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Posting and PM's


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#1 OFFLINE   Jeber

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Posted 23 January 2004 - 02:23 PM

How many times have you had a simple little question you needed answered?  Did you say to yourself, “I bet I'm the only person in this forum who doesn't know this...I'm going to look pretty foolish asking this in an open forum.”  So did you decide to send a private message (PM) to a forum moderator to ask your question?Consider the following:1.  You're not alone.  I've done this myself.  Therefore I'll now say “we”.2.We're usually incorrect in our assumption that everyone else knows the answer to our question already.3.By doing this, we are inadvertently subverting the purpose of the forum!Allow me to elaborate.  1. We've all had those questions that we fear will make us appear totally uninformed if we dare post them to the forum.  But more often than not, we've seen posts asking simple questions followed up with posts of thanks for the answer.  “I've been wondering that same thing for a while, but I always forget to ask”, is a common response.  A lot of us are close to the same point in our experience with computers.  A lot of us have the same questions.  Someone has to be the first to ask.  Why not me?  2.Often, we only consider the frequently posting Highlanders, many of whom are indeed well versed in computing.  But what about all the new Highlanders who may be reading this thread for the first time?  What about the lurkers who may have the same question?  What about all the Highlanders who regularly read the forum but rarely post?  They all have a right to know the answer, too.3.This is the real crux of the matter.  This forum exists for the sole purpose of information exchange.  For information to be freely exchanged among all Highlanders, it must be posted for all to see.  By asking our questions privately, we are robbing everyone else of the benefit of an answer.  The forum isn't meant to be a private help desk.  4.Another consideration is the burden it puts on moderators and administrators to answer PM's and emails asking questions better suited for the forum while still trying to meet their forum obligations and have a life.  The Private Message (PM) system exists for just that, private messages, personal communications, comments not for general discussion.Now having said all that, let me also say that there are exceptions to this.  Each moderator/administrator has their own preferences and methods.  There are Highlanders with whom the mod/admin would prefer to work “off forum” with their problems and questions.  There will always be cases in which PM's or emails are a better way of working through a particular situation.  So this isn't meant to be an absolute requirement.  Instead, we just ask that when you have a question, you first consider posting it to the appropriate forum...then if you don't get the answer you need, contact another Highlander or mod.  An advantage to this method is that the answers you get won't be one person's opinion.  You may discover there are several solutions that all work in different ways.  Then you can use the one that best meets your needs.  If you do get a useful answer in private, please consider posting the question and answer to the forum for the benefit of all Highlanders.And as has been stated before, when you do post in the forum, please provide all the pertinent information needed to provide a relevant answer.  If you're asking a hardware question, be sure we know what sort of computer you have.  Even if it's a software question, it might be helpful to know what sort of system you're trying to use it on.  If it's an OS question, let us know which version you're using.  Version numbers are also useful to know when solving software questions.  So the more info you can provide up front, the less you're going to have to respond to posts trying to narrow down the possibilities.  With all the new Highlanders, and the increasing number of posts, we just want to make sure everybody has the best experience possible here at SFNL: members, moderators and administrators alike.If you have any questions or further thoughts on this topic, please feel free to post them in the “Feedback” forum.  Don't send me a PM.  ;) (I'd like to thank LilBambi, Bruno and Teacher for their thoughts and input on this, as well as their efforts within the forum in general)
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