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Anatomy of a Good Topic

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For the most part people come to FM Forums seeking advice or assistance.  
If given a little thought, your topic can really engage the reader to want to assist you in finding the best answer or solution.

Step 1: Choose Wisely!

Spoiler

Choose-Wisely.jpg

By first looking at the topical nature of the forums you can see there are many different forums that cover a wide range of discussions. By way of self-curating the site, try to choose a forum that covers the intent of your topic.  We realize that some items cross boundaries and that is ok, just choose a forum that fits the spirit of your topic. If it's wrong a moderator will move it to a forum that best suits the conversation.

Step 2: Titles, Names, & Tags

Be terse but informative. With your topic title, encourage your reader to want to read your topic. Don't be needy or demanding with  "please help" post titles. We realize you've hit a brick wall or may be very frustrated or have a demanding boss. But take a breath - it will be ok. Then compose a topic title that draws them in. Add a tag or two, they will appear next to the topic, it can just be a simple word or phrase that tags the post to some FileMaker-centric topic. 

Step 3: No Need for Apologies

It is not necessary to start your post with an apology to the reader regarding where you are posting or your current understanding of a topic. We are pretty nice here and won't fault you for trying. 

Step 4: Prerequisite 

In order for your reader to provide the best response, make sure your profile has been updated with the platform and version of FileMaker that you are using. Otherwise we will assume you are using the most current versions, and the advice given may not work in older versions. If your post is specific to a version / platform / deployment please inform the reader — we don't necessarily need your computer specs, just enough background so that the reader can envision your environment. 

Step 5: Goals

Stating your desired goals, and what you are attempting to achieve in a simple statement will aid the reader as they read further in to the details of your conversation.

Step 6: What have you tried?

Outline your process and steps you have taken, to get to you the point you are at. It doesn't have to be overly verbose, an essay isn't necessary. 

Step 7: Format for Emphasis

Use the WYSIWYG editor to format text as needed to provide details. You can reference generic terms such as table::field or use your own nomenclature but if the context dictates provide the reader clarity what things may mean if they would not be apparent to someone outside your organization, or industry.

this is code from a calculation
  • bullets
  • lists

Step 8: Pictures & Sample Files

Admit it, you know you miss Show & Tell from kindergarten. Re-live a past life by providing a screen image of your solution. Provide the reader information and context. Use third party tools to draw arrows on your image if needed. 

Can you send a clone of your solution? - If you do please make sure confidential data is removed, and your boss says it is ok. If you are modifying a commercial version of software that you have purchased — we request that you not do post a clone of these files; as that would be most likely against your terms of service. In that case you can make and post a sample file that recreates the issue you are having.

Step 9: Cross Posting

There are other venues on the internet that discuss FileMaker and many of our users are active participants of these resources. If you have already posted your question or topic on another site please copy the link and mention that your topic is a cross post this way others will know and may choose to review the threads and offer alternatives or not repeat a reply in both places. If you received your answer please report back here with a link to the response so that we all have a sense of closure. 

Step 10: A Sense of Humor

Keep your sense of humor, and don't forget to :D smile. The site is visited by members of all skill levels, many are full time developers and consultants and generously volunteer their time and energy to the site. When the occasion calls for it give them your gratitude :worship: .  A little levity never hurts. Also keep in mind that American English is not everyone's native language -- some things may not translate. If English is not your first language, just do your best. 

 

We really appreciate this! It gives us a little spring in our step. :tigger: 

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