"Smart Questions" and Unsolicited PM"s


I figure the “Beginner’s Forum” is the best place to post this (though it is probably just as appropriate in the Troubleshooting and Programming forums), so here goes:

Recently I, and I understand others, have received an increasing number of unsolicited PM’s (private messages) asking for personal or individual help.

Please understand that it is considered very poor form to PM members of a forum asking for “private” help, unless you have been invited to do so. Think about it for a minute; those of us who freely give of our time to help in the forums would be absolutely swamped with requests for personal attention if a lot of users did this.

While there may be times, in the course of a public thread, when a forum user may invite you to PM him/her with “private” information, it is almost universally true that those of us who choose to do this kind of “public service” work prefer to have the threads be public so that other users can help and contribute to the solution of the problem and so that others may benefit from the answers that are given.

Responding to a public posting benefits many, while responding privately only benefits one…I’m not at all averse to helping you, but I do not consider myself to be a “free personal consultant”. I don’t want to just ignore such requests, but it is often either that, or just refusing to accept PM’s at all. To do anything else would only detract from the amount of time I can spend on the general forums where many might benefit from my efforts

You may find it useful to read through this “classic” internet reference piece, "How To Ask Questions The Smart Way" as it may help you to get more useful answers in forum environments. Please try to form “good questions” (as in the link I provided) and post them to the public forums - I, and others, will try our best to help you there.



Some advice I would like to give.

Please choose only one forum section to post your question. Most of us do browse most if not all of the sections. It will make it easier for us to answer your question and it will be easier for you as you will have only one conversation going.

Also, you may find it easier to get your question(s) answered if you start a new thread, rather than ask your question in an old thread that may already be forgotten about.
Take care,

My website


You didn’t respond to my PM’s calling you a jerk. So I’m posting it publicly. (Just kidding).

There are a lot of people that would thank you for your help here.

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Ha! Actually, those don’t bother me so much, as I feel no “urge” to respond to those - it’s the ones asking for help that I feel the need to respond to that get me down. :wink:

That may be, but that isn’t necessary for me; I really enjoy seeing people get their problems solved (and I like it when that results in a thread that someone searching for an answer can find and use).

I get enough “feedback” from those that take me to task for one thing or another to satisfy any need for “interactive communication” that I might have. :slight_smile:



I was in a bad mood until I read this post!

You crack me up!

(the first part, btw. the second paragraph was not very funny at all…)

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