Email tip: When asking for help with a problem, also mention what you've already tried

Raymond Chen

When you ask a question, you should also mention what steps you’ve already taken when attempting to solve it on your own. First of all, it saves the people who decide to help you with your problem from exploring lines of investigation which you’ve already tried (and which you know don’t work). “I tried setting the timeout to 60 seconds before issuing the call, but it still failed with the error ERROR_NETWORK_UNREACHABLE.” Second, it cuts down on noise on the discussion list. — Try setting the timeout to a higher value.I already tried that; it didn’t work.” Third, it demonstrates that you cared enough about the problem to try to solve it yourself. It’s surprising how many questions come in from people who didn’t even make the slightest effort to solve their problem on their own. “When I issue the command show active, it shows the active tags. How do I filter it to show only active tags that I created?” — This is explained in the online help: show active -?. If the online help is unclear, please describe what you’re having trouble with and we’ll work to improve the documentation. “Thanks! The explanation in the help is just fine.”

(Yes, that was an actual response.)


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