How to ask a question
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Thread: How to ask a question

  1. #1
    Board Regular Steve Hartman's Avatar
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    Pardon me Mr. Excel, but after the latest experience of showing someone how to do what they asked, only to have them say,"But that's not what I really wanted to do", I have to vent.

    (SOAPBOX MODE ON)

    Folks, most of the people answering questions on here have real jobs. We get on here during breaks and lunch to try and help. We really do want to help. Please don't waste our time by doing one of the following:

    Don't ask "How do I add 10 to each number in a row" when what you really want to do is divide by 5.

    Don't say I want to be able to pull the number only out of cells that say Weight=90 and then after you've gotten the answer say but all the cells say weight=90kgs, how do I do that?

    If you're an A level, or any other, student trying to get someone else to do your homework, forget it! I've already trained more than my share of clueless bosses who cheated their way through school in my 28 year career.

    When asking a question, proper spelling and punctuation are your friends. They help us understand what you need.

    And lastly, many of the questions on here would be answered if you would just use the Excel help function. When you need a function, click the = sign in the formula bar. It will show you all the functions categorized by type, and give you the syntax of their use.

    (SOAPBOX MODE OFF)



    Veni, Vidi, Velcro - I came, I saw, I stuck around

    Taxation WITH representation ain't so hot either

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    Hi

    For what i gave to say and what its worth :

    quote....When asking a question, proper spelling and punctuation are your friends. They help us understand what you need.

    I agree but sad me not english very good and i cant spell, so thats me out i guess, but as long as its OK i guess thats OK, i get 100% sucess with mine posts, so i guess thats good.

    I agree please use search and so much is there i use search so much it now almost silly, i have such a libary of goodies i encourage many others.

    This board is world wide, i have Africans who chat with me and their English is PERFECT dont know why or how im English! good on them guys.

    But Please i have had many spats and encourage to give as much details as poss as yes it help more as poss we can, i can name 20 or 30 guys who will and do break there neck to help, gladly i amone and hope my small part helps.

    All in all keep posting and contributiong thats what counts in the end - all about helping and so wonderful.

    I think te prob is people dont know who to explain somethink they dont undrestand fully and so make a mess of it, but more details the best i guess.

    Ill do all i can with out questions


    Free Excel based Web Toolbar available here.

    Jack in the UK
    J & R Excel Solutions
    "making Excel work for you"

  3. #3
    MrExcel MVP Aladin Akyurek's Avatar
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    Steve,

    Thanks for climbing up the soap box.

    New and even routine posters would profit from the guidelines Pearson has put together:

    http://www.cpearson.com/excel/newposte.htm

    Aladin

    On 2002-03-12 10:53, Steve Hartman wrote:
    Pardon me Mr. Excel, but after the latest experience of showing someone how to do what they asked, only to have them say,"But that's not what I really wanted to do", I have to vent.

    (SOAPBOX MODE ON)

    Folks, most of the people answering questions on here have real jobs. We get on here during breaks and lunch to try and help. We really do want to help. Please don't waste our time by doing one of the following:

    Don't ask "How do I add 10 to each number in a row" when what you really want to do is divide by 5.

    Don't say I want to be able to pull the number only out of cells that say Weight=90 and then after you've gotten the answer say but all the cells say weight=90kgs, how do I do that?

    If you're an A level, or any other, student trying to get someone else to do your homework, forget it! I've already trained more than my share of clueless bosses who cheated their way through school in my 28 year career.

    When asking a question, proper spelling and punctuation are your friends. They help us understand what you need.

    And lastly, many of the questions on here would be answered if you would just use the Excel help function. When you need a function, click the = sign in the formula bar. It will show you all the functions categorized by type, and give you the syntax of their use.

    (SOAPBOX MODE OFF)




  4. #4
    Board Regular Brian from Maui's Avatar
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    Steve and All!

    I'm guilty.....I apologize!!!

    Brian

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    MrExcel MVP Anne Troy's Avatar
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    (Gets up on tippy toes)

    Aladin:
    Those guidelines are excellent and everyone should follow them, but I'm so GLAD we're not as stringent as the experts who frequent the newsgroups. I'd love to be an MVP, but if I have to behave the way those Word MVPs in the newsgroups do, they can have that title. I knew Word pretty darn well when I started frequenting them, and they jumped down my throat for not using my real name (among other things), which I'm *legally* not able to do per my employer. So I quit that and came *above-ground*.

    Jack:
    I have always understood everything you've said and I greatly appreciate the amount of time you spend here--it's quite obvious you how much of a help you are. What I see in other posts is carelessness in their typing, and they don't bother to read it over to make sure it even makes sense. And we're trying to help with a sumif on ranges that are three sheets away or write code that does...WHAT?

    As experts who love to help, we help most the person that helps themselves. If I only have a short time to spend on the board, I'd rather help 3 people who explained their question legibly and clearly, than try to help 1 person who did not.

    (Gets down off tippy toes)

    But I DO love this place!
    ~Anne Troy

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    MrExcel MVP Ivan F Moala's Avatar
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    Ditto to ALL the above....

    Ivan

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    MrExcel MVP Mark O'Brien's Avatar
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    On 2002-03-12 11:06, Aladin Akyurek wrote:
    Steve,

    Thanks for climbing up the soap box.

    New and even routine posters would profit from the guidelines Pearson has put together:

    http://www.cpearson.com/excel/newposte.htm

    Aladin

    Steve, good topic.
    Aladin, good link.

    Ah, good old number 17. In my opinion probably the most ignored piece of advice. The best thing I learned to use was "F1", once I'd set my options to never show "Clippit".

  8. #8
    Rest in Peace
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    Here here!



  9. #9
    MrExcel MVP Tom Urtis's Avatar
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    My thoughts --

    What we know are the posts that get made, because we can see them. What we don't know are the posts that don't get made, from well-meaning people who need a solution but don't post their question for an unfounded fear of "looking stupid" (to their boss, their peers, or us), or not possessing perfect communication skills. Some grammar and punctuation errors are to be expected in an international environment like this, and most of the responders on this board provide enormous respect and tolerance for those errors. This respect goes a long way towards inviting there-to-fore silent visitors to eventually join in with questions or observations, which results in a greater knowledge base for everyone.

    That said, I agree with Steve and others, who point out that some posters can help themselves by clearly stating their problem, and supplying a data or code sample, with the expected result. Many of us are busy all day and can only donate a limited amount of time to helping others on this board. What I find hard to do, as Dreamboat said, is to spend time figuring out what someone means from a cryptic or confusing post. For me, if the "problem possibility tree" has more than 2 limbs due to incomprehensible language, I move on to the next post. And, as Steve said, giving incomplete background information makes it hard to answer follow-up questions that could have been addressed from the start.

    There's probably not a magic pill that will make for clear concise posts from every reader every time. And, there will always be the lazy element who could do a search for FAQs, but instead asks the same old question. Those groups will always exist. But there's another group too: Even though we are all comfortable with the internet and Excel, many people still are not, so some of what we see is the stumbling of their first cyber-steps. I give that group credit for reaching out and trying. What I attempt to do is work on recognizing the difference between posts, and hope at the end of the day I guessed correctly which is which.

    Tom Urtis

  10. #10
    MrExcel MVP Ivan F Moala's Avatar
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    On 2002-03-12 21:10, Tom Urtis wrote:
    My thoughts --

    What we know are the posts that get made, because we can see them. What we don't know are the posts that don't get made, from well-meaning people who need a solution but don't post their question for an unfounded fear of "looking stupid" (to their boss, their peers, or us), or not possessing perfect communication skills. Some grammar and punctuation errors are to be expected in an international environment like this, and most of the responders on this board provide enormous respect and tolerance for those errors. This respect goes a long way towards inviting there-to-fore silent visitors to eventually join in with questions or observations, which results in a greater knowledge base for everyone.

    That said, I agree with Steve and others, who point out that some posters can help themselves by clearly stating their problem, and supplying a data or code sample, with the expected result. Many of us are busy all day and can only donate a limited amount of time to helping others on this board. What I find hard to do, as Dreamboat said, is to spend time figuring out what someone means from a cryptic or confusing post. For me, if the "problem possibility tree" has more than 2 limbs due to incomprehensible language, I move on to the next post. And, as Steve said, giving incomplete background information makes it hard to answer follow-up questions that could have been addressed from the start.

    There's probably not a magic pill that will make for clear concise posts from every reader every time. And, there will always be the lazy element who could do a search for FAQs, but instead asks the same old question. Those groups will always exist. But there's another group too: Even though we are all comfortable with the internet and Excel, many people still are not, so some of what we see is the stumbling of their first cyber-steps. I give that group credit for reaching out and trying. What I attempt to do is work on recognizing the difference between posts, and hope at the end of the day I guessed correctly which is which.

    Tom Urtis
    Tom.....well said....soemtimes I forget
    where I came from and thats the same position
    that perhaps other posters may be in. As a
    general rule I'll try and help out IF i can.



    Ivan

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