CMS Made Simple Forums
https://forum.cmsmadesimple.org/

How To Submit a Question So You'll Actually Get Help
https://forum.cmsmadesimple.org/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=4572
Page 1 of 1

Author:  cyberman [ Fri May 12, 2006 12:34 pm ]
Post subject:  How To Submit a Question So You'll Actually Get Help

sjg wrote:
Hi everyone!

I often get Help requests (or bug reports) which are written in a way that's confusing to me, and it ends up taking me a long time and several back-and-forth responses before I can actually be helpful. So I thought I'd post something here which could potentially save everyone some time.

If you use this simple format, I (and other developers) will be able to help you much faster, and with less confusion.

How To Ask For Help

1. Make sure to provide all version information you can think of. It's better to include irrelevant data than it is to omit useful data. Example:

Quote:
Hi. I'm running CMS Made Simple 0.11.2. I'm using PHP 4.4.1, and MySQL 4.1.10. This is all working with Apache 1.3.38 running on Linux


(Obviously, you may not be able to determine all of those version numbers, but provide what you can. We can help you figure out the other version numbers if we need them.)

If the problem involves modules (or you suspect it might), include not only the exact modules, but also any dependent modules, and their configurations:

Quote:
I'm using FeedbackForm version 0.9.9, which depends on CMSMailer. My CMSMailer is version 1.73.6, and it's set to use the "mail" method.


2. Then state the problem, including as much detail as possible (especially including error messages):

Quote:
When I try to create a new form, I get the error message: Call to a member function on a non-object admintheme in /modules/FeedbackForm/FeedbackForm.module.php on line 985


alternatively, if you're asking a "how to" type question, please give us as much context as possible. Not just what you're trying to do, but why you're trying to do it:

Quote:
I'm trying to put an Ell-Nav menu in an iframe, and can't figure out how to do that. I need it in an iframe so the rest of the page can scroll, but the menu remains in place.


We may try to talk you out of the approach you're describing, but only if we have a good reason and can propose an alternative.

3. If it's a consistently reproducible error, detail the steps that you can use to trigger the condition:

Quote:
How to reproduce: Go to CMS MS Admin > Extensions > FeedbackForms, and click on the "New Form" icon.


4. If you have any ideas about what's wrong, or other information that might help, definitely include it!

Quote:
This was working before I upgraded from version 0.9.8. I also recently changed my admin theme, so I wonder if that's what it means in the error message.


5. If you're reporting a bug, please file it in the Development Forge (http://dev.cmsmadesimple.org) in addition to posting it here in the forum. That helps us manage the process of tracking and fixing it.

6. Spread the love. If you find a solution, or someone emails you a solution, post it here in the forum so other people can benefit. If you've fixed a bug, post a patch in the Forge.

If you follow these steps, you will save a great deal of time for both yourself and for us.

How Not To Ask For Help

Here are a few things guaranteed to slow down or prevent you from getting help:

1. Incoherence. "I tried to use CMS Made Simple, but the thing didn't work." Help me to help you -- I need something to go on. What thing didn't work? How did it not work?  I realize that there can be a language barrier sometimes. If it's impossible for you to express in English, please describe the problem in your own language -- there are more than a few people in the community who speak multiple languages and who can help translate. Worst case, there's babblefish.

2. Demands. "I need this fixed today, or I'll switch to Mambo." When I read this kind of statement, I think to myself "gosh, too bad for those Mambo developers."

3. Insults. "This code is so crappy. I don't know why anybody would even try using it." When I read this, I lose all interest in trying to help, and figure that you can take your problem and shove it.

Things to Keep in Mind

The core team and many other volunteers on this board really want to be helpful and make things work for you. But remember that we all have jobs, families, friends, and other responsibilities -- none of us get paid for this work. Now, if you're exceptionally wealthy or a venture capital person, and would like to start a foundation to provide full-time support and CMS development, we'd be happy to speak with you. But as it is, CMS Made Simple can't be our number one priority at all times.

We understand that sometimes you find yourself with a problem and a looming deadline. Many of us are computer professionals -- we know what stress is. We'll try to be as responsive as we can, and we'll do whatever is possible to help you with the situation. But you will need to be patient with us if we can't solve your problem instantly.

Lastly, we appreciate that you use our software. If this posting seems negative or critical, it's certainly not intended that way. We're happy that CMS Made Simple is useful to people, and we're excited to see sites using it in ways that we hadn't even thought of.

Author:  tsw [ Fri May 12, 2006 12:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How To Submit a Question So You'll Actually Get Help

And as this is "layout and design" one important thing: validate!

first validate your html with http://validator.w3.org/

then validate your css with http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/

and please tell us which browsers give you trouble, including version numbers.

Thanks

Author:  Dr.CSS [ Fri May 12, 2006 1:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How To Submit a Question So You'll Actually Get Help

Thanks i needed that  ;)

    mark

Author:  tsw [ Fri May 12, 2006 1:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How To Submit a Question So You'll Actually Get Help

oh and another thing.

create small testcase which has the relevant html and css, its much easier to debug :)

and most of the time its better to start from scratch and just take some hints from default layouts (that way you get smaller css files and it will render faster)

Author:  Dr.CSS [ Thu Aug 03, 2006 5:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How To Submit a Question So You'll Actually Get Help  Topic is solved

And may I add, if at all possible please try and include a link to the page.

  Thank You

Author:  cyberman [ Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How To Submit a Question So You'll Actually Get Help

And last, but not least think about this

It's possible to show error messages with CMSms. You have to edit your config.php like this

Code:
$config['debug'] = true;

and tell us all the errors

CAUTION: Error (0) means there's no error  :).

Author:  calguy1000 [ Fri Aug 04, 2006 2:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How To Submit a Question So You'll Actually Get Help

Another issue when considering posting a question on the forum:

a) Look through the documentation

    - The answer your looking for may not be there, but with many common questions it has been already answered and we
      try to put the answers to common questions into the wiki.  So before even considering the forum, please look at the docs
      both the wiki docs, and the docs for the particular module or tag.

    It may also be helpful to look through any templates for the various modules to get a grasp of how they work.

b) Look through the tracker on the forge for the various project

    - If you are having problems with a particular module, chances are somebody else already has, and maybe a bug has been
      submitted on the forge that you can then follow up and monitor. 

c) Search through the forum

    Don't just to a cursory search..... Spend some time doing a search on the forum.  Change your search terms, use different word.
    Most of the time issues aren't necessarily new.... or have been answered before. 
    Some members of the development team (mostly me) tend to get a little gruff when answering the same question on the forge
    numerous times.  or answering a question on the forge that is already answered in the documentation.

    We don't mind answereing questions where the documentation is a little vague, or with something that isn't documented at all
    but we really dislike it when there are numerous postings on the forum on the same day, asking the same question, and that
    question has already been answered 99 different times.

Thanks

Author:  fubar [ Tue Mar 27, 2007 4:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How To Submit a Question So You'll Actually Get Help

Hi all,

I'm a beginner with cmsms, and I like it :)

Just one comment though, if I may. While you're definitely right about everything you had to say in this thread, I think you should also consider possible reasons for the multiple questions. From my own experience, it wasn't too easy to get through the first few  days while I tried to understand some of the workings of this system. Without going into detail, I went through the handbook over and over, searched in the forums for hours just to get some info on where to add custom news templates, for example.

You're right, the information is there, but often not easy to find, which can be frustrating. Perhaps a hand-picked collection of question/solution threads organised into a kind of "tutorial library" would be helpful, don't you think? Then maybe some proper tagging could also do the job... These are just some ideas, this is as much I can contribute to the community for now :)

As a matter of fact, I would also take part in a documentation project, with pleasure. That would definitely boost my knowledge about my favourite cms to date :)

Best regards: Zoltan

Author:  cyberman [ Tue Mar 27, 2007 4:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How To Submit a Question So You'll Actually Get Help

fubar wrote:
Perhaps a hand-picked collection of question/solution threads organised into a kind of "tutorial library" would be helpful, don't you think? Then maybe some proper tagging could also do the job...


Great idea -  but currently it's a question of man power to realize that  :-\.

Author:  forgot [ Thu Jun 21, 2007 6:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How To Submit a Question So You'll Actually Get Help

fubar wrote:
...
You're right, the information is there, but often not easy to find, which can be frustrating. Perhaps a hand-picked collection of question/solution threads organised into a kind of "tutorial library" would be helpful, don't you think? Then maybe some proper tagging could also do the job...

You're talking about FAQ section? If not what are you proposing an AQ? I mean all the questions posed with the proper answer in a brand new section. Good idea.

Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
http://www.phpbb.com/