How to Ask Questions in OTN Spaces

You have a problem which you can’t figure out yourself and  want to ask some other users for help. We all have been in this situation!

Even the veteran users (like myself) had run into such problems. We all are glad that the OTN spaces exists where we can ask other users for their input and help.

Sure it’s easiest for you to just open a question in OTN or (MOSC) and just ask

“I have a problem fitting my QTY_X  into the pivot”

Then you’ll get plenty of fire from other users who don’t really know what you are talking about. It will take some questions and your answers and after one or two days, the thread is already 8-10 posts long, the others have a basic understanding of the problem. This is what I call waste of time.

It would have been easier, if you had given the full use case at the beginning. This would have cost you a couple of minutes work (max. 30 min) but would have saved 24 hours in question and answers. So, here are some basic rules of how to ask questions:

  1. search the forum if your question has been asked before (and
    answered). The forums search isn’t that bad🙂
  2. search again using Google. Don’t give up after reading the first hit
  3. give information about your environment like versions of software you use. This is essential as versions change and other users might run into a similiar problem never knowing if the thread they read was about their version
  4. give a full understandable use case of the problem. The process of formulating a good forum question, will force you to think more clearly about the question yourself.  Sometimes in the middle of writing the question the answer comes to you because you’ve restated the problem in terms an outsider can understand
  5. tell us what you have already tried to solve the problem. Help the others to get the big picture and show that you not just dump your work on the forum users
  6. give information about the technologies you use in your application. If you e.g. POI to generate native EXCEL files and this is related to your problem, we should know. If you use PL/SQL to make changes in the DB we should nḱnow too
  7. providing code snippets and any other information which you think helps us to understand the problem or what you have tried to solve it
  8. Screenshots help understand visual problems. It’s hard to describe problems with are only visual like “my fields are not aligned”. Make screenshots and add them to your post.
  9. Provide stacktraces as text if you are ask to provide one. This way we can look at each part.
  10. Format code you provide. This make code readable, regardless if it’s Java, PL/SQL or the source of a .jsff page.

The list above is not complete but a starting point. Giving this information will help you getting an answer to your question.

Please remember that all users have normal jobs to do to get the bills paid. Phrases as ‘ASAP’, ‘urgent’ have no meaning at all . There is no ‘Service Level Agreement’ attached to the OTN Spaces. If you need urgent help you should use, the paid support Oracle offers.

One thought on “How to Ask Questions in OTN Spaces

  1. Pingback: Why and how to write reproducible test cases | JDev & ADF Goodies

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s