Friday, October 24, 2008

How to Ask The Right Questions the Right Way

As I started participating more and more in SQL Forums, it becomes clear that there are some small steps that could make everyone's task easier to help out.

This is a good article to start - Forum Etiquette: How to post data/code on a forum to get the best help

Personally these are my steps

1. Always try to include the SAMPLE data or tables (in SQL code, not just copy-and-paste data) unless it's syntax or concept question,
We DBAs are just like Web Designers, we like to work with what we can see

2. Beautify the SQL code, before any posting
Either using 3rd party tools such as Red Gate SQL Prompt/Refactor, or use the online The Simple-Talk Code Prettifier for SQL Server, Python, VB and C#

3. Always state what versions of software being used
For example, T-SQL changed drastically from 2000 to 2005 to 2008, one code may not work in every version

4. Willing to learn and try it out by actually doing it, and not hoping someone will take your code, and give you back a working code so that your problem is resolved by someone else.
Specifically, try to UNDERSTAND the actual solution and not just copy-and-paste. It hurts me to see users not trying to fix a clear syntax error when a clear error message presented; instead, they come back and say "it doesn't work"

I must say, the tasks of facing a challenge, conquer it and help someone out is very satisfying.

"A problem well stated is a problem half solved." -- Charles F. Kettering

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