PHP Developers Network

Before Post Read: General Posting Guidelines
Page 1 of 1

Author:  twigletmac [ Fri May 16, 2003 6:17 am ]
Post subject:  Before Post Read: General Posting Guidelines

I'm posting these as general guidelines for users to refer to when posting on the devnet forums. These are not rules, you will not get banned for not following them but you will probably be pointed towards them on a regular basis if you totally ignore them.

Start Here:

In a nutshell:
  1. Try a search first - Google, the PHP manual, the MySQL manual, Phuse and this forum are all good resources.
  2. Read the tutorials - they're not there for nothing and cover some frequently asked questions.
  3. If you're looking for a script to do something in particular and have no wish to write your own please either go to or advertise the job in the Job Hunt forum.
  4. Read the forum descriptions carefully, you want to post your question in the most relevant one.
  5. Do not hijack other people's threads, post your own topic and reference (i.e. link to) the other thread in it.
  6. Write your question carefully, think about what you need to achieve and exactly what help you are looking for.
  7. Write a clear subject line, it'll help people deciding whether to look at your post or not - 'help, PHP noob' is probably going to be ignored by some.
  8. Don't just post - 'This doesn't work' - tell us exactly what doesn't work and make sure to include any error messages you're getting.
  9. Use the bbcode tags for code blocks - for PHP code use the tags to enclose it, for all other code use the tags - this will make it much easier for people to read your code (especially if you've taken the time to indent it properly).
  10. Don't cross-post, once you've chosen the most relevant forum there is no need to post the same question in any of the others.
  11. Remember all the people here answering questions are volunteers, be polite to them, thank them for their help and if you aren't getting the answers you want refine your question don't have a go at the people trying to help you.
  12. If you work out the answer yourself post the solution - it'll help the next person who comes along with a similar question.
  13. If the solution someone else gives you works, post back and say so - it's always nice to know that a problem's fixed.

It's always good to remember that it's not just how you ask a question that is important - how you answer a question should be thought out too.
  1. Don't just post RTFM - try and give a link to the section of the manual that is relevant.
  2. Read the question carefully, if you don't understand what's being asked, say so.
  3. Read the other answers in the thread, don't just read the first and last posts - you could be missing a lot inbetween if you do and it could make the help you give irrelevant. It may also be frustrating for those already involved in the thread to see that you've ignored their input.
  4. Try and help people help themselves, if someone has posted an link to the relevant area of the manual (or a tutorial or other example page) don't just post a cut-and-paste code snippet, yes you know the answer but give the poster a chance to try and sort it themselves.
  5. Respect other posters - if you are elaborating or disagreeing with what's been said be constructive.
  6. Explain your answer - don't just post a bunch of code with no clue as to what it fixes/replaces.
  7. Remember that just because you always do something one way does not mean it is the right way, neither is someone else's code immediately wrong because you don't recognise the functions they're using - use the manual to make sure you know what you're talking about.
  8. register_globals is off by default, unless you're helping those with older PHP versions (4.0.6 or below) please use the superglobal arrays when dealing with user input.
  9. Check your code - if you can just run it to check for parse errors.
  10. Telling someone to turn down their error reporting is not a valid solution.

This is the first draft of forum guidelines, if you disagree with them, think my wording's a bit off or have any other comments, please PM me (twigletmac) and I'll take a view on it. Likewise if you think I've missed something off.


Author:  jason [ Wed Jun 18, 2003 9:00 am ]
Post subject:  Why Ask Questions in Public?

Note, please read this, it's very important, and very true.

Bill Waterson, Calvin and Hobbes wrote:
God put me on earth to accomplish a certain number of things.
Right now I am so far behind I will never die.

I, like many other people with technical expertise in some topic, regularly read various Usenet newsgroups and mailing lists and try to answer questions for which I know the answer. However, I am also extremely busy with a large number of projects, often including improving the very software that people are asking questions about, and I've found that taking some time to help other people sometimes has the regrettable tendency to add to my total level of pending work. This is sometimes hard for me to deal with, and I'd like to ask for your help in solving this problem.

The problem generally takes the following form: Someone posts a question about something I know something about. I respond in the newsgroup or on the mailing list with some suggestions or possibly some questions. In response, the person mails me directly (rather than responding in the newsgroup or mailing list) with the answers and with other questions. Occasionally the problem takes another, related form: I post about a topic, someone who has a question about that topic reads my posts and thinks I sound knowledgable, and they send me e-mail asking me questions.

I understand why people do this. Often they view newsgroups and mailing lists as giant, impersonal places and want to get out of them as soon as they can, and as soon as they find someone who can answer their questions, they latch on to that person and want to interact with them directly. I'm sure that they don't understand that this behavior causes problems for the person of whom they're asking questions.

Unfortunately, it does cause problems at least for me. I receive several hundred e-mail messages a day, including messages that are critical to my job and must be responded to quickly. It's already difficult for me to keep up with all of them, and these additional questions add to the load. Please remember that I'm not being paid to give technical support, and I may have only had a few moments inbetween other projects to post the public message you saw. Now, once you've sent me e-mail, I feel some obligation to answer it, it adds to the (often long) list of unanswered messages in my inbox that I feel guilty about, and in general it tends to add stress to my life.

Even worse, by mailing me directly rather than answering your question in public you have robbed yourself of many other valuable resources: all of the other readers of the newsgroup or mailing list. I'm almost never the sole technical expert on whatever topic you need help with, but by mailing me directly you've put all of the onus of answering your question on me personally. You haven't given those of us who can answer your question the opportunity to share the load among us and provide better (and peer-reviewed!) answers.

By asking questions in private, you've also robbed those people who come after you with the same question of benefiting from the answer that you receive. Newsgroups are archived, and frequently mailing lists are as well. Many people search those archives for answers to their questions before they ask. The more questions and answers we can get into those archives, the more the general searchable base of knowledge grows for everyone else working in the same area.

So please, unless you have a question that only I can answer for some reason, ask it in public on a newsgroup or mailing list. I'm more likely to be in a question-answering mood when I encounter your question, you're giving more people the chance to help you, you're helping all the people who come after you that have the same question, and you won't be contributing to the problem that many of us have in keeping up with our private e-mail. You're even likely to get a better answer, and could spark a discussion of your problem that would give far more information than you would have gotten out of any one individual.

Thank you for making it easier to help you with your problem.


This article was originally found here:

It was graciously put into the public domain.

Two other good links include:

Why Questions Go Unanswered

How to Report Bugs Effectively

Author:  jason [ Sun Sep 21, 2003 7:34 pm ]
Post subject: 

Before posting, look here:

Tutorials Section on these Forums

Author:  twigletmac [ Mon Oct 20, 2003 2:46 am ]
Post subject:  PHP Version and Configuration

When you post it is almost always useful for you to provide some basic information about how PHP is setup. The following code snippet (provided by JAM) when run will display information which would be useful for you to provide in your question. This will enable us to help you better.
Syntax: [ Download ] [ Hide ]
echo '<pre>';
echo 'PHP Version: '.phpversion()."\n";
echo 'Display Errors: '.(ini_get('display_errors') == '1' ? 'On' : 'Off')."\n";
echo 'Error Level: '.(ini_get('error_reporting') == '2047' ? 'E_ALL' : 'Not E_ALL')."\n";
echo 'Register Globals: '.(ini_get('register_globals') == '' ? 'Off' : 'On')."\n";
echo '</pre>';
PHP Version: 4.3.4RC2-dev
Display Errors: On
Error Level: E_ALL
Register Globals: Off



Author:  m3mn0n [ Fri Mar 19, 2004 11:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Before Post Read: General Posting Guidelines

twigletmac wrote:
In a nutshell:
  1. Try a search first - Google, the PHP manual, the MySQL manual, Phuse and this forum are all good resources.
  2. Read the tutorials - they're not there for nothing and cover some frequently asked questions.
  3. If you're looking for a script to do something in particular and have no wish to write your own please either go to or advertise the job in the Job Hunt forum.

These are by far the most important, and I'd like to stress that fact since I've not been seeing many people do research before posting.

Please help us help you better. :)

Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC - 5 hours
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group