinson (11/27/2007)


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

    Marie... you've just made this article worthwhile in my eyes. I hope it reaches a couple of more folks that were previously hesitant to ask good questions that deserve good answers on the forum.

    --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.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • I liked your SQL example. Inserts into tables with Identity columns can be challenging. So besides providing excellent advice on submitting forum questions you provide a flexible script for promoting table contents that involve identity and datetime columns.

    Thanks

    David Bird

  • Great article Jeff. I much prefer to spend my time answering a question and not coming up with test cases.

    Jeff Moden (11/27/2007)


    I suspect that the very process of presenting and describing a problem often makes the solution suddenly pop into the head.

    Well said and absolutely true... the "Old School" method of writing down the steps to be done define the old "Divide and Conquer" method which is very effective in solving problems. Once done, those steps also make pretty good comments in the code.

    Now its been awhile but as I recall this was one of the main ways to solve programming problems that I was taught in collage. It's amazing how quickly we stop

    doing the basics once we are out of collage.

    Kenneth FisherI was once offered a wizards hat but it got in the way of my dunce cap.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------For better, quicker answers on T-SQL questions, click on the following... http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Best+Practices/61537/[/url]For better answers on performance questions, click on the following... http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/SQLServerCentral/66909/[/url]Link to my Blog Post --> www.SQLStudies.com[/url]

  • I have only recently joined the forum and consider myself an intermediate sql developer (I'm getting back in the game after an hiatus).

    I thought that this input was so valuable that after bookmarking it, I saved it to a file. This kind of knowledge is gold and I appreciate your taking the time to share it.

    Just a thought. What about creating a "HOW TO POST" link with this information in a more formalized manner. It could be very effective in reducing what amount to spam postings. You might even direct all new and old members to it just one time to it to ensure that they see it. It's really that useful.

    Good stuff and a hearty thanks!:D

  • Kenneth Fisher (11/27/2007)


    Great article Jeff. I much prefer to spend my time answering a question and not coming up with test cases.

    Now its been awhile but as I recall this was one of the main ways to solve programming problems that I was taught in collage. It's amazing how quickly we stop

    doing the basics once we are out of collage.

    Exactly right, Ken... and thanks for the compliment.

    It's funny, this code thing... it reminds me, a lot, of "Drivers Ed" where we learn the proper way to drive a car, avoid accidents, and to not speed (remember the post-accident "gore" movies?). Some folks remember the lessons... others go out on the street crash'n'burn' or are in such a hurry, they forget the basics like using a turn signal... doesn't NEED to be done, but it makes you a better driver and decreases the chances of an accident.

    --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.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • Maybe you could comment on how to set off the code snippets with formatting like you used that allows scrolling. I haven't posted code on this forum before and am unfamiliar with the IFCode stuff.

    Thanks.

  • Jeffrey Schmidt (11/27/2007)


    I have only recently joined the forum and consider myself an intermediate sql developer (I'm getting back in the game after an hiatus).

    I thought that this input was so valuable that after bookmarking it, I saved it to a file. This kind of knowledge is gold and I appreciate your taking the time to share it.

    Just a thought. What about creating a "HOW TO POST" link with this information in a more formalized manner. It could be very effective in reducing what amount to spam postings. You might even direct all new and old members to it just one time to it to ensure that they see it. It's really that useful.

    Good stuff and a hearty thanks!:D

    Jeffrey, welcome back to SQL! And thanks for the great compliment! You and Marie have made my day!

    Steve... there's a thought... maybe a couple of us could get together and make a more technical layout of how to post and put in in the left side-bar and/or the Control Panel. Could also include tips on the IFCodes (I prepping a wish-list for Tony on some of the problems associated with those). Many folks wouldn't read it, but no one can read it if they can't find it. 😉

    --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.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • Good write up and I agree there are lots of things users can do to help get their questions answered more effectively, and I do agree that there is a percentage looking for the free lunch! On the other hand though, it's easy to forget/not understand that people asking questions for the first time are often embarrassed at having to ask, afraid they are asking a stupid question, perhaps under time pressure at work, or even new to the business. Im not saying that they shouldn't be capable of clearly framing a question, but clear to them and clear to us might be some span apart, and I like that this article addresses the differences.

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