The StreamShare community is growing bigger and bigger every day. It has been a true pleasure watching it grow from nothing to a vivid place full of peers sharing my interest in this product. With a huge influx of new users, I thought it could be good to write up a set of best practices for the forum for the benefit of both new and experienced users.
I have put these practices together to help all users to maximize their chances of receiving the best possible assistance from the community in a timely manner.
1. Add a bio and a picture to your profile
This may seem like an odd trick but people tend to be more willing to help people they know compared to strangers. Add your profession, company, bio and picture to your profile page. This will help you with building relationships within the community and increase the chances of other members helping you when you need it.
2. Add a descriptive title
Write a title that clearly describes your question so other users don't have to open the thread to see if it applies to them. Write a descriptive (and even enticing) subject about the problem. Vague subjects such as "Urgent: Please help" or "Database problem" don't invite to open and read the post as much as "Breaking inline repeater to a new row based on field value". It also doesn't help others searching for threads with a similar problem.
3. Post in the right category
The forum is divided in categories for different types of topics. It is in your own interest to make sure that you post to the right category. Many of our users subscribe to new topics only in a few of these categories that they are particularly interested in. To reach as many peers as possible who are interested in helping you with your particular question it is very important to post in the right category. If you for example have a question regarding an installation problem and you post it to the User Applications category, you are likely not reaching the people who would know a bit or two about installation problems as they tend to hang out in the Administration category.
The purpose of each category is stated on the man forum page: http://streamshare.streamserve.com/Forum/
4. Be specific
Be as specific as you can when posting a question. This is very, very important. The most common response to questions in the forum is “So, what version are you on?” Posting detailed information about what version of the software you are using, what OS & version, the problem you are experience, etc. helps the community to help you faster.
5. Use Attachments
Attachments are often a great way to provide context to your questions. You can attach a rich variety of file types to your posts including log files, screenshots, etc. When attaching, don’t forget to press “Add” before you post the question so the attachment is actually uploaded to the web server.
When attaching screenshots or log files, please don’t paste them into a Word file before you upload them. Users tend to not trust that file format when offered by strangers, so they may refrain from helping you for that simple reason. Attach as .png, .jpg, .txt etc. instead. That will increase your chances of receiving assistance.
If you need to share an entire project, package it first and attach the *.dcpackage file.
6. Make your post readable
Making your post as readable as possible will increase your chances to get assistance. Use the formatting tools at your disposal to format your post. Take a moment to learn the tools in the formatting toolbar on the new topic page. If you want to provide a link, use the insert/edit link tool to create a hyperlink. This will increase the chances of people actually following the link. If you want to paste a script or log snippet, use the code tool. It will make that type of content more readable.
7. Check your language
English is unfortunately not the first language for many of us but making yourself as understandable as possible to as many users as possible will only increase your chances of getting help. Use online translation services and your browsers inbuilt spell checker to verify your post before you submit it.
8. Keep it tidy
Write a separate post for each unrelated question. That is, if you have three problems, write three separate posts, because each one may be solved independently, maybe even by different people.
Don’t post the same question more than once. It will be hard to track replies in different threads and the forum will soon be a complete mess.
Once someone has solved your question and the thread is marked as solved, don't append a different, unrelated question to it. Create a separate thread. Some people answering questions don't open threads that are marked as solved, so your question will remain unread.
9. Be patient
The community is made up of people just like you. They are here because they share your interest in the StreamServe products or simply because they enjoy hanging out here. Don’t expect immediate assistance. If you don’t get a response immediately, consider the following:
- Did I post in the right category?
- Was my question specific enough?
- Did I tag my question appropriately?
- Did I post the question during a low-traffic period such as holidays or vacation times?
Also, don’t expect your peers to respond faster if you mark your question “Urgent!”, “Need help ASAP!” etcetera. These things tend to put people off rather than encourage them to help you. If you need urgent assistance, consider contacting Customer Support or a consultant.
10. Give Feedback
If you do get help solving your question, please tell the person helping you. This will encourage that person to help you and others the next time around. Also let the community know what helped you by marking the appropriate reply as “this answers my question” and when possible, give the poster your vote. This will help other users in a similar situation to find the best answer in the future.