How to get good help or it's all in the details.

Thread Starter

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
6,551
Maybe it's just me but of late I am seeing more threads seeking help which severely lack in details. The past few days have yielded how to sense a dry well so a pump won't run dry and I just replied to another about transformers to start with 160 VDC and end with 30 KV. Had to ask for the load at 30 KV and other details. Can we develop a sort of read me first for new posters with questions. Questions like "I want to build a radio" are not quite well described. With any question getting a good reply is all in the details. I want to turn on a light is pretty useless less details. I want to remotely turn a lamp On/Off. The lamp is a 12 volt incandescent lamp which draws 1.0 amp. I would like to do this using a 12 volt SLA type battery. The latter question affords those wishing to contribute something to work from. Before asking a question a thread starter should sit down with a clean sheet of paper and a pencil with a large eraser and outline, in some detail there objective or goal. Less good details members who want to help are having to ask an endless line of questions. I am not saying a thread starter needs to submit a term paper but at least information for others to work from. Possibly a thread explaining this which thread starters could be pointed to?

Ron
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
18,151
Maybe it's just me but of late I am seeing more threads seeking help which severely lack in details. The past few days have yielded how to sense a dry well so a pump won't run dry and I just replied to another about transformers to start with 160 VDC and end with 30 KV. Had to ask for the load at 30 KV and other details. Can we develop a sort of read me first for new posters with questions. Questions like "I want to build a radio" are not quite well described. With any question getting a good reply is all in the details. I want to turn on a light is pretty useless less details. I want to remotely turn a lamp On/Off. The lamp is a 12 volt incandescent lamp which draws 1.0 amp. I would like to do this using a 12 volt SLA type battery. The latter question affords those wishing to contribute something to work from. Before asking a question a thread starter should sit down with a clean sheet of paper and a pencil with a large eraser and outline, in some detail there objective or goal. Less good details members who want to help are having to ask an endless line of questions. I am not saying a thread starter needs to submit a term paper but at least information for others to work from. Possibly a thread explaining this which thread starters could be pointed to?

Ron
It is a nice idea, but probably won't be read or paid attention to by the target audience. My standout example of this is the LTspice User Group, formerly on yahoo, but now on groups.io They do not allow attachments on posts and they never have. In fact the software they use strips them off. The proper procedure is to put all the required files for running an LTspice simulation into a zip file and upload it to the files section. Simple right? WRONG! I would say that most posts looking for assistance from noobs involve attaching pictures, incomplete file sets, or or non-zip files like .7z or .rar There is a subsequent exchange of messages where somebody with the patience of Job (see 'Book of Job' in the Old Testament) instructs the noob on the proper procedures for uploading relevant information so problems with the simulation can be identified. It is not uncommon for the solution to the problem to show up a dozen messages into a thread.

People in a hurry want what they want because they are entitled and don't have the time to read no "stinkin' stickies". My fanciful solution would be an AI bot that converses with new members when they make their first posts and asks them a series of questions like the AI psychiatrist ELIZA written in BASIC in the 1960's

https://web.njit.edu/~ronkowit/eliza.html
 

Thread Starter

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
6,551
Eric, thanks for that link. I will start referencing it.

Papabravo, sadly pretty much right on target. I recall the old LtSpice user group I was not aware the old Yahoo Group had a new home. I thought it simply went away. Thanks for that little helpful information. I agree people being in some sort of hurry. That line runs with a thread I started years ago about learning to swim in the deep end of the pool not being a good idea. :)

Ron
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
18,151
Eric, thanks for that link. I will start referencing it.

Papabravo, sadly pretty much right on target. I recall the old LtSpice user group I was not aware the old Yahoo Group had a new home. I thought it simply went away. Thanks for that little helpful information. I agree people being in some sort of hurry. That line runs with a thread I started years ago about learning to swim in the deep end of the pool not being a good idea. :)

Ron
Sorry you missed the changeover. Here is the new URL

https://groups.io
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
4,898
How about adding a few checkboxes or reminders about schematics when a new post is created
Like that irritating thing in Thunderbird that looks for the word "attached" in the e-mail and reminds you "did you forget the attachment?"
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,134
I think a lot has to do with their level of experience. They simply don't know what to ask. Helped several new, young, and right out of school engineers that came into our project engineering team. Our manager would give them a task and they would be completely bewildered as to where or how to start. I'd know of several places on the plant that had similar problems to what they were assigned to. I'd show them how the plant blueprint files and project files were organized. Pull a couple that were similar to what they had been assigned to do and point out the similarities and let them go with it. The difference here is the lack of experience or education in the subject which sometimes needs more than a suggestion to push them in the right direction but instead a more hands on detailed step by step approach.
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
18,151
Hello,

@Reloadron , Here is the complete address of the LTspice group:
https://groups.io/g/LTspice

Bertus
Thanks. On my current machine I have been logged into groups.io for years so my link just goes direct to my groups page where LTspice is one of the choices. I even use the same user name and password as I used for Yahoo, but since I don't have to remember it, I may have to look it up if I ever delete the cookie with the information.
 

Pushkar1

Joined Apr 5, 2021
416
@Reloadron I don't mean to disturb the discussion. But you have raised a right point. I need some clarification related to this topic if you or anyone can give advice. It would be appreciate

I am working in electronics since last 1 year. I have learned many new things in my short career and have a lot to learn.
<Mod: deleted references to Moderation actions>

For example, suppose you want to ask this question, then how would you ask this same question in specific way on the forum?

My intention is clear i am not making any debate i just want to know what should be in a specific and descriptive question.

I would like to see how someone else would ask this question here so that i can correct my mistake
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
1,600
Like that irritating thing in Thunderbird that looks for the word "attached" in the e-mail and reminds you "did you forget the attachment?"
Yes, but it is only annoying to people that start new threads more than once or twice per month.
 

Pushkar1

Joined Apr 5, 2021
416
Hi Ron,
Agreed, many TS put none, little or misleading information in their requests for help.
I have lost count on the number of times I have had asked for a simple sketch.

There is an existing Sticky Thread, which I suspect most newcomers do not read.
Eric

https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/...eneral-electronics-chat-forum.2999/post-19088
Wouldn't it be appropriate to show a sample example in a sticky thread?

Like Home Automation via mobile APP. This is a common project that many people want to make. In this sample, it is shown by experts how they asked specific questions for this requirement. Maybe looking at this sample can help someone with the question
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
18,151
@Reloadron I don't mean to disturb the discussion. But you have raised a right point. I need some clarification related to this topic if you or anyone can give advice. It would be appreciate

I am working in electronics since last 1 year. I have learned many new things in my short career and have a lot to learn.
<Mod: deleted references to Moderation actions>

For example, suppose you want to ask this question, then how would you ask this same question in specific way on the forum?

My intention is clear i am not making any debate i just want to know what should be in a specific and descriptive question.

I would like to see how someone else would ask this question here so that i can correct my mistake
Don't just ask a question as a disconnected sentence. Provide some context. For example:
  1. This is what I am trying to do.
  2. This is what I am working with.
  3. This is what I have tried
  4. These were the results
  5. Is there a better way to do this?
Don't get long winded on your initial post, but include enough information to communicate your ultimate purpose.
 

ericgibbs

Joined Jan 29, 2010
15,378
Wouldn't it be appropriate to show a sample example in a sticky thread?
Hi Pk1
If you have read this link, which has been available for a number of years as a Sticky, you should be able to construct a Thread which meets the stated requirements.

As you already may know, it is not possible to post an example thread that covers all the points and problems that may arise during a Thread's cycle.

Usually, a TS has a specific real world problem that requires technical help from his fellow members, eg: Homework, faulty equipment, programming, design ....

IMO, It is unfair, to fellow members, to create a theoretical problem, that has no defined specification, result or purpose, which under certain circumstances could be considered as Trolling.

E

https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/...eneral-electronics-chat-forum.2999/post-19088
 

Pushkar1

Joined Apr 5, 2021
416
Hi Pk1
If you have read this link, which has been available for a number of years as a Sticky, you should be able to construct a Thread which meets the stated requirements.

https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/...eneral-electronics-chat-forum.2999/post-19088
i just had an opinion only. feel free to ignore it. There is no doubt that the points given in the sticky threads are excellent. but my opinion was to add a one sample with it. offering a sample i don't think will be a problem. This might help for new members asking questions about embedded systems.
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
5,559
One failure mode for a TS is to abstract away the problem to "simplify it" and not "bother people with unnecessary details".

The problem is, if you knew which details were necessary you probably wouldn't be asking the question and even if you were very skilled and suspected you knew how to present a narrow example in your question, you'd probably be experienced enough to err on the side of oversharing.

This problem is closely related to the idea of making up a hypothetical "project". Since you don't have some real world grounding for it, you are very likely to craft something inconsistent and incomplete—unless you have already done something very much like it.

If you ask about a real problem, when someone asks about details you can look at the real problem and answer. If you have just invented something from whole cloth, you will have to invent the answer as well and you are likely to create a jumble of incompatible details. This can be very frustrating to helpers.
 

ericgibbs

Joined Jan 29, 2010
15,378
but my opinion was to add a one sample with it. offering a sample i don't think will be a problem.
hi,
You are doing the same now as you do it almost all your other threads, you discard advice given by seasoned and experienced helpers.

E
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
8,263
An approach that has yet to be mentioned concerns and enhancement to the forum software. I don’t know if this would be possible nor useful. Hence I suggest it as an idea.

For any given post, certain characteristics can be determined. Initial responses could be automated based on these characteristics.

I think it is clear that many posts could benefit from reading certain “stickies”. I also hypothesize that they are not read due to laziness on the part of the TS but due to an ignorance as to their existence. Possibly extending to an ignorance of what a sticky is!

Let’s say there is a post from a new member. Start there. The Forum automatically responds with links to a sticky on how to ask a question. This approach, once implemented, can be extended. Sort of an AI approach.

The authors of the forum might find this a valuable enhancement.

Members, what do ye think?
 
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