Chapter 18. Asking Questions

To get an appropriate answer to questions requires asking a clear question in a manner that motivates people to help. Writing questions that appear to be rude, lazy, or uses bad or unclear language likely will result in your question being ignored.

18.1. What do I do before I ask?
18.2. Where do I ask?
18.3. How do I ask?
18.4. What do I do when told to look elsewhere?
18.1.

What do I do before I ask?

Read the documentation and FAQ for the application. There is a wealth of TDE documentation availible both in the help center and online. A lot of time and effort has gone into this documentation, and often the answer to your question is there. The general TDE userguide can be found by typing help:/khelpcenter/userguide into the Konqueror address bar or khelpcenter help:/khelpcenter/userguide with the minicli.

Search the web: Usually searching for a specific error message or searching mailing list archives will find a solution.

Try it and see! Look through all the application options, read the What's this? and tooltips for the ones you're not sure about. If you're really unsure about an option save your data and then try. As long as you use common sense you are unlikely to break anything by experimenting.

Don't be lazy. If you show the people who you are asking that you are able to troubleshoot and research in a logical manner, you're showing them you're a reasonable person who is worth their time to help. It's your problem and not theirs so the legwork is yours to do. Save your helpers as much time as you can.

18.2.

Where do I ask?

Usually the best place to ask a question is on the IRC channels and mailing lists devoted to user questions. Don't post simple questions about using TDE to the devel channels and mailing lists, these are for technical discussions. Some good places are chat.freenode.net, channel: #trinity-desktop, and the TDE mailing lists.

18.3.

How do I ask?

Try to word your questions in a manner that gives the most information possible and is polite and courteous. Don't ask to ask, just ask!

Q: TDE sucks, it's slow

This is not a question that is likely to get you a useful answer. It does not give any useful information about troubleshooting the problem, and it starts out attacking the software in a way that isn't productive.

Q: Since updating TDE on Slackware Linux using sources, I have noticed it's being really slow sometimes applications take up to 20 seconds to launch. I am using the same user configuration as I had with the previous version. I have tried as a new user. I can't find anything about this on the mailing lists or by a web search. Could anyone point me to some information that could help?

This question is polite, contains information to help people troubleshoot the problem and shows your helpers what avenues you have already tried.

Don't presume automatically that the problem is the fault of TDE. Otherwise you likely will annoy people.

Use clear language with correct spelling. Watch out for any ambiguities and make sure you think about what you say before you write it. If you are asked for clarification, give it as best you can. TDE is a project where many of the users and developers are not native english speakers and if you don't use correct english, misunderstandings might ensue. Be patient. Use the language appropriate to the channel or mailing list you are in if you don't, people who might have been able to help you might ignore your message because it is not in a language they understand.

Include all information that could be relevant, even when you're not sure. Have you updated other software or hardware on your system, particularly system libraries or a new kernel? These things could affect how TDE performs. Even when you cannot see a connecting cause, someone else might.

Don't paraphrase error messages. Paste in the exact error, and if it's more than a line or two don't paste them directly into an IRC channel. Use an online paste service. If you must type the messages by hand, be sure you are accurate. When you provide faulty information, your helpers cannot help you as easily.

Follow through on your solution! Tell people when the solution worked, or when you have solved the problem yourself. This helps everybody involved know when solutions work and helps other users who might be searching for a similar solution to the problem.

18.4.

What do I do when told to look elsewhere?

Possibly you have not followed the above advice. You've not done your research, and the solution probably is one the helper knows very well to be easy to find. When provided a web link to an FAQ or documentation don't say, No, I don't want to have to read this I want you to just tell me. That response is considered bad manners. People who don't provide effort to learn often find others have little incentive to help.

Use common courtesy. TDE users and developers volunteer their time out of an already very busy schedule, and like to know that you are appreciating they are helping you for free. Be polite, say please and thank you, be constructive, and try to be pleasant and friendly.

Does this seem like a lot of trouble to ask a question? If you want to be able to feel that people owe you an answer or support, then you're quite welcome to pay for commercial support from companies that support TDE on Unix-like platforms. If you don't want to pay money, then pay the people who do this for free with your politeness and appreciation. :-)

If you think the answer to your question should be included in the TDE FAQ please feel free to submit any patches or suggestions to the TDE FAQ Maintainer, at