Hitchhiker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF - How to remove eels from your hovercraft.-VBForums
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Thread: Hitchhiker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF - How to remove eels from your hovercraft.

  1. #1

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    Lightbulb Hitchhiker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF - How to remove eels from your hovercraft.

    So you're working on a project, you've just done something and it's gone bad. Or, you need to do something, you have an idea what, but are not sure how to go about getting it done. Or maybe you're just starting out, and want to learn how to do something for the first time. That's great, you're in the right place. Here's some tips to help you get help on VBForums. Please note, this is geared towards development/programing issues. For hardware/PC/OS difficulties, you're on your own.

    The Guide has been broken up into several section:
    Before You Post – things you need to know before you start
    Picking Where to Post – maximize your exposure
    Writing Your Post – take advantage of the exposure
    After You Have Posted – the feed and caring of your post
    When You Get Replies – take care of your neighbors
    When You Have a Solution – like the Oscars, thank those that helped
    When Posting Goes Wrong – sometimes don't go according to plan
    When All is Said and Done – parting words

    =====
    Addendum. This is a work in progress, and is the culmination of work from various sources. Thanks to all who have given their input, especially those from the last version of this guide. Your inputs have proven invaluable.
    I will do my best to make sure this document/thread remains relevant and accurate.
    Last edited by techgnome; Sep 22nd, 2009 at 03:10 PM.
    * 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

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    Before you post

    Before You Post

    First, don't panic. Take a deep breath and let it out, relax. With this guide, a little bit of your time, and yes, some patience, you'll get through this.
    Next, you'll need to collect some data for us. This will allow us to determine the best way to help. The following short survey will help:
    Language: This is the programing language, not your speaking language. Ex. VB, PHP, C#, C++, etc.

    Version: VB3, VB4, etc. If using VB.NET, what Framework (1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0) are you using, and what version of Visual Studio – include if it is the Express edition or not.

    Database: Is there a database involved? What database are you using? Access, MySQL, MSSql/SQL Server, Oracle, etc. Also what version of the database are you using? Is the problem connecting, or running a query?

    Office Application: If the problem is in an Office Application, let us know, and also what version it is (Note: If it is an office application, then the answer to survey item 1 is “VBA”)

    Application Type: If it isn't an Office Application, then is it a Windows App? A web app? Console? Service?

    Deployment Method: Having a problem deploying your application? What method are you using? ClickOnce? Third party? Setup project? Package & Deployment Wizard tool?

    Additional Information: Error description, screen shots, sample data, actions to reproduce the problem. It's amazing how valuable stuff like that is.
    Once you have collected all of the above information, or as much of it as relevant, it's time to post.
    Last edited by techgnome; Sep 22nd, 2009 at 03:11 PM.
    * 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??? *

  3. #3

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    Picking where to post

    Picking Where to Post
    The number one way to ensure that you are going to get the best kind of help is to post in the correct place. If you post in the wrong place, it will either not get seen, or it will get seen by the wrong people.

    First, a quick word about where to not post. Don't post in the CodeBank. The CodeBank is for sharing pieces of code that others may find useful. A good place to search for a solution, sure, but not a good place to post looking for help. Same thing with the UtilityBank. The UtilityBank is for sharing complete programs and utilities. Again, might be a good place to search, but not a good place to post. Projects, Jobs, Community – each of these has their own use, and shouldn't be used for eliciting help.

    Going back the survey you filled out in the last section. You did fill it out, right? This is going to help define the proper place to put your post.

    If the problem involves a database, you may want to first check out the
    If you can't decide where to post, pick the one place that is closest to the problem. If it turns out it is in the wrong place, some one will move it to where it should be. But do NOT rely on this to happen. Again, if it's in the wrong place, the wrong people are going to see it, and it may not get reported as needing to be moved.
    Last edited by techgnome; Sep 22nd, 2009 at 03:11 PM.
    * 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??? *

  4. #4

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    Writting your post

    Writing Your Post

    Once you have decided where to post, it is time to actually write the post. The single most important part of this is the subject line. This is your one chance, in a dozen words or less to grab some one's attention. 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" or “I'm a noob”... that doesn't tell us anything. You might as well use “I've got eels in my hovercraft.” Titles like "Searching Files" or "Event Trigger" don't help as much. Neither does "PHP VB.net". And yes, those are actual subject lines that have been spotted.

    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!

    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.

    Now for the meat of the posting, the post itself. Be clear in your explanations. In full sentences explain 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. No one will know where to start. Except to maybe point you at this document. If however, you state "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" then that explains what the problem is, and some one will be able to point you in the right direction.

    This is the place where that information from the survey above comes in handy. List out what you are trying to accomplish. Tell us what is happening. Tell us what isn't happening. What is the error you are getting? Does something happen that shouldn't? Is something not happening that should? If you can, copy the error message and post it.

    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.

    Include the relevant code. Put [code][/code] or [highlight=vb][/highlight] tags around them. That will preserver the tabbing and indents and spacing in the code. Makes it readable. People are going to be more likely to help if they can actually read your code. Be sure to point out which line the error is happening on. You can do this with “It happens where the 'If some_condition....' is” or “it happens on line 42” (ONLY use this IF you use the highlight tags, no one is going to count out 42 lines), or within the code itself, highlight the line using the [color][/color] tag (hint, RED is a good color, yellow isn't).

    If you can, include screen shots. If at all possible, use the Attachment tool of the forums to include them. Some people will try to host the images at places like imageshack, but some people are also behind firewalls, making such images unavailable. Images attached and hosted at VBF are more likely to be seen by everyone.

    DETAILS, DETAILS, DETAILS. This cannot be stressed enough, the more information you provide to us, the more we can help you. We are not mind readers. No one is sure where that rumor started, but it is simply not true. We do not have a secret ActiveX Brain Widgets installed, we cannot see what's going on over there. We rely on you to provide as much information as you can.

    Once you have included everything, PREVIEW your post. Make sure links to anything you provided work. Check spelling. Does the code you provided look OK? Double check to make sure you are in the correct forum.

    Taking the extra couple of minutes to make sure your posting is correct and includes all relevant information, will save time later on. Then we wouldn't feel the need to post "Please provide a full and clear description of your problem".

    Something to keep in mind. We do not help people with their homework or assignments. It's an unspoken rule at VBF. We will help with specific questions, but do not post something expecting people to just cough up code. At least make an attempt on your own. If the post even remotely smells like an assignment, it will get noted, and you may find replies drying up. If you have made a reasonable attempt, and are till having problems, please own up to it that it is an assignment. You may not get the answer directly, but people will be more than happy to help point you in the right direction and provide guidance in solving the problem.

    Now post it.
    Last edited by techgnome; Sep 22nd, 2009 at 03:11 PM.
    * 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??? *

  5. #5

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    After you have posted

    After You Have Posted

    This is the hard part. The waiting. None of us likes to wait. Especially when we are looking for an answer. Keep in mind with the exception of a couple of people, everyone at VBF is a volunteer. We do this on our own time, pulling from our own experiences. This means you could have a reply in minutes. Or it could be hours. Or, yes, it could be days.

    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.

    When to bump. Give it some time. Don't bump just after a few hours. Generally speaking, it's acceptable to bump if it has not received any replies in over 24 hours. So give it a day.
    Last edited by techgnome; Sep 22nd, 2009 at 03:12 PM.
    * 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??? *

  6. #6

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    When you get replies

    When You Get Replies

    If all goes well, you will be getting replies, and hopefully fairly quick. Same rules for replies apply to the original posting. Be clear. Did you try what the replier suggested? Did it work? Did it not work? Again, details, details, details.

    Also keep in mind that sometimes when you get several people trying to help, that conversations can get mixed. Address the person in the other posts. Use the “@” to show that it's directed at them: “@si – yeah, I tried that, but I still got access denied.” That will cut down on the "What do you mean you don't understand? Did you even try what I said?"replies.

    If after a couple of postings, the code has changed, post the new code. Give updates on changes.
    Last edited by techgnome; Sep 22nd, 2009 at 03:12 PM.
    * 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??? *

  7. #7

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    When you have a solution

    When You Have a Solution

    If at some point, you figure it out, do NOT, repeat, DO NOT, just edit your first post, delete everything and change it to “Never mind, I got it.” Really, unless there is a good reason, you shouldn't have to or need to edit your original post. Also do not just reply back with "Found problem, fixed it." and nothing else. Take a penny, give a penny. If you figure out your solution to it, post the solution. It just might save some one else down the road when they have the same or similar problem.

    Your post got some replies, there has been some discussions. And now, it all works! Great! Congratulations! Way to go!

    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.
    Last edited by techgnome; Sep 22nd, 2009 at 03:12 PM.
    * 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

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    When Posting Goes Wrong

    When Posting Goes Wrong

    It happens. We're all human, and we don't always get it right. If you realized you posted in the wrong place, it's not the end of the world. PM a mod and ask that the thread be moved. Or, reply to your post and ask that it be moved.

    Do not cross post or double post. You will get half the answers in twice the number of places. People in one thread won't know about the replies in the other. Just maintain the one thread.

    Keep the thread to the problem in the original post. Once you've got your answer or solution, great, mark it resolved and move on. If you have more questions, ESPECIALLY if they are not directly related to the original posting, use a new thread. Nothing annoys people faster than when they see the title of a thread, start reading through the posts, find the answer half way down, and then three more rounds of discussions on other things.
    Last edited by techgnome; Sep 22nd, 2009 at 03:12 PM.
    * 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??? *

  9. #9

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    When All is Said and Done

    When All is Said and Done

    Remember we are here to help. Help us help you.
    Last edited by techgnome; Sep 22nd, 2009 at 03:12 PM.
    * 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??? *

  10. #10
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    Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF - How to remove eels from your hovercra

    @techgnome ya it helped me lot thanks...

  11. #11
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    Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF - How to remove eels from your hovercra

    Just a FYI. To remove eels from your hovercraft, fly inverted.

  12. #12
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    Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF - How to remove eels from your hovercra

    This is an odd forum with lots of people with disparate knowledge on subjects both about programming and about non-programming. The Chit-Chat section is mostly filled with inane drivel, but it also manages to occasionally dredge up a sharing of useful knowledge about obscure subjects. In this case, I can say that if you want to litteral about eels in your hovercraft, I can assert from personal experience that flying inverted is how the eels got into the craft in the first place. It happened to me one time, which really surprised me as I thought there were no eels in that water.

    However, that's what this thread is about. If you are clear in your question, you will get clear answers. If you are muddied in your question, the answer you get may have nothing to do with the question asked, even if the answer was in all seriousness.
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