How to Answer a Question

You see a question that you know the answer to...  So now what do you do?  Please participate in these newsgroups. They only work when users like you step up to the plate and help other users with their problems.

  • Avoid excessive quoting: When you respond to a post remember that its entire text is available in the group and everyone has just read it. If you are only responding to a part of the post only quote that part of the post you are addressing.  If the thread is already over 3k trim all in the quote that is no longer relevant. Never quote back graphics from the original post.
  • Do NOT post Graphics:  It is always helpful to include a graphic or a screenshot with your answer (a picture is worth a thousand words). If you need to use an image to help with the problem upload it to your server and include a link to the image in your answer.  If you do not have a server or host there is a binary group on the ToolFox news server (toolfox.public.binaries), post your graphics to the binary group and note this in your answer to the users question (ie "check the toolfox.public.binaries group for an example").
  • Be Concise: Make sure to include all of the necessary steps needed to resolve the problem. If the answer is a workaround that you are proposing explain why it is necessary. It is always best if you can number the steps necessary to resolve the issue to make them clearer and easier to follow.
  • Give a link to a tutorial or web site: If a tutorial or full example exists that explains how to solve the problem post a link to the tutorial page or web site in your answer rather than explaining how it is done.
  • Request more information: If more information is needed to find the solution ask for specific details.  Sometimes you will have to probe to find the underlying cause of a user's issues.
  • Be friendly and polite: Do not talk down to people, everyone was a newbie at onetime so keep this in mind when answering.  Be pleasant and if the poster has their name in the post, address them by name. Remember that you are answering to HELP the person not to show how much you know.

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