Collected solutions to common problems: Getting Help At All
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Thread: Collected solutions to common problems: Getting Help At All

  1. #1
    Pedantic Curmudgeon Weedpacket's Avatar
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    Getting Help At All (in which Weedpacket nuts off)

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    We are human beings. We have lives of our own, priorities of our own, projects of our own, and problems of our own.

    We are not Google.

    We are happy to help. That is why we are here. It certainly isn't for the money.

    We do not exist to do your work for you.

    Being a "newbie" doesn't excuse you being clueless or from thinking. It just means that you're new to this PHP thing and don't yet know that much about what's going on (and means that maybe you should be in the Newbies' Forum, where we won't assume you're already experienced). It does not mean that you sold your brain for a handful of magic beans and now require written instructions on how to read.

    Or are now incapable of using the shift key. Sentences start with a capital letter! This is not IRC or ICQ or IM or AIM or whatever realtime chat thingy you play with (no-one's timing how fast you type). It's hard enough solving problems in PHP without having to decipher mangled English as well. I certainly have a hard time, and there are people here for whom English is not their first language. And if I sometimes have so much trouble that I give up I guess some of them do, too. Which is a pity, since they might have been able to help. English has rules about punctuation and grammar for a reason: it's the same reason why there are rules about which side of the road you are supposed to drive on. And if you can't think what that reason is and you think it's a good idea to drop all your punctuation or make up your own, try driving on the wrong side of the road for a while.

    I know for a fact that PHPBuilder's search engine is useless at understanding such jabber, so it also makes searching less useful.

    To those people for whom English is a foreign language, I can only offer this: English is - for better or worse - the de facto lingua Terra. Accidents of history (the British Empire, the U.S. free market) have made English the standard language for international communication. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, of course, and it is nice to have a common language. But I can tell you that I'd rather try and read something that has been run through a babelfish translator than some of the verbal sewage that some native English speakers seem to think is acceptable.

    If you can't be bothered writing sanely then why should anyone be bothered to read, let alone help? If your native language is too tough for you, what makes you think you'll be capable at PHP?

    If you have a question, this really isn't the first place to ask. No, really. The advertisers might not want me to say that, but it's true. "I need information on ...", "Can anyone tell me about ...", "Where can I find sites about..." all have the same answer: "Haven't you heard of Google yet?" Ask a machine first; machines are more patient and exist only to serve.

    You might have had trouble finding what you're looking for on Google or another search engine. Maybe not even the search engine site's tips on improved searching have helped. You've got the feeling you're looking for the wrong thing. It happens; the human race knows a lot more than any human, and it's all too easy to get lost in all that knowledge. It might be you don't know what terms to use: you don't know the word "pagination" or you've never heard of cron. That's fine; we can try and point you in the right direction.

    These forums aren't the only part of PHPBuilder. Look over the other parts of the site, particularly the articles.

    Make sure you're asking in the right forum. Javascript, CSS, HTML and other client-side issues have their own Clientside Technologies forum. Ask there. Database issues (SQL syntax, db design, etc.) are best addressed in the Database forum. The place for inquiries about the forums themselves is Feedback. Other subforums are also available. If your question isn't PHP-related, if it doesn't fit into one of those specialist forums, and if you don't want it to turn into a topic of idle chatter in the Echo Lounge, then the best thing you can do is go back to your search engine and try to find a more appropriate forum. Just think: there may be another forum out there full of experts on exactly your subject who will be able to give you the best help in the world with your problem. But if you post here, they won't see your post and you won't get their help. Who loses then?

    Speaking of forums, it's good etiquette to lurk and just read for a while before posting (or even before registering). Obviously you can't do this if you have a problem and you need help now, but if you can it's good to get a feel for the place, for how good or bad it is, whether it's relevant to you, whether the regular posters know what they're talking about (which is what you're after), and so on.

    This forum has a FAQ (it's one of the other stickies at the top of the thread listing. It's the one that has the word "FAQ" in its title). Check it. Most of the other forums have FAQs as well. Even the Echo Lounge has a FAQ - if you're wondering what editor to use for writing PHP in, go there.

    Use the "Search" link. Search these forums. Do that and you'll probably see so many posts from different people asking the same question and getting the same answers over and over in tones that will make it clear why you should have searched in the first place. Some of us get fed up with the never-ending repeats of the same question. Someone posts a question and gets an answer; five hours later someone else posts the same question (true story) - that someone else probably didn't even look at the first page of threads or they would have seen that their question was already there.

    Unless of course they did look, but the subject line was useless. "Please Help" is not a useful subject line. "Plz Hlppppp!!!" is not only useless but moronic. "URGENT!" is something we can't help you with. "PHP" is redundant (what else would it be about?) "Help" is redundant. "PROS!" (both kinds) expect to be paid for their work (P.S. PHPBuilder does not allow job postings; go to Freelancer for those). Throwing in lots of punctuation to make the line longer is just thick. They all waste space that could have been spent actually summarising the problem. Pro tip: The subject line should be a line giving the subject of the post. It's amazing how many people don't seem to realise this. You get 85 characters. Use them wisely.

    Some of us have bills to pay (we're not all still living with our parents). We've got cars that need refuelling, oiling, washing, registering, warranting, new tyres and windscreen wiper blades; we've got homes that are still owned by the bank; we've got computers that consume electricity at market rates. Some of us get the money to obtain these things by doing somewhere else the sort of thing we talk about doing here. If we do it here we don't get paid; it's charity. If you come here demanding that we write your code or script or site or whatever for free, then those of us who are professionals in the field take it as an insult: "what you do isn't important enough to be worth paying for, but do it anyway". It bloody well is worth paying for. If someone writes something and gives it away, they're perfectly free to do so (unless what they write is owned by their employer!) - I do it myself - but it's rude to expect them to so that you don't have to pay. Saying "please" doesn't soften it - it's the concept that's offensive, not the phrasing.

    In short: "No, we're not going to do your work for you."

    This forum exists to help you with your programming. If you're not interested in doing any programming, then this is the wrong forum for you. "Help" does not mean "Solve my problem for me". It means "Help me solve my problem". There is a difference.
    Last edited by Weedpacket; 03-12-2018 at 02:25 AM.
    FAQs! FAQs! FAQs! Most forums have them!
    Search - Debugging 101 - Collected Solutions - General Guidelines - Getting help at all

  2. #2
    Missing in Action LordShryku's Avatar
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    Amen brother, amen.

    Words to live by folks. Read this thread. Then go back to the top and read it again.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    in front of my monitor

    Thumbs up Important!!

    This is definately a MUST READ by all beginners and forum lurkers
    i like the one that say about the 'PLZ HELPPP' thread
    you hit it right between the eyes bro!!
    Shake it once thats fine . Shake it twice thats okay . Shake it three time, ur playin with yourself... again!

  4. #4
    Bright Member ahundiak's Avatar
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    Aug 2002
    v gd!!!

  5. #5
    code | beer > sleep
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    Sep 2002
    Weedpacket's New Year Resolution must be to go on a rampage of all the stupid, idiotic things people do on these boards

    Dont be lazy Search
    Use the Manual

  6. #6
    Settled 4 red convertible dalecosp's Avatar
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    Jul 2002
    Accelerating Windows at 9.81 m/s....
    <excuse the big bump ... felt a little strongly about this... besides, I had to look it up to give a ref to someone...>

    Hmm, I don't think so. Weed, for whatever foibles he may have, and I don't know him personally except for this site, seems to have a better, or higher, goal than that.

    He simply understands that, for the most part, people need to grow, and can't do so unless they do some things for themselves; basic things, like think for themselves, work for themselves, solve problems by themselves ...

    Just because we are "grownups" (well, most of us), doesn't mean that we are all "grown up..."
    Last edited by dalecosp; 05-24-2004 at 12:16 PM.
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    dalecosp "God doesn't play dice." --- Einstein "Perl is hardly a paragon of beautiful syntax." --- Weedpacket

    Getting Help at All --- Collected Solutions to Common Problems --- Debugging 101 --- Unanswered Posts --- OMBE: Office Machines, Business Equipment

  7. #7
    2($infinity) && $beyond BuzzLY's Avatar
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    i t0tly agree with all u said, weedpacket. bravo.

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  8. #8
    Pedantic Curmudgeon Weedpacket's Avatar
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    General Systems Vehicle "Running Gear"

    Ten Good and Ten Bad Subject Lines

    I finally remembered to do this. Dug around for examples of what a dumb subject line looks like, and also ten examples of what a good subject line looks like. Nothing to do with the content of the threads themselves, so no links (plus, it's to protect the guilty). So if you've stumbled on this post because you were searching for something that appears in these subject lines, Oops

    But they are genuine subject lines, so you can search for the entire subject line and restrict the engine to search subject titles only. You'll be sure to find the real post.

    The Good:
    • Form action redirects to index instead of included page
    • File Manipulation - mantain .htacces user validation for file ownership management [but it's a pity about the misspelling]
    • Retreiving Passed Variables with Spaces in the Name [ditto]
    • view source code of php on client side
    • confusion with slashes in regular expressions
    • How can I censor out a banned word in a topic title?
    • small script I wrote is breaking scripts that call it in an include
    • passing a variable to another script from a script run by cron
    • Getting form data when fields names unknown
    • Refreshing / Reloading a web page to clear the cache

    (The problem with the misspelling is that the search engine is stupid: someone searching for threads with "htaccess" in the title will miss the one with "htacces". Browsers these days have spellcheck; if it flags a word that's not in its dictionary, you can check whether it's because the word is a typo or a technical term.)

    The Bad:
    • Keep getting this warning.
    • Session problems
    • shopping cart
    • Error in code. Can anyone spot it?
    • Custom Parshing help
    • Quick Question
    • shortplroblem
    • Purty Colours
    • werid GD problem
    • uploding
    • Please HELP....Urgent!
    Last edited by Weedpacket; 11-25-2012 at 07:21 PM.
    FAQs! FAQs! FAQs! Most forums have them!
    Search - Debugging 101 - Collected Solutions - General Guidelines - Getting help at all

  9. #9
    High Energy Magic Dept. NogDog's Avatar
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    You left out the worst subject line: "URGENT! Need help fast!!!"
    "Well done....Consciousness to sarcasm in five seconds!" ~ Terry Pratchett, Night Watch

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  10. #10
    Pedantic Curmudgeon Weedpacket's Avatar
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    General Systems Vehicle "Running Gear"
    Argh! How did I manage that? Added the closest I could find (let me reiterate that these are all genuine subject lines from these forums).
    FAQs! FAQs! FAQs! Most forums have them!
    Search - Debugging 101 - Collected Solutions - General Guidelines - Getting help at all

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