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HELP YOUSELF FIRST


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I take the time to look through the posts on this board now and then to see if there's anything interesting, and maybe even to offer a bit of help where I can (which isn't very often).

 

BUT !

 

I'm starting to despair at the quality of the questions I'm seeing...

 

"Hi, I've just downloaded OSC 10 minutes ago and I want to do this that and the other. Can someone please hold my hand and spoon-feed all the answers because I can't be bothered to look myself"

 

"Hi, I can't be bothered to search for the answer to this question that has been asked at least a 1000 time before, so how do I......"

 

"Hi, despite there being a perfectly good support thread for this contribution I'm using (if only I could be bothered to look for it), can you tell me here how I can...."

 

...or....

 

"Hi, I hope you can read my mind because my question is going to be really vague and not at all helpful"

 

REALLY !

 

My favourite is probably...

 

"HELP !!!! I go live today and it's completely broken !!!!!!!"

 

What the hell are you doing going 'live' when you clearly haven't got a grip on the system and can't fix simple problems ? A lack of forsight and planning by you does not constitute a crisis for me !

 

It's lazy. Pure and simple.

 

As a result of these hundreds and hundreds of lame, vacuous posts, the quality of the forum reduces massively, making is much less useful for those people who actually DO bother to search for answers and help themselves a bit before posting.

 

I appreciate that not everyone is a PHP whizz or has years of experience with Apache and MySQL, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE try and help yourself before posting. Half of the questions are not even OSC-specific ! They are basic HTML questions or Apache / IIS problems. If you have a HTML problem (for example) there are literally hundreds and hundreds of excellent resources on the web that you can refer to. Your answer will almost certainly be there if only you took the time to look, and you will probably learn something else along the way.

 

My hat goes off to the one or two people on this board (you know who you are) who seem to tirelessly answer the same old lame questions. You seem to have infinite patience.

 

Maybe the board moderators could add some guidelines - maybe adding a huge banner to the top of the forum page that says something like....

 

"Search before you post"

"Spend more than 30 seconds trying to fix it before posting"

"Help yourself a bit and stop expecting to be spoon fed"

 

OK, rant over

 

Rich.

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Very good post, it's a shame that within 5 hours it will be pushed off of page one by the very same questions you are flaming ;)

Kenneth S

--------------

Customer "Are you a real programmer?"

Me "No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night"

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What about when someone signs up for an account on the forum instead of going straight to the forum they are redirected to the knowledge base. Then the second time they visit they are taken to the forum. That would show people the KB is there, and maybe answer their questions. That shouldn't be to difficult to set up.

 

If the knowledge base section on instalation had a more complete section on solving errors this would probably cut down on a lot of the repetative forum posts.

 

I think when people first come to the forum, they know they have a problem, so they panic and ask for URGENT HELP !!!!!. They don't know; that 20 people a day have the exact same problem, it is not that hard to fix, that answer is on another page marked KB, etc.

 

It takes time to educate people as to the where and how to find the information. A redirect would help with the educational process.

 

Peter

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Yes, it is very frustrating to have the same ones over and over. And then when you point out to search the contributions for specific words, they come back and are all negative about 'trying to increase the amount of posts answered' which for me is not the case, i work at home programming all day and since i have free time while recompiling other programs i work on i answer questions.

some people are just so negative you kind of wonder what they are even doing trying to get an ecommerce solution, let alone a great osCommerce solution going.

I will never handhold, period. I will guide, point in the right direction and i know many others are the same way.

So please people, use the search, and if you have a question about a CONTRIBUTION search Contribution Support for the support thread for the particular contribution. do not just post randomly.

if you read the contribution support thread, just about all questions are answered there.

think, read, think some more, read some more. then try something, other than asking the question. you are not going to hurt your system.

as long as you have a backup.

for the rookies, learn from our mistakes. i for one will never edit a live server. so do it locally and make sure it works. dont come to the forum saying you changed something and the store is now down. is what backups are for and what development systems are for and what test servers are for.

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Well heck, if you want to help with a real problem, help me with this one! I'm desperate! Have looked through assorted files, tried changing back to the fake secure server (my domain name, only with https:// in front), and generally tried what I could. Nothing has worked.

 

The forum thread with details about this is this forum. If you could even suggest search terms to use, I'd be very grateful! I'm coming up totally blank, and it's been a couple of weeks of trying to solve this. In the meantime, my site is dead in the water, while it was working fine before.

 

Thanks much,

Susan

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...or maybe try hijacking a thread and moving way off topic ?

 

Rich.

 

At least they came back and explained what they had done wrong. Drives me nuts when someone asks a question, then comes back a day later and say 'forget it all fixed now'. PLEASE tell us what you did.

 

AND...

 

subject headers like 'Newbee stuck' and 'Heeeeeelp needed' really waste time. PLEASE put your problem in the subject - like '505 error' 'cannot connetc to database'. Because your solution will be used 20 times over by others - but only if they can find it...

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I am a perfect example of a rather jaded individual whose best attempts at helping of late have been to point out that people are bragging about their lame stock site.

 

Between those posts, people as pointed out above, wanking about "permissions wrong on graphs files" ... And then the guy/gal who wants $1000 in development work and figures because they asked nicely on the forum we should just do it for them....

 

There do need to be some guidelines set and enforced here. Or perhaps even divide the bloody forum into newbie, intermediate and advanced sections.... probably a good idea but too much effort to implement and police. The most moderation I've seen here is people getting their post pulled from the "My Store" section for removing the "powered by osc" link in the footer. How bout keeping the retarded posting to a dull roar as well? After all - this thread shouldnt be here any more than the "help, I cant get past the install" posts that regularly dot the friggin landscape here.

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I am a perfect example of a rather jaded individual whose best attempts at helping of late have been to point out that people are bragging about their lame stock site.

 

Between those posts, people as pointed out above, wanking about "permissions wrong on graphs files" ... And then the guy/gal who wants $1000 in development work and figures because they asked nicely on the forum we should just do it for them....

 

There do need to be some guidelines set and enforced here. Or perhaps even divide the bloody forum into newbie, intermediate and advanced sections.... probably a good idea but too much effort to implement and police. The most moderation I've seen here is people getting their post pulled from the "My Store" section for removing the "powered by osc" link in the footer. How bout keeping the retarded posting to a dull roar as well? After all - this thread shouldnt be here any more than the "help, I cant get past the install" posts that regularly dot the friggin landscape here.

Hey guys heres my 5 cents worth of feed back!

Some people havent had years of training in php or mysql or even html.

I fix trucks for a living but I enjoy learning and and I and I enjoy the forams.

I dont go around blowing my own trumpet give the newby a go isnt that what the Community Support Forums is all about.

( WARNING )

I think I know what Im talking about.

BACK UP BACK UP BACK UP BACK UP

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... And then the guy/gal who wants $1000 in development work and figures because they asked nicely on the forum we should just do it for them....

Hi Afterdark, If I may trouble you could you please tell me how to install flash in my header. I am stuck on this and need it done ASAP !!!!!!

 

I've seen here is people getting their post pulled from the "My Store" section for removing the "powered by osc" link in the footer.

You learn something new everyday.

 

The KB is much better than it was. Everyday the core group of very knowledgable people come to the forum and reply to (mostly) the same posts over and over with infinate patience. If each person directed some of that work/knowledge to 1 section of the KB, in a week or two they would have a very complete listing for that 1 section.

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Hey guys heres my 5 cents worth of feed back!

Some people havent had years of training in php or mysql or even html.

I fix trucks for a living but I enjoy learning and and I and I enjoy the forams.

I dont go around blowing my own trumpet give the newby a go isnt that what the Community Support Forums is all about.

 

I do not think the problem is with skill level or helping newbies. It is the people that make little or no effort to help themselves before filling up the forum with questions that could very easily be answered by reading the knowledge base or just spending a little time looking/searching through the forum first before posting.

 

I know that somedays I have seen the same question posted by 3 or 4 people within a couple hours of each other, some of them after the question was answered for the first poster and the answer was in the knowledge base to start with. This tells me those people did not make any effort to help themselves first.

The Knowledge Base is a wonderful thing.

Do you have a problem? Have you checked out Common Problems?

There are many very useful osC Contributions

Are you having trouble with a installed contribution? Have you checked out the support thread found Here

BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP!!! You did backup, right??

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I do not think the problem is with skill level or helping newbies. It is the people that make little or no effort to help themselves before filling up the forum with questions that could very easily be answered by reading the knowledge base or just spending a little time looking/searching through the forum first before posting.

 

I know that somedays I have seen the same question posted by 3 or 4 people within a couple hours of each other, some of them after the question was answered for the first poster and the answer was in the knowledge base to start with. This tells me those people did not make any effort to help themselves first.

I think when your new to oscommerse its hard to put things in there place not Knowing how or where to look ext ,Its different to using webediter to edite pages ext and I must agree it is ezy to post rather than look :ph34r:

( WARNING )

I think I know what Im talking about.

BACK UP BACK UP BACK UP BACK UP

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Hey guys heres my 5 cents worth of feed back!

Some people havent had years of training in php or mysql or even html.

I fix trucks for a living but I enjoy learning and and I and I enjoy the forams.

I dont go around blowing my own trumpet give the newby a go isnt that what the Community Support Forums is all about.

 

I have absolutely nothing against 'newbies'. What I get annoyed with are people who are just too lazy to do a bit of research and expect to be spoon-fed instead.

 

I started using OSC about 2 years ago. At the time, I knew nothing about PHP. I also know less than that about Apache or MySQL.

 

Ok, I write software for a living (I have done for far more years than I care to remember) and so I found it easy to pick up. But I thought for myself. I sorted out the problems I came across by doing a bit of research and THINKING. I bought some books. If you're using OSC then presumably you're running a business. Surely your business expenses can run to a couple of good books !

 

...and yes, I did post questions to this forum, and other forums dedicated to Apache etc.

 

BUT - I only posted AFTER I had exhausted all the other avenues that I could find.

 

What happens on this forum is that the same basic, simple questions get asked time and time again. Things like "How do I change the text of.....". How do you THINK you change the text ? Have a wild shot-in-the-dark guess ! Go on - give it a go ! This would be funny if it wasn't true, but how many hundreds of posts have you seen asking exactly this question ? I dread to think...

 

If you think my comments are harsh then tough - I make no apology. Try wandering over to the OpenBSD forums and you'll see how lame questions are handled there ! You'll think I'm being downright generous.

 

Rich.

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...2 cents...

 

 

More "Sticky" topics at the top of the pages - like "PayPal - Read First", "Installation - Getting Stuck"...

 

I know that somewhat mimics the Knowledge Base, but many new people jump right to the board first.

 

------------------------

 

[Time consuming for moderators]

Move more posts to a relevant, previously discussed thread.

Work it like a filing cabinet dragging the repeats into known relevant threads.

When the poster looks for a reply, they will find their post moved to where the answer was already discussed.

 

------------------------

 

when someone signs up for an account on the forum instead of going straight to the forum they are redirected to the knowledge base

"Excelent Smithers!"

 

------------------------

 

Maybe a new sticky forum "How to use this site without pi$$ing everyone off".

- Please look through the KB

- Please look for similar posts

- Please read the stickies in each forum

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Possibly one way of elimintating some of the repetitive posts in Contribution Support, is to make it that a New Topic can not be created UNLESS you are coming from the Contribution area AFTER uploading a New/Modified Contribution.

this would then force the people to search for the contribution they need support for.

also, a page which has the Contributions which have support threads, listed alphabetically with a link to the end of the thread.

as far as everyone getting together on here to create documentation, there is a team member who does the documentation and helping out by putting your stuff together for documentation i am sure would be helpful.

now for that part.

if you are going to do that, then it needs to be done the proper way, with full documentation, images pointing out all the steps, and in (unfortunately) the 4th grade level or so. i have written enough technical documentation for projects for ISO 9001 companies, i could gag. but it is necessary.

the hard part? how do you get people to read the documentation? you cant. however from their post you could tell if they have read or not. people think they can just let someone else do it for them. if that be the case, then they need to look internally to their own organization, put a team of people together to work on a project. dont just blindly download the application and install it and expect to have a store up with products in 10 minutes. it is possible with planning but not likely.

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Okey, you got it off your chest and hope you feel better - I know I would.

 

BUT

 

How many of those same people being mentioned within the above posts are actually going to read the contents of a post that that subject line.

 

I've learnt over the years to do a search once, twice trice and then think twice before actually posting a question because I keep saying to myself I've missed something - others must have had the same 'problem' or 'incident'. At times I purely miss what is there in front of my eyes.

 

I agree with what most have said above and as a newcomer to both coding and oSC I am gratefull to those of you and others who have helped over the past weeks.

 

Hijacking a thread - I don't mean to do it but sometimes this happens accidently - have a little understanding.

 

Someone mentioned above that it takes a little time to get used to what's on offer - it's happened to me and then I found what a treasure of information is available through the Forums, Contribs and KBase. Gee, I've learnt so much from reading these forums that I've even made a couple of attempts at helping others myself.

 

I guess the question needs to be repeated: How many of the people concerned will actually read the post??

 

JC

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The experienced people tend to forget that they too were (once upon a time) "newbies". "Newbies" don't realise that everyone here is doing so voluntarily.

 

In my opinion, a solution:

 

What needs to happen, is that new people cannot post for three days. This will force "newbies" to search the wiki, google, KB and these Forums for the answers to their questions. If, after 3 days they haven;t found enough information to get to grips with osCommerce, then it is possible that osCommerce is not the right tool for them.

 

I'm not that bothered by people asking inane questions, as I just click to the next thread without answering, or if I'm thinking that the person has asked nicely, I might post a link.

 

What does bother me is people sending emails and PMs asking for hours upon hours of personal help. Then they get offended when asked "ok, what is your budget"...

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It is frutstrating and annoying to see the forums full of questions that have been asked and answered a thousand times before. Especially when a simple search which anyone is capable of would find the answer.

 

However, I think its worth considering why this is happening.

 

My view is that the main problem is the type of people attracted to osCommerce. People see osCommerce and think great, I can make some money. The problem is that they aren't very technically literate and so they run in to problems left, right and centre. Most of these people would never be interested in any of the other open source scripts out there (such as forums, cms, etc).

 

I'm not saying that attracting these people is a bad thing, or that they should be frowned upon. In fact the opposite, we should be doing as much as possible to make osCommerce as easy as it can be.

 

The majority of the questions that are asked time after time, could be resolved once and for all by making some changes to the code. Some good examples:

- changing the logo (add it as an admin option)

- setting up localisation (have ready to use setups for common setups)

- editing the main page text (add an edit option in admin)

 

My theory is that if someone posts a problem, get it fixed in the code where possible. I'm not saying this would resolve the problem but it would improve it a lot. Maybe someone could be assigned to address these issues.

 

Jon.

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Mark Evans

osCommerce Monkey & Lead Guitarist for "Sparky + the Monkeys" (Album on sale in all good record shops)

 

---------------------------------------

Software is like sex: It's better when it's free. (Linus Torvalds)

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Hey Sparky,

 

It is great that information is provided, it is too bad that "NO" new user to the forum will ever see that piece of helpful information before they post their message "URGENT HELP NEEDED". I don't think this is about "IF" the information is available, it is about "GETTING" the information to the new user before they post the same questions over and over in the forum. I think that a redirect for new users to the KB with very detailed sections on Installation and Error Messages will cut a lot of the repetative forum posts.

 

Another way;

When people sign up for an forum account have an email verification with a 20 minute delay if possible. Then the email could say something like;

 

Welcome to the osCommerce community. Please click here to verify your account and it will be activated within the next 20 minutes. In the mean time please feel free to cruise our Knowledge Base. Guests are allowed to search our forum but only accounts that have been activated can post or reply to messages.

You can also support Sparky and the Monkey's while you wait for your account to be acctivated. Plus I would put more information about the osC community after that so they know what this great place is about.

 

My 2 cents.

 

Peter

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