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Please login or register. 2017-05-28, 03:04:32

Author Topic: [ATTN] Generally Vital Pieces of Information When Asking  (Read 6054 times)

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Offline Tsanten

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For Kloxo-MR use 'sh /script/sysinfo' for identified your system'.

If this file not exists, update your Kloxo-MR (read viewtopic.php?f=4&t=644)

One of the biggest problems I run into when I stumble across someone asking for help is a lack of information. It's usually not enough to say "I can't get (insert software package here) to work. Help!". In most cases, more information is needed. A lot of time is wasted with people having to ask questions like "What Linux distro are you using?", "Are there any error messages?" and "What have you tried to do to fix the problem?". So, I've put together this short guide about what information to provide when asking for help, with the hope that it cuts down on the back and forth and gets people's problems solved quicker.

1. Your Overall Goal
Consider the following hypothetical question... "How do I run a shell command from PHP?" This is a pretty common question, and many times when I've seen it asked, the person is trying to do something like get a list of files in a specific directory, or something else that PHP has a function for. A better version of this question would be "How do I get a list of files in a directory in PHP?". Sure, you can accomplish your goal using exec(), but there's probably a better way, and if you tell everyone what you actually want to do, they can point you in the right direction. The only exception to this rule is if you already know the right way, but can't use it for some valid reason. If that's the case, you should tell everyone.

2. Exact Copy of Error Messages
When you're trying to do something, and get an error, it's important to copy the error message. If you tell someone "I'm trying to do X and I get an error", they have no way of knowing what went wrong. If you're trying to do something, there could be any number of things that could cause an error. Error messages usually contain information that helps more experienced individuals determine the root cause of the problem. Copy the exact error message (or messages if there's more than one!), remove any confidential information (IP addresses, hostnames, usernames, and passwords), and post it along with your question. The absolute worst thing you can do, besides not including the error messages, is posting only your interpretation of the error message. The error message could be "Could not write to file /path/to/some/file", but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's a permission problem, so don't tell us "The error message said there was a permission problem". If something is failing and not producing a visible error message, check your logs. On Linux, these are usually found in /var/log, and if the application doesn't have it's own log file, the syslog is a good place to look.

3. Current Configuration
If you're having a problem with a specific piece of software, it's usually a good idea to include your configuration files. Your problem may be caused by a setting other than the ones you're looking at or changing. If you're using multiple pieces of software together (such as nginx, PHP and MySQL), include all of the configuration files. A problem that you think might be caused by PHP could really be caused by nginx, or vice-versa. With the full configuration files available, someone who is helping you can check for these kinds of problems easily.

4. What You've Tried
This should be pretty self-explanatory. If you've tried something and it didn't work, tell us! Things that you've tried could also affect the solution and might need to be undone. It'll help narrow down the problem, and ultimately will save everyone time and effort.

5. What OS/Linux Distribution You're Using
"I need to install _____, please help". Every operating system has different methods of installing software. Windows uses .exe or .msi files. On Debian or Ubuntu, you can use Synaptic or apt or aptitude. On CentOS or other RHEL clones, you generally use yum or rpm. Other distributions use other methods, and some software you have to install from source. Each distribution also has differences in where configuration files and libraries are located, and different software for managing the system. These can even differ between two version of the same distribution, so it's also important to include version numbers. If the person helping you doesn't know what operating system or Linux distribution you're using, you're likely to get an answer that won't help you, confuses the situation even more, and can even cause more problems. Trying to run "apt-get install ____" isn't going to work on CentOS, and you're going to be back to ask "Why won't apt-get work?".

The five pieces of information listed above are the most vital when asking a question on a technical forum. Without them, time will be wasted, and you might never get your question answered. A lot of people won't take the time to reply just to ask you for this information and then wait for a response. And when in doubt, more information is always better than not enough information!
« Last Edit: 1970-01-01, 01:00:00 by Guest »

Online MRatWork

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Re: Generally Vital Pieces of Information When Asking for He
« Reply #1 on: 2013-02-02, 01:36:08 »
Better set as 'Global' or 'Sticky'.
« Last Edit: 1970-01-01, 01:00:00 by Guest »
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