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Welcome to the March 2018 edition of the DaniWeb Digest

Being smart people, you signed up at DaniWeb after all, you probably are well aware that March gets the name from the Roman god of war, Mars. Which seems appropriate, considering that DaniWeb had been at war with some very determined spamming groups during the end of last year and across the start of this. However, while the war against spammers can never be truly over for any online service such as ours, we can declare victory in the these latest battles. DaniWeb has historically used many weapons against the spamming masses, from methods to frustrate the spambots that would otherwise swamp us with fake member accounts and associated spam, through to an eagle-eyed team of moderators based around the world to cover differ time zone challenges when it comes to deleting the spam that inevitably gets through. While we have no intention of tipping spammers the wink by detailing the precise nature of our defences, we are happy to announce that Dani has worked hard with others behind the scenes (as she always does) to implement our very own custom-coded spambot. Think of it as our Mother Of All Spammerbombs if you like. It's certainly proving effective against the gangs that were targeting us so heavily for the last six months, not that you as a member of our community will probably have noticed. Which is all down to our truly heroic team of moderators who volunteer their time to not only help answer questions in the forums, but also to help clear out spam as soon as possible from the system.

Still being nice to newbies

We pride ourselves at DaniWeb on being a community of folk helping other folk. As such, we try to adopt the Bill and Ted mantra of 'be nice to each other' - unlike certain other programming support forums where politeness, encouragement and community spirit appear to sacrificed at the altar of 'forum efficiency.' We will always encourage members to ask that question, post that plea for help, and not be scared of doing so. Without going as far as saying there is no such thing as a silly question, only silly answers (we've seen more than enough of both over the years) we do want you to feel comfortable when contributing to the forums. However, that means you need to put in a little effort to ensure that you are doing so in a way that can help us to help you. Yep, that means reading the community rules before you post; don't worry though, there aren't that many of them and they really are pretty much just common sense and common courtesy combined. That said, we do appreciate that mistakes happen and we also appreciate that sometimes you just really want to get help and are focussed on that goal. Our friendly community are there to help and will point you in the right direction to ensure you find the assistance you are seeking, unless you are obviously taking the mickey: our experts provide their help free of charge, but that doesn't mean you should expect them to do your homework for you, code your project for free and so on.

"When I started DaniWeb, I was a 19 year old newbie" DaniWeb founder and CEO Dani Horowitz says, continuing "I attracted other newbies. But there was a loyal following. As the expertise of the loyal members increased, they started being able to help with more advanced questions. We've always relied on fostering the next generation." Participation at DaniWeb really couldn't be easier. The effort that the Queen of DaniWeb, Dani herself, puts into ensuring the user interface is both powerful and intuitive really shows. How easy? Well, to browse the questions for help in our forums just hit the 'Read' button; to discover suggested topics waiting for someone to provide help hit 'Respond' and to post a question yourself just click on the 'Contribute' link.

To help you to get the support you are looking for, here are some tips that have been hard earned over the years:

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 official manuals. Usually, the official manual contains a lot of examples and comments, it is likely your issue has come up before. It is also likely there is a 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. See the section "Available Code Snippets" below, perhaps your question may be answered by one of them.

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.

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, "<some topic> Help", "<some topic> Question", or any variation thereof does not describe your problem. We're well aware that this forum is about web development 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 code?", "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 code. If we don't know what you did, how can we possibly help? Use the CODE button so your formatting is preserved. See markdown help.
Trim your code down as much as possible. Looking through pages of irrelevant code will not expedite things.

If we can't follow your code, 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 code 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 code 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).

Do not ask for code. We are not a coding service. We will help you fix your code. If anyone posts a complete working solution for you, they are enabling cheaters. If you use that code you are a cheater.

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.

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