How to respond to advice given in forums (1 Viewer)

isladogs

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Comments made in a recent thread have prompted me to write down my own views on how best to respond to advice given

AS I hope everybody who posts here realises, none of us get paid for the time & effort spent answering questions on this forum.
Furthermore, it can take a long time to answer certain questions, providing or correcting code samples and / or researching suitable links for the OP to check.
There are several forum users who spend several hours each day, patiently and (usually) politely answering questions from users, some of which may be unclear or contradictory.

There are many reasons for doing so but it is always encouraging when such help is acknowledged.
So here's some advice for those who don't already do so (with apologies for the many who already do all of this):

1. Respond politely, even if you don't think the advice is to the point - sometimes we misunderstand the question (or perhaps the responder doesn't know what they are talking about...)

2. If you have worked out the answer yourself or using advice from others, state what the answer is.
Forum posts are trawled regularly by Google spiders and are often the best source for answering questions online
It is frustrating / unhelpful when users do not bother to respond to answers (did they ever read them) or who write something like "I've worked it out now thanks" without stating what they did

3. Thank those who reply for the advice given.
a) For example, comments like this (all taken from recent posts):
"Thanks dude, you are the best" ; "OMG, you are a superstar", "There's a pint waiting for you at my local now"

b) Better still, click the Thumbs button where the person responding has been helpful.
Seeing the Thanks totals going up gives some of us a warm, fuzzy feeling and if it happens a lot can help make the time spent seem worthwhile

Having said that, please don't thank every single post just because someone answered.
An extreme version of this is a forum user with just one post to their name but 1957 thanks added!

The number of thanks against a user's name can indicate the quality of the advice given.
Having said that, even very experienced forum users do have a bad day and occasionally say things that are incorrect though usually someone will step in and correct them.
Similarly, those new to the forum may have years of useful experience and their advice can be just as valid.

c) Most useful of all in my view are reputation points - the Scales button at the bottom left of a post.
The idea is that those with more RPs are likely to offer high quality advice (though the same caveat applies as above)
A brief summary of reputation points is given here:
https://www.access-programmers.co.uk/forums/faq.php?faq=vb3_user_profile#faq_vb3_reputation

However it doesn't give a full explanation of how the system works.
Unlike sites such as Stackoverflow, users can't see what effect using the system has.

According to the forum owner, Jon, RPs are dealt with automatically by the forum software.
As I understand it the system works something like this:

When new users join the site, they are awarded 10 points and get one green blob under their name together with a rather twee comment about being on 'a distinguished road' or something like that

Every time someone clicks the scales, adds a positive comment AND clicks "I approve", points are added.
The number of points added depends on how positive the comment is AND the reputation of the person awarding it.
So those with most reputation add more points when they use the system.

Note that you have to spread RPs around - you can't keep giving them to the same person just because you like them - this helps prevent abuse of the system

Conversely, though I think less often used, writing a negative comment and clicking "I disapprove", removes points.
So in theory users can have RP total < 0 and I believe will have RED blobs under their name.

When the RP total reaches 100, another blob is added and the twee comment changes to something like "will become famous soon enough" or "is just really nice" or "has a spectacular aura" etc depending on the number of blobs .. all very silly.

So in summary, please do acknowldege the time & effort users put in by:
a) responding to their posts
b) outlining the solution once you have one & also marking the thread SOLVED
c) acknowledging the input of those giving advice by using one or more of the methods above - you can use all three methods if you're really keen

You could also consider supporting the site to help cover its costs ... and also to cut the number of adverts you'll see to almost zero

If you have read to the end of this very lengthy post, many thanks ...
you "are a jewel in the rough" (3 blobs)... :)

And of course if you like this post, you know what to do :D ;)
And if you didn't, you can either ignore it or politely reply telling me why ...
 
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NauticalGent

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Great post, this should be on a sticky for new members to read and heed.
 

isladogs

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Thanks NG.
If others think its a good idea, I'm happy for it to be a sticky.

EDIT - it is now ....
 
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jdraw

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Colin,

Very good assembly of facts and thoughts. I agree it should be a sticky.
 

George Moore

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Sorry but as I am a Forum member who doesn't post a great deal.......

b) outlining the solution once you have one & also marking the thread SOLVED
How does one actually mark a thread as [SOLVED] ?

I can't see a a suitable emoji or a tickbox etc. so it just a case of adding "[SOLVED]" to the title of the post ?
 

isladogs

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Click on Thread Tools in blue bar at the top then Mark this thread as solved
 

Mark_

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To expand a bit on Colin's post:

Special note for students:
If your question is for an assignment, please be very clear that it IS a school assignment. The type of answer you will receive will be different than a reply to an experienced programmer.

To illustrate, if an experienced programmer asks “How do I get the most recent transaction” the response may be a very terse DLookup( PK_ID, Table, “Dt_Trx = “ & DMAX( Dt_Trx, Table, <OPTIONAL CUST_ID = Customer>) or look HERE: https://support.office.com/en-us/ar...st-dates-b0e7e38e-d100-448c-bdd4-686c216c91d8.

For a student, the answer may be more along the lines of
To find the most recent transaction, make sure you have a DATE field that you are storing your transaction DATE in. If you use something other than a DATE field, Access will not be happy with you and may not sort properly.

Make sure you are filling in the DATE and an easy way to do so is by using a default value of NOW() in the tables definition.

Once you’ve made sure you have valid dates for your transaction you can use the DMAX function to determine what the most recent DATE is. You would save this and use it with DLookup to get the most recent transaction.
While we will be less likely to give a student the “Answer”, we will try to educate not only how to do something by also explain WHY it is done this way.
 

RobertGreene

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Stunning post I really appreciate the way of worked out that you did so.All the circumstances that how to respond advice in forums is quite superb,keep updating more admin thanks
 

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