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Posting Rules
By Richard Rost   Richard Rost on LinkedIn Email Richard Rost   14 months ago

Updated 2023-04-01

If you need help, here are the rules for posting questions in the Forums. Please read them. I try to run a quality web site, so anyone who violates the rules will lose posting privileges.

Update: This list goes equally well for people posting questions in the comments section of my YouTube channel. I get a ton of people posting "it's not working" with no details. See Rule #2.

In a Nutshell

  • Be kind and courteous, always
  • Technical support is not guaranteed
  • Check first to see if your question has been answered
  • Post specific error messages, not just "it don't work."
  • Links to other sites (including shared files) are not allowed
  • Problems? Try the Troubleshooter
  • Don't take advantage of someone helping you
  • Try a Google search
  • This is a support forum for my videos
  • Moderators are volunteers, not paid employees. Be nice!
  • Use a meaningful subject
  • Don't post tons of source code
  • Keep it brief
  • No cross- or double-posting
  • Before asking if you can do something try it yourself
  • No soliciting
  • No religion, politics, off-topic conversations
  • If you have a bug, is it in the stock database from my site?
  • English only, please
  • Do not post your contact info (phone, email)
  • Live long, and prosper

The Details

Here are the specific details for each of the above items. Please read them. By posting anywhere on my website, you agree to follow all of these rules.

Rule #0: Yes, this is a rule before the rules because it is the most important rule to remember: the folks who answer your questions here are volunteers. They have graciously offered to donate their time to help you and answer your questions. They don't get paid. Be nice to them. Be kind, patient, and civil or you will lose your posting privileges. As a reminder, your purchase of a membership or my courses does not guarantee one-on-one technical support. This is spelled out very clearly in my Terms of Sale. The Forums are here as a courtesy, not something you paid for. We want to help you. We really do. But don't have an attitude with us because you're frustrated.

Rule #1: Before posting your question, check to see if it's already been answered. You can use the Search feature to look for keywords. Save the moderators some time having to only point you to another post where your question has already been answered.

Rule #2: Make sure you post exactly what you're doing, what the specific error message is, what you've tried, and any other details we might need to help you. Don't just say, "I get an error." Tell us what the error is and what you're doing. We're not mind readers, we can't see your screen, and we don't know exactly what you've done. I wish. Also, be sure to read this article on Context. It matters!

Rule #3: Links to files or images on other sites are NOT allowed. Don't try posting a link to your database on Dropbox or any other web site. If you have someone specifically offering to help you, you can email them your database. You can upload screen shots here using the Upload Images link provided on comments. Post your question, then you can upload a screen shot.

Rule #4: Before you ask for help in the Access Forum with a weird problem, meaning Access isn't behaving normally, then make sure you run down the Access Troubleshooter which covers solutions to many common problems. If you have a weird problem and you don't say "yes, I ran down the Troubleshooter" then we're just going to point you there.

Rule #5: I encourage students to help each other out. I love seeing that. However, don't take advantage of someone else's good will and ask to send them your database or call you for free tech support. I didn't work on projects for free, and I don't expect my Admins, Moderators, students or Access Veterans to either. If you're looking to have someone else fix your database, you can post a request for service in the Developer Network. Likewise, if you're not already working with someone for paid support, don't just email your unsolicited files to them. Post screen shots in the Forum, sure, but I don't accept email attachments, and I don't expect them to without compensation.

Rule #6: You may also want to try a quick Google search too. While I'd love to keep you here on my site, there are millions of other helpful articles on the rest of the InterWebz you can search through too. Sure, we'll do our best to help you, but if you need an answer now, try using the Google machine (or Bing if you prefer).

Rule #7: If you're posting a new conversation (thread, question, etc.) then please try to use a meaningful subject line. Don't just use "Access," "Help," or "Question." We should know what it's about just by looking at it. "Help with Input Masks," or "Print Mailing Labels." Something. It's like when I ask people on my post-order survey where they found out about me, and I'm looking for something specific like "Your YouTube channel" or "Google Search for Access Lessons" and they type in "Internet." Really?

Rule #8: Don't post a whole ton of your source code asking for us to troubleshoot it. A few lines are OK, but anything more than, say, 10 lines is too much. That's not what we're here for. If you want someone to troubleshoot your code, paid help may be available in the Developer Network. Remember, you pay for my videos. Technical Support is not included. We volunteer our time to help out here in the Forums answering specific questions, and we don't mind reading through a little bit of your code, but don't go crazy.

Rule #9: Keep it brief, please. Ask your question as succinctly as possible. I'll be completely honest with you, if I see a post that's going to take me 5 minutes to read, I'm likely just to skip it and maybe come back to it later. Maybe. Time is precious folks. Sure, give me enough information so that I can answer your question, but I don't want to have to read War & Peace to be able to finish your question. If your question makes sense without Detail A, then leave it out.

Rule #10: No cross-posting, please. Do not post the same thing in multiple Forums. This isn't Facebook or Twitter. You're not reaching a different group of people. The admins and moderators here read all of the new posts in all of the Forums. It's just extra work for us having to delete your duplicate posts. Don't do it.

Rule #11: Before posting a question here, ask yourself, "is this something I could figure out on my own?" If the answer to your question is "yes," then Try It Yourself. See that link for details. Experiment with your database. Try figuring it out on your own first. You'll feel better about yourself and save everyone some time if you just try it yourself first.

Rule #12: On the flip-side of the coin from Rule #5, if you are a developer seeking to help others, please keep all solicitations or self promotion in the DevNet Forum as well. Please don't go posting your email address or number in other forums in an attempt to solicit paid work. You're welcome to tell the student, "if you are looking to hire someone to help you, please post in the Developer Network forum." I don't want to turn all of my forums into classified ad postings. Remember, as it says on the Rules Page for the DevNet, "I'm only allowing my Developer students who have completed my classes to offer assistance on projects here." So unless you're a developer who has been personally invited by me, unless you have completed my Developer series of classes, please don't attempt to solicit paid work. 

Rule #13: I shouldn't have to even list this, but this is a technology-based website. Please leave all discussions of controversial topics including religion and politics to other sites. Thank you. Well... unless, of course, you want to get into the political ramifications of the Romulans entering the Dominion War... then we can chat...

Rule #14: If this is a database you downloaded from my website, Does this behavior happen in the stock database you downloaded from my website? If you've made any changes to the database then the error could have crept in at any time. Test the original database right after downloading it and if this problem occurs it may be a bug and I'll be happy to fix it. But if you've made changes then I don't know what you've done and I won't be able to tell what the problem is without knowing what you've done. Many of my databases are several years old and have been downloaded hundreds of times. If there was a bug, chances are someone else would have reported it by now. So unless you're dealing with something that was just released, check the stock database. If you've tinkered with it... well...

Rule #15: I only speak English and this is an English-only site so please make all posts and comments in English only. If you don't speak English feel free to use Google Translate and post the translated English.

Rule #16: My moderators are here to assist my students and to support me by answering questions pertaining to my videos. They are volunteers, not paid employees, and I deeply appreciate their contributions. While some may provide more detailed answers than others, I've instructed them from day one to direct people to my existing videos or lessons if those resources already address the question at hand. You don't have to re-invent the wheel. Many of the same questions get asked over and over again, and I have videos to answer most of them. We're not here to hold your hand while you build your database project; rather, the focus of my forums is to help people understand my videos and answer questions related to those videos. I value each and every one of my moderators for the invaluable service they provide to both me and my students.

Rule #17: This isn't Stack Overflow or Experts Exchange; it's a support forum specifically for my videos. If a user has a question that isn't covered in one of my existing resources, they're welcome to submit it, and if the question piques my interest, I may create a video addressing it. If you're solely seeking technical support for your database, there are plenty of other websites you can visit.


Rule #19: Refrain from posting overly vague questions. While you shouldn't post a ton of information because no one wants to read a novel (see Rule #9 above), you need to give us enough information so that we have a chance of answering your question. Don't post something like "I built my database and it's not working. What could be the problem?" I have no idea. That's nowhere near enough information for me to tell you. Could be a million things. These Forums are for specific questions to specific problems. We're not going to walk you through building/fixing your database step-by-step. That's what my lessons are for. If you want a consultant to work with you one-on-one, then post in the DevNet Forum.

Rule #20: This is a public forum. If you post on my website, your name will be visible to the rest of the world. Yes, I require real names. It gives people accountability and prevents rude "keyboard warriors" which I don't want on my site. If you have extenuating circumstances, for example you're in witness protection, and don't want your real name published, contact me before you post and maybe I'll make an exception. Don't complain after the fact. 

Rule #21: Please do not post your contact information such as your phone number or email address. I expect all communication between members and students to happen on the website. The only exceptions are the Access Developer Network (if you're looking to hire a developer) and the Template Marketplace (if you're listing a template for sale).


Comments for Posting Rules
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2 monthsPosting RulesRamona Woitas


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