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Forum Hints: Why didn't anyone respond to my question?

Question asked by philmodjunk on Nov 19, 2013


Forum Hints: Why didn't anyone respond to my question?


     Almost all posts posted here get at least one response in short order. But once in a while a post goes unanswered. Here are some personal observations that may explain why:

  1.           No one has to answer. The responses here, unless they come from someone whose forum name starts with "TS", are from fellow users who saw your post and chose to respond. Even TS persons are not required to respond to your post just because you put one up.
  3.           No one has an answer to share. Most posts here ask basic beginner to intermediate level questions that have easy to provide answers--even many different answers to the same problem. A few are more advanced. So it's always possible that few or no one reading the question has an answer. Questions about ODBC, CWP, PHP, xml and applescript are all examples that come to mind where your chances that someone has an answer for you are much smaller than for other questions. If you don't get an answer for such a question, you may need to post that question in another forum such as Tech Net.
  5.           You posted on the weekend. Since we're almost all volunteers here and the paid support doesn't work on the weekend, there are much fewer people to see your question. By the time Monday comes around, your post may have gotten lost in the crowd of other posts made. In such cases, you may want to post back to your own question to "bump" it back up into the top of recent items.
  7.           You posted your question as a response to a thread that someone else started. There are two reasons that might happen:
              1) Very long threads tend to only be read by the original poster and maybe the person who invested the most time in answering your question so a lot of potential help may not even be taking the time to read your question.
              2) Threads where the date of the very first post is more than 3 months old will no longer appear in recent items when a new post is added to it. If you want to post to such a thread, it's often a good idea to start a new thread, but copy and paste the URL from the original thread into your new post so that others can see the "context" behind your question. (And the "chain link" tool in Post a New Answer can make that posted URL a "live" link so that it's easy to click.)
  9.           You asked too general a question. The forum is at it's best when you ask a specific question that others can answer quickly. When you post a question such as "I want to create a database for my Dog Wash business and I have no idea what I'm doing..." You are asking a volunteer to invest a great deal of time in helping you as the answers needed run from basic "how do I set up my tables" to very specific script and calculation issues.
              You are basically asking for "free consulting". Such a question might get responses that help you out, but it's also possible that many folks will pass on it as they don't want to get sucked into such a long drawn out exchange.
              What you can do, is break your question up into small specific questions that tackle your project one step at a time. You can also invest time and $$ in getting some training materials on FileMaker. These can help you build a basic foundation of understanding to use when asking more specific questions here in the forum.
  11.           The question is poorly written. We're not literary critics here. We won't nail you for bad spelling or grammar, but poorly written posts can require a lot more time to read and respond to. Those that might not get a response fall into two extremes.
              1) The post is too brief--some posters seem to think that they are being charged by the letter and post with just one sentence or even just a subject line. Anyone that responds is likely going to have to ask for more information before they can help you so you are forcing them to commit to more time in figuring out your question before they can answer.
              It may be a pain to use your phone to post your question so you are trying to keep it short, but if no one answers you, it was a waste of your time anyway. Also, if the poster then uses jargon specific to their line of work or that is not commonly used here in the forum, the result can be truly cryptic.
              2) The post is too long and poorly formatted. (see item 5 also) If your post is one long, single paragraph where it should be several, potential responders have to be willing to plow through all the verbiage to figure out what you need. Break your posts up into paragraphs, read them a second or third time before posting, upload pictures instead of trying to do it all in words...
              So ideally, you want to say all that is needed to fully describe your problem and no more. Chances are good that you'll get a response if you don't, but if a weekday goes by without a response, you may want to review your post. And don't forget that you can click the edit link to re-open a post that you've already submitted if you realize that it needs some modifications.
  13.           Lack of respect for others. It's really, really rare, but some posters can't seem to keep from taking out their frustration with their stalled project on the people trying to help them. Since no one has to help you, such a "tone" in your post will motivate many to go help someone else.