Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Forums Code of Conduct

Having actively participated at the Oracle forums, I have collected some useful recommendations for making life at forums easier for everybody.

1. Have a meaningful subject line.
The title should properly summarize the problem you are facing, this will attract people who may already have had a similar issue more easily.

2. Give details about versions and technologies (DB, OS, working environment). Depending on the version combinations a suitable solution can or can't be found, if not properly specified the answer scope may be unnecessarily wide and blind guesses will start to be posted.

3. Give detailed error messages. Posting monosyllabic or partially specified error messages or being non specific won't bring you specific answers for sure.

4. If possible provide steps to reproduce the problem. A problem could be reproduced by the posters and configuration issues could be easily spotted. Lab environments could be easily set up.

5. Search before you post. Don't try to reinvent the wheel when someone else has already done it for you. A suitable answer can be found, a 10 minute goggling effort could find you an answer.

6. Get a name. Anonymous users are like ghosts without a name. user615770, for example, says nothing about a person. Everybody can take a few minutes to give themselves a real id, this will make posters more responsible for what they are postings, since they a real person with a real name and they are not hiding behind the mask of a generic and anonymous User Id.

7. If you solve it on your own, share the solution and mark problems with [Solved] in your thread title. There are people who not only feedback if the solutions provided helped in solving their issue, they never track their threads (specially seen when people mark their threads as Urgent). Thinking about other people who are looking for a similar solution, they never know if the provided steps lead to a successful or an unsuccessful result, or even if another workaround was found.

8. Never judge people because of their english level. Most of the people at the international forums aren't English native speakers (including myself), and they do their best to make themselves clear and understandable, let's help them instead of laughing at them, particularly if posting on a technical forum, which should not be used as an English language level assessment tool.

9. Never use discriminatory comments, nor references to ethnic groups or religions, nor make any comment that could be offensive to anybody, in a technical forum, strictly technical comments are never offensive to anybody.

10. Kill Uppercase and exclamation marks. This is considered as yelling and it could be offensive for some people, including me. 'Please' is always an advisable and suggestible keyword.

11. Think of your threads and contributions as if they were written on stone. More people than you could imagine is reading or will read the thread, and each time this thread is read people will read it as is.

12. RTFM is not an answer. I have seen several times self-qualified senior level whatever providing this kind of answers. RTFM is equal as saying "don't bother me, stop @%##~ me", and this is not an acceptable technical answer, specially for those who pretend to be self qualified as senior.

13. Address the community with respect. Self explanatory.

Thanks to Shay Shmeltzer's Blog out of which, this code of conduct proposal is based.

No comments: