How To Ask a Question Here

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Cyborg Agent
Although useful for any type of question, this HOWTO is specific for the Open Source Section.

So you've got a problem, huh ? Of course forums are the best place to get an answer. But most of your problems remain unsolved. Why ?

Read On...

Before Posting a query on Thinkdigit Forums, or any other forums,

There are a lot of search engines available on earth, Google being one of the best. Always the first step you must do is to get answer from Search Engines. 99% of the problems are generic, and has been answered before. So there's a fair good chance to get your problem solved without waiting for someone to reply.

Read FAQs
There are numerous FAQs and Guides available on almost all software/hardware on earth. Regarding Linux, The Linux Documentation Project is an excellent place to hang out. Apart from these, Almost all Linux Distros and Softwares maintain a FAQ by their own. Most of the common problems are handled by these faqs.

For finding a FAQ, go to the respective site of the software/distro, and look for some link FAQ. If you're unable to find one, Open up, type in software FAQ [Eg: Apache FAQ], and click Search.

Try it yourself, Read the source
Do a little bit of experiment by yourself, but be sure not to do that being root. Always keep a log of your activities.

If you're a programmer, you can check into the source of the program for bugs, or more help.

Check Error logs
Almost all GNU/Linux software maintains activity logs, So have a look at the specific logs to find out the problems.

If everything fails, read Manuals

This should come first in the list, But Manuals are considered as the most boring part regarding a software.

If you've problems installing something from source, Please read the README and INSTALL files provided along with the source. Try to get a manual from the software/distro website and have a look. I've many problem solved by this method.

Posting on forums

So, if you haven't find a solution by any of the above methods, the next best thing you can do is to ask the experts, of course found at various forums.

Choosing the right forum
Even though Thinkdigit Forum is an excellent Tech Forum and Community, I believe this isn't the best place to ask any GNU/Linux questions. You'll find several techies, hackers and geeks here, but you'll find more of them somewhere else.

The best place to get an answer regarding to a GNU/Linux related question on earth is, Most probably you don't have ask a query there, you'll find it searching.

If you're problems are related to a specific distro, and you've got a lot of problems, it's better you register with a forum which handles that distro only. For example is an excellent place to get your Fedora related problems solved. [A list of links to several GNU/Linux Distro Forums and FAQs can be found at the end of this post]

Use the Search Button
On Think Digit Forums and any other forums, You can find a Search Button for sure. Use that before posting a new topic. There is a high chance that your question has been answered already, or there will be a discussion going on the same topic.

Read the Sticky
On several forums, Moderators make Important topics are Sticky Topics and these topics stay on top of others. Check whether any of the Stickies contains solution for your problems.

Check on the These topics have been covered, Tips n Tricks for Linux and other Sticky Topics on this forum.

Use a Sensible Topic Title
Always Choose a Sensible and apt Topic Title. Generic titles will attract more user views, but are often discarded by Serious users/hackers.

On Web forums, the subject header is your golden opportunity to attract qualified experts' attention in around 50 characters or fewer. Don't waste it on babble like “Please help me� (let alone “PLEASE HELP ME!!!!�; messages with subjects like that get discarded by reflex). Don't try to impress us with the depth of your anguish; use the space for a super-concise problem description instead.

A good convention for subject headers, used by many tech support organizations, is “object - deviation�. The “object� part specifies what thing or group of things is having a problem, and the “deviation� part describes the deviation from expected behavior.

HELP! Video doesn't work properly on my laptop!

XFree86 4.1 misshapen mouse cursor, Fooware MV1005 vid. chipset

XFree86 4.1 mouse cursor on Fooware MV1005 vid. chipset - is misshapen

Be precise and informative about your problem
-> Describe the symptoms of your problem or bug carefully and clearly.
-> Describe the environment in which it occurs (machine, OS, application, whatever).
-> Provide your vendor's distribution and release level (e.g.: “Fedora Core 2�, “Slackware 9.1�, etc.).
-> Describe the research you did to try and understand the problem before you asked the question.
-> Describe the diagnostic steps you took to try and pin down the problem yourself before you asked the question.
-> Describe any recent changes in your computer or software configuration that might be relevant.
-> Post the output of error logs, if present.

Provide your System Specs
Whether it is a Software or Hardware problem, always provide your complete Machine configuration, along with specific information about your Softwares.

Eg: If you've got some problems with your Web Server.
I'm using Fedora Core 4 with kernel 2.6.15, GNOME 2.10, no KDE, Apache 2.0.54, MySQL 3.14 and PHP 5.0.4. My System Specs are AMD Athlon XP 2000+ on an ASUS A7N266VM Mobo, 1 GB DDR400 RAM, 120 GB Seagate Baracudda HDD.

Provide more details on a specific Hardware/Software you're facing problems with.

Expect Questions for Questions
The hackers gonna ask you a lot of questions. So be prepared. Always Do the best you can to anticipate the questions a hacker will ask, and to answer them in advance in your request for help.

Please Read This too - How To Ask Questions The Smart Way

Links to Various Forums and FAQs
The Linux Documentation Project

Official Debian FAQ
Debian Help
Debian User Forums

Official Fedora FAQ
The Unofficial Fedora FAQ

Gentoo Linux FAQ
Gentoo Forums

Knoppix FAQ
Knoppix Forum

Unofficial Mandriva FAQ
Mandriva Club

MEPIS Community Forum

PCLinuxOS Forum

Official Slackware FAQ
Slackware Help Forum

Unofficial SuSE FAQ
SuSE Forum

Official Ubuntu FAQ
Unofficial Ubuntu Starter Guide
Ubuntu Forum


Who stole my Alpaca!
Before you ask for help.

Before you ask for help.
Its quite common to run into a problem configuring a Linux Box. The person usually asks a question on the forum assuming that someone can aid them solving their problem. However its quite common that the person just basically posts a question and leaves the description out. Consider the following scenario on IRC in #Ubuntu
Person 1: "My Web Browser Doesn't Work?"
Person 2: "Does it give you an error" ?
Person 1 : "Um no it doesnt..."

Whats wrong with the above question? Sure you browser doesn't work. Did it go out for a break? Did it catch the flu? Does it have an oil leak? The question could be anything from an incorrect address to a bug in the browser.

Moral of the story is "Help us Help you!"

Take the time to enter some of the following information for others to see.

What Distro and release are you using?
Ubuntu 8.04 or Hardy Heron. Also mention if it is 64 bit because everyone assumes it is 32 bit otherwise.

What specifc applciation you have a problem with?
In the above example is it Firefox , Opera, IceWeasel , Lynx etc?

Do you get an Error Message?
If so post it. If it is long use or and paste the link to the pasted error here.

Include useful Logs.
Usually helping with hardware problems require the need for texts like dmesg , lspci , fstab. If you know which one you need be sure to pastebin that as well. Otherwise soemone might ask for it and you could post it in then.

Mention what you tried.
Its quite annoying typing up a solution in a page to find out that you already tried that but failed to mention it. Be sure to mention what you tried or most likely people are going to the same solutions you tried already.

Be Patient
Bumping a thread every other 5 minutes is kind of irritating and uncalled for. If someone knows the answer they most likely will post it :).

What do I do while I'm waiting?
The best thing to do while you are waiting for a solution is to use ,, the stickies or the search feature and find out if there are solutions to the issue you posted already given.

Again just my two cents.
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