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Thread: Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

  1. #1

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    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    1) Don't Panic

    2) Take a deep breath...let it out, relax.

    3) Determine where the appropriate place to post is. If it's a VB question/problem, determine the VERSION of VB you are using. You have several choices: VB6 and older (this means VB1-6, including 3,4,5 and CCE)... and NOT the .NET versions. For .NET, there are separate sections. Once you figure out the appropriate version, be sure to note this in the post. For VB6 and older, add VB6 (or VB5, VB4 as appropriate) to the subject line. In .NET, there is a drop down next to the Subject for you to select the version.

    4) If you are using C#, post in the C# forum. There's also a version selection option in there too.

    5) For those with .NET questions, PLEASE post the framework version you are targeting. It makes a difference.
    to help, use this chart:
    VS2002/2003 - FW 1.0/1.1
    VS2005 - FW 2.0
    VS2008 - FW 2.0/3.0/3.5
    VS2010 - FW 2.0/3.0/3.5/4.0

    6) If a database is involved, post in the Database section. Include the above information, AND also the database type and version you are using. SQL Server, Oracle, Access, mySQL, etc.
    Also take a look at our Database FAQ & Tutorials Most of the commonly encountered problems are found here. Also, make sure you are using the right connection string. You can get that from here: http://www.connectionstrings.com

    7) When you enter the subject line... be descriptive, try to be clear, and describe your problem in 10 words or less. Do NOT use "please help" or "it's broke, help"... that doesn't tell us anything. Try things like "Connection to database failed" or "Login form fails user validation". "Problems in updating an access database" is a good example. Here's a good one, in the Office Dev section "[OUTLOOK] Trying to run a sub on send" ... the poster even included the Office app! Titles like "Searching Files" or "Event Trigger" don't help as much. Neither does "PHP VB.net". Remember the subject is your 3 second ad to get some one to help you, make it count. Otherwise we may assume that your problem is that you have eels in your hovercraft, and will respond accordingly.

    8) Now, you are into the post itself. Take a deep breath (yes, again)...let it out, relax.

    9) Show what code you do have, (be sure to use or tags as needed. Then explain, in clear sentences what you are struggling with and what the problem is. Statements like "I just need in the login window users default nick is student and pass is student, and for the admin section admin admin" don't help... that doesn't tell us what the problem is. Statements like "It needs to check the username and password against a users table in the database, and I can't figure out how to get the data from the database" does tell us. And it might be that we point you to a link or two... read through the linked material. Do your best, then come back with "I tried, x, y, z... and it didn't seem to work." and explain what errors you are getting or what you expected to happen that didn't. Or explain what did happen that shouldn't have happen. If there is dat involved, please supply some sample data, actual if you can. Include screenshots if you can. Add them to your post as an attachment. Using things like imageshack is fine, but not everyone will be able to get to it, if it's at VBF, then vieweres will at least have a chance at being able to see it.

    10) Be honest, let people know that if it is part of the assignment. If the instructor has given the OK to get help from places like this, note that. But at the same time, realize that no one is going to do your assignment for you. Please put SOME effort in to it first. Then follow step 9 above. We are here to HELP, not to do.

    11) BEFORE you hit submit, MAKE sure the post is in the right spot. Places to NOT post your problems include Code Bank, Project Requests, or Utility Bank. You post in there and odds are you won't get much help (at least until someone finds the lost post and moves it.)

    11) Keep in mind that support here is voluntary, and something people do in their spare time, so it's possible that there may be times when a post doesn't get any hits for a while. Don't bump your thread. You can add to the post or reply to your own post if more information becomes available. But don't bump it just to keep it on the first page. Granted if a REASONABLE amount of time has past, like 12 hours or a day or two, then a bump might be acceptable. But if at all possible, don't bump for the sake of bumping.

    12) Be kind, rewind. Check back on your posts, often more info is requested and it goes unanswered, which just leads to many un-informed, or speculative postings, which just may confuse things in the long run.

    13) When you do get your solution, thank those involved, rep those that you think deserve it, and mark the thread as Resolved. You can do that by clicking "Thread Tools" at the top of the thread and select "Mark as Resolved". This helps us know that the problem is closed, and speeds up the process as then we can skip over it when looking for posts to help with. It will also help other users who use the search function for something. With a clear subject line, if it has been marked, it signifies that a solution to their problem might be found in there.

    14) If you solve the problem on your own, please reply back with what you found was the problem and HOW you fixed. this goes back to helping the next person that comes along. Don't just reply back with "Found problem, fixed it." and nothing else.

    15) If you post a thread, then realize after the fact that it is in the wrong spot, let a mod know, and they will move it for you. To do this, click the warning image next to your post, and "Report the thread". In the box that comes up, explain that you accidentally posted in the wrong forum, and could it be moved to "X y Z location".

    16) Now for the DO NOTS: DO NOT cross post or write multiple posts. IF YOU ARE NEW to VBF, your first few posts MUST be approved before they can be posted. So don't fret if you don't see your post right away. Multiple posts just confuse us and split the answers, creating more havok. DO NOT post a C# question in the VB section simply because VB gets more traffic - it is VB Forum after all - respect the categories and forums setup. If I go searching for an answer to a C# question, I'm looking in the C# forum, not VB, so intentionally posting in the wrong forum is just bad juju. DO NOT use texting language when posting your problems. Most of us will make allowances for people whose first language isn't English, but for those who it is, you're not typing into a 2" screen, or posting on IM. You are in a forum, there's no need to rush. Take a moment to type things out. Nthng Is MoRe AnnyING thn TxT tht Is In Rndm CaSE n MissGN Ltrs.

    17) Remember we are here to help. Help us help you.

    -tg
    * I don't respond to private (PM) requests for help. It's not conducive to the general learning of others.*
    * I also don't respond to friend requests. Save a few bits and don't bother. I'll just end up rejecting anyways.*
    * How to get EFFECTIVE help: The Hitchhiker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF - Removing eels from your hovercraft *
    * How to Use Parameters * Create Disconnected ADO Recordset Clones * Set your VB6 ActiveX Compatibility * Get rid of those pesky VB Line Numbers * I swear I saved my data, where'd it run off to??? *

  2. #2
    PowerPoster keystone_paul's Avatar
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    Re: Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    Can I just expand a bit on point 9 :

    Please don't just say "this doesn't work" - if the code won't compile at all, or if it will run but raises an exception please say which it is (design time error or run time error), exactly what the exception is, and on which line it fails. If it doesn't raise any errors then explain what you were expecting to happen, and what actually happens (if anything).
    Last edited by keystone_paul; Jul 18th, 2009 at 06:35 AM.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator si_the_geek's Avatar
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    Re: Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    Lots of good advice there, I think you've covered almost everything (including things I'd have missed out, like imageshack).

    It's a shame there is so much text to read, but not much can be done about that really.

    I'd be tempted to split it in to sections (perhaps things like "Picking where to post", "Writing your post", "After you've posted", and "When you've got a solution"), and use bullet points/indenting in a few places (like the .Net framework).
    Quote Originally Posted by techgnome View Post
    11) ...Granted if a REASONABLE amount of time has past, like 12 hours or a day or two, then a bump might be acceptable.
    A better guideline would be 2 days - a bump after a day or less is likely to be deleted.
    15) ...To do this, click the warning image next to your post, and "Report the thread".
    They can't do that unfortunately - it is only there for other peoples posts.

    New members also can't use PM's either, so there isn't a simple way for the poster themselves to deal with it.

  4. #4
    PowerPoster RhinoBull's Avatar
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    Re: Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    Quote Originally Posted by techgnome View Post
    14) If you solve the problem on your own, please reply back with what you found was the problem and HOW you fixed. this goes back to helping the next person that comes along. Don't just reply back with "Found problem, fixed it." and nothing else.
    TG - fantastic post!

    In addition I would encourage not to modify your original post by simply hitting the "edit" button and replacing original text and/or tittle with something like "Problem solved. Delete this thread.".
    Although (thanks to new post history functionality) original text can be restored it might create more work for mods and after all I'm not sure if that would even be ethical...

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    I would say that a bump after the post has fallen off the first page is justified. I'm not sure how many people dig deeper than the first page, but my official poll (N=1) suggests that it is not common. Therefore, if you are not on the first page, you won't get many eyeballs, and the more eyeballs, the more likely you are to get an answer.
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  6. #6
    Super Moderator si_the_geek's Avatar
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    Re: Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    If a moderator thinks a bump is done too soon, they will delete the bump post and warn the poster. Multiple warnings (for any mixture of reasons on that kind of scale) can result in a ban.

    We have a rough guideline for 'acceptable' bump time that was based on the opinions of many forum members, and the desire to stop bump-races when multiple people try to keep their thread on the first page. Due to there being multiple people on the moderating staff (who each have varying moods etc), exactly how we each apply the "time limit" can differ - but less than 24 hours is taking a risk.
    Quote Originally Posted by RhinoBull View Post
    I'm not sure if that would even be ethical...
    I'm with you on that... The first rule in the AUP basically allows us to, but I wouldn't be comfortable doing it.

  7. #7

    Thread Starter
    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    This was a post that was a long time in comming actualy. I only just now found the time to put it all together. I'd seen a similar post on a different forum - which is where I got the eels in the hovercraft reference. It also seeemed like there was a huge spate of homework type of questions lately (tech schools term ending soon?)

    Si - Breaking it up is a good idea. I'll work on that over the next couple of days. I originally didn't intend for it to be so long - the original concept for the posting was 10 simple rules/guidelines, it got out of hand as I kept adding things.

    shaggy - that's usually the reason for people bumping, and that's fine, but in some of the more active forums, there are days when it's busy enough that things get bumped within a couple of hours.

    -tg
    * I don't respond to private (PM) requests for help. It's not conducive to the general learning of others.*
    * I also don't respond to friend requests. Save a few bits and don't bother. I'll just end up rejecting anyways.*
    * How to get EFFECTIVE help: The Hitchhiker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF - Removing eels from your hovercraft *
    * How to Use Parameters * Create Disconnected ADO Recordset Clones * Set your VB6 ActiveX Compatibility * Get rid of those pesky VB Line Numbers * I swear I saved my data, where'd it run off to??? *

  8. #8

    Thread Starter
    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    I forgot to mention as part of #9, if you have an error, please note WHICH line in the code is the error (highlighting in red is a good idea) and note WHAT the error is.

    -tg
    * I don't respond to private (PM) requests for help. It's not conducive to the general learning of others.*
    * I also don't respond to friend requests. Save a few bits and don't bother. I'll just end up rejecting anyways.*
    * How to get EFFECTIVE help: The Hitchhiker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF - Removing eels from your hovercraft *
    * How to Use Parameters * Create Disconnected ADO Recordset Clones * Set your VB6 ActiveX Compatibility * Get rid of those pesky VB Line Numbers * I swear I saved my data, where'd it run off to??? *

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    Re: Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    Fantastic list, just a few things.
    1. You have two point 11's
    2. For the first point 11 you say before you submit, make sure the post is in the right spot, It seems to me this is a duplicate of point three.
    3. There is a Preview Post option, I think if anyone is posting Links, Pics etc they should use this to make sure the links work, and the Pics can be seen.
    4. On the subject of bumping I would suggest that an indication you have tried things would be better than a straight bump.
    5. Tags - These are new(ish) to the forum, can you think of any guidelines for using them.
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  10. #10

    Thread Starter
    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    #1 & #2 - doesn't surprise me... I kept moving things around... version 2.0 should be better organized.

    3 - That's all fine and dandy and YOU can see the images... doesn't mean I can... I'm often behind a firewall that blocks things like imageshack or photobucket... so images there don't do me any good. But I can at least get to ones hosted at VBF... That was kind of the point that I was trying to make... not everyone can see the attachments, depending on where they are hosted.

    4 - I thought I touched on that, but regardless, that's a good point.

    5 - That's an odd ball... I'm not a big fan of tagging, because people tag the same thing differently. The advantage of tagging is that it can cross areas. Something that is in VB6 and dealing with a database, goes in the database forum, but can be tagged with "VB6" and "database" ... which brings up a question - does the forum search use the tags when it does a search? I'll have to ask. This is something I'll definately consider.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    -tg
    * I don't respond to private (PM) requests for help. It's not conducive to the general learning of others.*
    * I also don't respond to friend requests. Save a few bits and don't bother. I'll just end up rejecting anyways.*
    * How to get EFFECTIVE help: The Hitchhiker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF - Removing eels from your hovercraft *
    * How to Use Parameters * Create Disconnected ADO Recordset Clones * Set your VB6 ActiveX Compatibility * Get rid of those pesky VB Line Numbers * I swear I saved my data, where'd it run off to??? *

  11. #11
    Pro Grammar chris128's Avatar
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    Re: Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    does the forum search use the tags when it does a search
    I assumed it did, otherwise whats the point of them?
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    Re: Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    Hi TG,

    There are two reasons for suggesting the use of Preview Post. I have sometimes come
    across links that people have put in which do not work, not because the site referenced
    is down, but because the poster made a mistake in their link. The second reason is to allow the poster to see if the Image they are referencing will be too large, I personally get irritated if someone has attached an Image which necessitates the use of horizontal
    scroll bars, especially if they could have cropped, or re-sized the image.

    Something else that I have just thought of, I think that there are certain restrictions on
    attachments, not just the size, but also the files in a Zip.
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    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
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    Re: Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    I would also encourage the use of the Preview Post feature so that people can actually read their post themselves before submitting. I see some seriously incoherent posts that have obviously been written as stream of consciousness rather than had any real thought put into them. People need to read what they've written to see if it makes sense. I know that not everyone speaks English as a first language but, people, learn to use punctuation! As tg said, there's no time constraints on posting here as there is with IM and there's no size constraints like there is with TXT so there's no excuse for not writing properly, which includes punctuation and appropriate character casing.

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    Frenzied Member Campion's Avatar
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    Re: Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    Quote Originally Posted by jmcilhinney View Post
    As tg said, there's no time constraints on posting here. . . .
    There are with certain members (and they shall remain un-named.)
    From my burrow, 2 feet under.

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    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
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    Re: Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    Quote Originally Posted by Campion View Post
    There are with certain members (and they shall remain un-named.)
    If you post fully and clearly in the first place then, on average, you'll end up saving time because more people are likely to answer your question and they will be less likely to have to ask for clarification or additional information. The difference between a 30 second sloppy post that no-one can read and a 2 minute clear post is negligible in and of itself, while it will often save time for everyone in the long run. It would ceratinly save me time because then I wouldn't feel the need to post "Please provide a full and clear description of your problem" so often.

  16. #16
    Frenzied Member Campion's Avatar
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    Re: Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    Quote Originally Posted by jmcilhinney View Post
    It would ceratinly save me time because then I wouldn't feel the need to post "Please provide a full and clear description of your problem" so often.
    That, and "What do you mean you don't understand? Did you even try what I said?"
    From my burrow, 2 feet under.

  17. #17

    Thread Starter
    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: Removing Eels in your Hovercraft - The Hitchhicker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF

    If anyone from this thread is interested.... the latest version is up:
    http://www.vbforums.com/showthread.php?t=585094

    -tg
    * I don't respond to private (PM) requests for help. It's not conducive to the general learning of others.*
    * I also don't respond to friend requests. Save a few bits and don't bother. I'll just end up rejecting anyways.*
    * How to get EFFECTIVE help: The Hitchhiker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF - Removing eels from your hovercraft *
    * How to Use Parameters * Create Disconnected ADO Recordset Clones * Set your VB6 ActiveX Compatibility * Get rid of those pesky VB Line Numbers * I swear I saved my data, where'd it run off to??? *

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