How to Help Us Help You

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ChilDawg

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GobyGuy5, it would probably be even more helpful there! Anyone up for making it a sticky there?
 

OrionGirl

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Aug 14, 2001
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Just a few points that should be taken to heart.

If you have no intention of taking any advice offered here, don't ask the question. Doing so repeatedly will not give you a good reputation.

If you have already decided on a course of action that has not gotten any support from experienced members, do not be surprised if you get heckled when you post about your methods failure.
 

OrionGirl

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Originally posted by OrionGirl

3) Use the appropriate forum for your thread. There are different expectations in the Newbie forums than the general forums.
To expand on this--choose ONE forum that is appropriate for your specific question. Please do not post the same question in multiple forums. This serves little purpose, since it does not mean you will get more/better responses, and the responses you do get will be spread out instead of confined to one location. If you post the same question in many locations, do not be surprised if all but one are locked, with a reference to that one in each.
 

TPIRman

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Mar 5, 2004
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I've only been on the board for a short time, but I can wholeheartedly make one more recommendation to help-seekers: use proper spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. Read over your message before you post it to the board. In the worst cases, it seems like people have typed up their stream of consciousness and left others to make sense of it!

It takes twice the time and effort to slog through a sloppy post than it does to read a carefully written one. If you can't take a few minutes to write your message clearly, others may be less inclined to spend their time figuring out what you meant and trying to solve your problem. Or, even worse, they may not know for sure what your problem is! Sometimes it's nearly impossible to discern someone's trouble through all the misspellings and forgotten half-sentences.

You don't have to be the poet laureate of Aquaria Central; just hit the "Preview Reply" button and spend a moment to edit your message. It is tough to slow down when you are desperate to help your fish, but present your question clearly, and you will get more helpful responses.
 

OrionGirl

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Sorry, while many will agree with you, discouraging someone from posting because they are a poor speller or typist doesn't fly. I know many people who just are not fluent communicators with the written word, and as frustrating as it may be for others, they are as welcome here as those who can make a descriptionof the nitrogen cycle flow like the best of prose.

If you choose not to read through the poorly written posts, that's your choice.
 

aquariumfishguy

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Jul 14, 2003
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OG- thats a good point, one worth taking note of. People wont stop coming here just because of spelling issues and while we do have to put up with it, TPIRman also made good sense.

Theres nothing worse than reading a bunch of typos. I make plenty of them, as I type faster than I think sometimes (I believe thats studdering in vocal terms!) and that gets me messed up.

:p
 

TPIRman

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OG is quite right that we shouldn't discourage people who might not be confident in their communication skills from posting. I would never want to exclude anyone. I am no Hemingway, myself, or otherwise I would have made my original point better! :)

I don't think asking people to click "Preview Reply" and look over their message discourages questions, any more than asking people to search the forums before posting discourages people who don't know how to work the search feature, or asking for tank parameters discourages people who haven't the slightest notion of what nitrites and nitrates are. This is a casual Internet message board, and nobody is expecting Pulitzer-prize material.

The title of this sticky is "How to Help Us Help You." The fact of the matter is, if you take an extra moment to look your post over and make sure you've expressed your problem clearly, you will get better help. It is easy to verify this with a quick browse through the archives -- messages written with care get more responses. I don't think this is because of elitism -- I certainly would try to help messy and clean posters alike -- it's just easier to answer a question when you know exactly what a person is experiencing! Nor do I blame anyone for posting a messy question -- it is hard to think straight when your fish are in trouble. That's why it can be important to spend that extra moment to get your thoughts in order. Just like the ambulance gets there faster if you speak slowly and clearly to the 911 operator, one way to "help us help you" is to put together a lucid, informative post.

I'm sorry that my initial post may have come off as elitist. I didn't intend to even suggest excluding anybody. I wish, however, that instead of being told that my comment "doesn't fly" and being told, "If you choose not to read poorly written posts, that's your choice," I could have been approached in a more courteous, less confrontational manner. OG's post, ironically enough, did not make me feel very welcome. I appreciate respectful disagreement. When I am trying to make a helpful contribution to the AC community, I don't deserve a curt reprimand.
 

RTR

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Oct 5, 1998
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I'll throw in a few points in support, and a few from a grouchy old crab...

Thread titles are key to me. I spend a good bit of time on-line, but busy forums such as AC have massive numbers of posts per day. There is no way that I can or would consider reading everything that comes up with VNP. Thread titles that say "Help" plus assorted exclamation points are never opened. If the title is something I some experience with, I am likely to open it to try to help. If the title is something I don't know, then I don't need to feel any guilt about skipping.

I don't want to stop anyone from posting because of spelling and grammar, and I make many typos myself. But if the post is stream of consciousness, I hit the return button.

Any information the poster can give is valuable - if they have no test kits, it is good to say so. If the tank is "new" or even "young", say so. If the tank has been up x years, great, let us know that. The full stock of fish and tank size are equally valuable.

But as has already been said in this thread - if you care enough to ask, and folks care enough to respond, PLEASE give feed-back. Threads appear regularly and though the regulars may get into handling debates, the original poster is never heard from again.
 
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