Shay Shmeltzer's Oracle Development Tools Tips

10 Commandments for the OTN Forums Member

Shay Shmeltzer
Director of Product Management - Oracle

I spend a good chunk of time everyday answering questions on the JDeveloper discussion forum on OTN.

A lot of people find these forums to be a good source for answers to their questions and problems. And it shows - I think we are getting close to a hundred new thread on the JDev forum every day.

However I think there are some things that posters to the forums can do to make the whole experience of using the forums a lot better.

So here are my 10 commandments for the forum poster divided into 5 rules for correct posting and 5 for being a good member of the community.

Five rules to getting a better solution

1. Have a meaningful subject line

I'm tired of seeing a subject line like "I need urgent help". Your subject should specify what the problem core is and in what area

2. Give details about versions and technologies

Are you using JDeveloper or JDeveloper 9.0.4? Are you using ADF BC or EJB?

3. Give detailed error messages

Don't say - it throws an error - tell us what the error is and give the stack trace.

4. If possible provide steps to reproduce the problem

If something doesn't work for you - I can't know why if you don't tell me what you did. Sometime you can even post code that reproduce the problem

5. Search before you post

It's for your own good - it brings you the solution faster.

Search both the forum and Google for your question - you'll be surprised how many times you'll find a solution that someone else got.

Five rules to become a better member of the community

6. Get a name

In your forums preferences you can set up a name or handle that will help us recognize you (and even a link to your blog).

Do you really want to be known as user5667847?

Using your real name is even better - then when someone meets you in a conference or an event - They'll already know who you are.

7. Post the solution

If your issue was solved post the solution on the thread so others that run into the same error can fix it faster. Just writing "I fixed it" doesn't count.

8. Mark solved problems with [Solved]

Once you found a solution to a problem edit the thread and add [SOLVED] to the subject line. This will help people identify solved problems.

9. Track your threads

In your forum preferences check the option that alerts/emails you when your thread has been updated. This way you'll be able to get better response time and also answer follow up questions.

10. Don't just ask question - give some answers as well

The forum is a community - the community will only grow if you'll be an active participant. Posting question is just one side of the coin - actually answering other people questions is even more important.

So go ahead and show off the knowledge you have gathered - it is the first step to take if you want to become an Oracle ACE.

Further reading on the topic:

Yout Forum preferences

Forums FAQ

JDev forum for first time users

Join the discussion

Comments ( 12 )
  • Mike Saturday, March 3, 2007
    While all of these suggestions make absolute sense, I was wondering whether it was possible to add flags to threads (open - solved - bug submitted)?
  • Shay Shmeltzer Saturday, March 3, 2007
    Mike, The forums use an off the shelf software called Jive, and it doesn't have this feature right now. Later this year we are planning to upgrade the version of the software and this is suppose to add more features. I don't know if the feature you are describing is going to be there. But we can always hope :-)
  • Jim Smith Sunday, March 4, 2007
    Unfortunately the thread tracking feature doesn't work. I haven't received any notifications for about a month.
  • Peter Lorenzen Sunday, March 4, 2007
    Good list. I like the idea to make a tread as solved but I just tried with 2 of mine and my subject line was so long that it did not fit :-(
  • Borkur Steingrimsson Sunday, March 4, 2007
    Good points indeed. The one I agree the strongest with might be the last one. How sad is it to see users who have posted in the hundreds but never ever answer any questions.
    Also, on point 9. This Jive software doesn't allow you to change your email address ... I suppose that will also be fixed "Later this year .." ? :)
  • APC Monday, March 5, 2007
    A good list. As a regular (not to say habitual) contributor to the OTN forums I do think it would be useful if new joiners could be given a steer on forum etiquette before they are allowed to post. Of course, probably as many of them would read it as would read an EULA but it would be a start.
    Of course, it's not just the OPs who can be uncouth. Often the responders are bad mannered or unhelpful. This is why I wrote my guide on How To Be A Good Guru (available on my blog - your site seems to be configured not to reject comments with Blogspot URLs)
    Cheers, APC
  • cube60 Saturday, March 31, 2007
    No doubt this blog has been the most helpful to me over the years and the flags for threads status would be very useful
    And in response to comment about people asking questions and never anwersing - Don't forget that this forum is not for the guru alone. You don't expect a newbie to know of what to post to help another. And difficult tracking the gurus who ask for help but don't contribute by answering to help.
  • Kavitha A Wednesday, April 4, 2007
    "10 Commandments for the OTN Forums Member" - This ought to be the first page every forum user gets to read right after registering!!
  • Marussig Friday, April 6, 2007
    Hi, Shay!
    I think you should give suggestion to "show" print screen! Link (for example) http://www.host.my_problem_image.gif should be copy of screen of the problem. There are a lot of free space (for ex.: www.geocities.com) to upload image or it could be their own host. In this case we can "see" the problem as well and not only talk about it. This could save a lot of time!
  • Carl Backstrom Thursday, April 3, 2008
    While not as specific to the OTN forums as your post I always liked this write up of How to Ask Questions http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
  • guest Monday, August 6, 2012

    I understand this is a 5-year old post, however wanted to let you know that the "Forums FAQ" link (www.oracle.com/us/technology/forums/faq.html) in the further reading topics gives a 404 Page not Found error.

  • Shay Monday, August 6, 2012

    guest - thanks for the note - link to FAQ fixed to point to:


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