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Before You Ask

  • Engage your brain! We understand that running into a problem can turn off the rational centers of the brain, but please sit back and think for a bit about your problem before running off to find help. All too often a little common sense is all you need.
  • Search the MySQL manual. The MySQL manual contains a lot of examples and comments, it is likely your issue has come up before. It is also likely there is a MySQL manual in your own language, making it even easier.
  • Search the forum. If you're having a problem, chances are good that someone else has had the same problem. Please search the forum for existing answers before starting a new thread. Nothing is more irritating to a long time member than answering the same question for the umpteenth time because someone didn't use the forum's search feature.
  • Search the web. Even if the same question hasn't been asked on our forum, it may have been asked somewhere else on the web. Search engines are incredibly powerful, and they won't flame you about wasting their time if you ask a dumb question.

Composing A Good Question

  • Don't hijack an existing thread. If you searched the forum before asking and the help provided in an existing thread did not solve your problem, then your problem is different enough to justify creating a new thread.
  • Create a meaningful thread title. So you've searched and haven't found anything that fits your problem? Great! We can help, but you need to peak our interest with a thread title that briefly describes your problem. Many members browse the topic list and choose which threads to post in only by the title. Oh, and for future reference, "MySQL Help", "MySQL Question", or any variation thereof does not describe your problem. We're well aware that this forum is about MySQL and the majority of threads are asking questions or need help.
  • If you don't know what the problem is, create a title that tells us what you're trying to do (as opposed to how you're trying to do it). For example: "Trying to convert an string to a float".
  • Ask a question that can be answered. Do not ask "What's wrong with my query?", "Why doesn't this work?" or anything else that does not give us useful information
  • We're not psychic. Please organize your thoughts and provide as much information as possible to get us onto the same page. If we have to play 20 questions just to get enough information to help you, your question is more likely to go unanswered.
  • Post your query. If we don't know what you did, how can we possibly help? Use the CODE button so your formatting is preserved.
  • Trim your query down as much as possible. Looking through lines of irrelevant parts will not expedite things.
  • If we can't follow your query, it's difficult to help. We don't care that you're still working on it. If you want us to read it it must be readable.
  • Explain what the query is supposed to do. If we don't know where the target is, how can we help you hit it?
  • Explain what actually happened! If we don't know where the arrow went when you shot it, how can we tell what went wrong and how far from the target you are?
  • If your query generates an error, post the full error message. Indicate clearly which line in the error message compares to which line in your code snippet (both don't always match exactly).
  • If your query contains strings from variables or other controls (textbox, etc), please post the text of the resulting query as sent to the database engine.
  • Provide the table structure. Without the structure it's sometimes hard to spot an obvious mistake.
  • Provide sample data. Some queries cannot be answered if there is no data to test it on. We can only guess, you know what you're working with.
  • Do not ask for queries. We are not a coding service. We will help you fix your query. If anyone posts a complete working solution for you, they are enabling cheaters. If you use that code you are a cheater.
  • Do not bore us with how new you are. We can tell by your query. Do not apologize. We were all new once, and unless you are completely brain dead you will get better.
  • Do not ask us to "take it easy on you."
  • Do not say "I don't know what's going on". That's obvious since you posted for help. Use your time wisely and explain as best you can.
  • Do not post your requirements and nothing else. We view that as a lazy do-nothing student that wants us to do their work for them. That's cheating and we will be hard on you.
  • Do not tell us how urgent your problem is. Seriously, for us there is no urgency at all. Many that can help will ignore any URGENT or ASAP requests.

Interpreting Answers

  • If you don't understand an answer, try to figure it out before asking for clarification. Use the same tools from the "Before You Ask" section.
  • Try not to take replies personally. Many frequent posters on DaniWeb will cut right to the chase and not worry about making you feel good about yourself. This is not intended to give offense; it's simply the fastest and most direct way to solve the technical problem at hand.
  • If someone is being excessively rude, please report them with the "Flag Bad Post" button. Do not take matters into your own hands by replying in kind. Reacting to rudeness with rudeness is likely to result in all parties being punished.

Further Reading

Additions

If you have anything useful to add to this readme, send me (or another moderator) a private message including the details.

Thanks to Narue/WaltP. Last update: 2013-07-04

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