[INFO] How to not fail getting help here

Announcements and news about XAMPP and the Apache Friends project.

[INFO] How to not fail getting help here

Postby Altrea » 05. January 2014 01:27

These are the basic rules how to ask for support correctly and efficiently

Scope of support

Evaluate if your topic is in scope of support of our board. We don't want to provide...
  • ...support via personal communication channels like PM, email, Skype, TeamViewer, etc.
    One advantage of community support boards is that every user can participate in issues and solutions of other users. To make this possible every information relating to this issue needs to be accessible for the other users (which is not the case for personal communication channels).
    If you think that some from a helper requested information contains sensitive data (like personal data you don't want to share with the world), ask if you can send this part of the information via PM and mask this data in your post.
  • ...support for third party applications like WordPress, Joomla!, phpBB, Skype, etc.
    There are several hundred of thounsand of these applications out there, all of them with their own requirements, characteristics and issues.
    The developers of these applications are knowing their own software best and commonly provide their own support channels where you can get proper support relating to this specific product.
  • ...support for live, production or public accessible environments.
    XAMPP is not configurated for such environments (default passwords, many activated and probably unnecessary modules, not tweaked for performance, scalability, stability or security). This board does have several entrys about hacked XAMPP installations because of using unprotected XAMPP installations in not supported environments. XAMPP don't want to fit every possible use case and there are other (also free) alternatives for such environments.
  • ...enterprise or commercial oriented support.
    You and/or your company earns money for what you are doing. If you don't have the knowledge to solve XAMPP problems on your own, spend a part of your money to hire an expert or pay an it freelancer to solve such problems. We all need jobs and money to live and in a company or commercial oriented environments there are much more things to consider like legal requirements or network security. Every action can contain a financial risk so even answeres on simple questions have to be analysed if they fit all the rules the environment requires. This cannot be achieved in two sentences of a forum post.

Be proactive

Use the board search and Google (or whatever your preferable search engine is) to find out if your issue is already posted somewhere. This will maybe take a few minutes of your time, but getting an answer here can take hours or days. Maybe this issue is already solved and you can use this solution for your issue too. If not, don't worry. You can read the replies to get an idea why it is maybe not yet solved. Most common reason for unsolved issues are missing Information.

In your thread show us what you have already tried (e.g.: "already searched on google and found this thread (link) but it is not working for me because ...") and what you already know about all that stuff you are trying to do with XAMPP. We will try to guess your level of knowledge but commonly we will be wrong with that.

Board and thread structure

  • Choose the correct forum
    Please take a minute to check out the forums at our board to get a feeling of what is discussed at which place.
    We did have general forums as well as XAMPP related forums, a german only section an english only section and some german english mixed forums.
    Unfortunately the Moderators must move threads frequently because users created them in the wrong language section or forum.
  • One thread per unique user and issue
    Don't use threads of other users to report your own issue, especially if the original thread is still unsolved. Users and helpers can get confused to read and react to topics multiple users are trying to get their own issues solved. Commonly the issues are unrelated to each other because an issue can have very different reasons.
  • Choose a selfspeaking headline
    The headline of your thread should transport an specific idea of what your thread is about. Words like "problem", "please help" etc. are meaningless because 99,9% of all threads here are requests for help to get an problem solved so please omit these words. Instead in the headline try to add some words about which component, error messages or symptoms you get. Be as specific as possible with the few words.

more Information is always more information

Efficient support can only be possible if we get all needed information as soon as possible. Report your issue as detailed as possible. Better to have too much information than too less.

Read more about the expected amount of information here: [Q&A] Insufficient debug information - base information

Of course these information should be accessible for the board search mechanisms. Please post all information as plain text, not as screenshots (except it is better explainable by a screenshot like format issues of your website). Use the provided BBCodes to structure your post and to indicate code snippets or quotations for better reading.

If possible don't provide information on third party servers only (image hosters, paste code services, etc). If these services decide to turn of their service these informations are lost and your thread is less helpful for others.

Be polite and patient

This is a volunteer support board our helpers don't get anything for that. The minimum we can expect are polite threads containing words like "hello", "please", "thank you" and "bye" so please use a polite wording for your posts.

All of our helpers do have own jobs, families, friends, hobbies and they spend a part of their free time to help users solving their issues. Answering a thread can take some time so please wait patiently for replies and don't push threads without adding any new information for at least a week.
We don't provide any support via personal channels like PM, email, Skype, TeamViewer!

It's like porn for programmers 8)
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