Mike Beargie wrote:
I'm not one to ever deny support to people that are interested in learning Filemaker, or have a genuine interest in the platform. But if there are developers just coming in for a "dine and dash" Filemaker project, should that affect the help we offer?
It should not affect our willingness to help. Certainly not trying to police it on a Technet level.
We can each make our own personal evaulation whether or not we want to chime in on any particular thread.
Interesting post. My own situation is that I am the one-person IT department for a charity, and constantly have to juggle the diverse demands of an under-resourced job. Filemaker is just ag part of my role, and by far the best bit. I am not a “professional” developer, although I like to think that I’m developing increasingly professional solutions. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of this forum, which I have found to be really helpful and non-judgemental. So I guess that puts me in the “not newbie, but not proper developer” category. (“Novice” is what it says against my name – I would prefer “improver”, but what’s in a name?!)
I guess everyone has to start somewhere, but I know what you mean about the newcomer gathering useful advice, sometimes acknowledging the help (but by no means always), and then wandering off. I think this really comes down to a question of manners, so perhaps there’s a case for somebody stating clearly what is expected in that regard.
But I’d hate to think of newcomers (to FM and to the forum) being put off. Maybe there should be a separate section for “basic” questions?
Mike, good post & many good points. I'm not a developer but a "learn one/build one/ use one" person. I use my DB for my small business. A semi-custom solution for my business, which there are plenty at my industry's trade show, would start at about $20,000. I bought FM Pro Advanced, 2 books and had lots of fun building it myself.
And of course I'm hooked so I try to help people with basic stuff here and on the other forum.
As a person in the HVAC business, I also contribute to 4 other forums-with 2 of them professional only. You have to be vetted and approved before you can answer or post. Some of the advanced categories can't even be viewed without credentials.
I'm amazed at the detailed help given to people who ask the kind of questions you referenced in your post. One of the HVAC forums (maybe taken to extreme, not one I participate on), the poster asks a question, and a professional responds with basically, I can help you for 'X' amount of dollars, do you wish to proceed? I'm not for that extreme, but at some point you have to cut off or stop answering a serial poster for free.
The professional forums I do respond to don't allow DIY advice, but this is for the homeowners safety.
I even responded on the FileMaker Forum to someone, who posted question after question, and received basic step by step help, and said at some point you have to hire a developer instead of relying on the kindness of people volunteering to help you.
Now don't get me wrong. I've asked my fair share of questions, some very basic, but I also learned as much as I could going completely through the "...Training Series", and ...: The Missing Manual, and searching online everywhere. I'm always grateful, and always thank the respondents for the help they provide.
I think people refuse to do their own hard work and come here for a quick answer. I'm always shocked when the post starts off something like........"I just took over this database and know nothing about FileMaker....... " Who hires these people and doesnt provide training? And why is it the communites job to help them, and not their boss.
Remember also, FileMaker benefits by this the most. If these 2 sites didnt exist, I wonder how many people would get frustrated and give up on, or not switch to FileMaker. Take for example the other site. Of course if you been there for a minute you know that Phil is fantastic--expert knowledge, helps everyone, etc. And I think that's great. But rarely do I see anyone from FileMaker answer customers (yes they are customers) questions. They do chime in on Report a Bug, or tell you to make a feature request, but why is that my job? And they never respond to a feature request, just that they received it.
If you go to Microsoft's forums, Excel for example, you get community help plus there are Microsoft Employees on there constantly answering questions--I can only guess they are required to do so.
Finally, I guess it's really up to you professionals to judge for yourself how much help, and to what detail, you should provide. I'm sure professional to professional help is wonderful because there seems to always be someone who ran across a problem someone else is having. And asking your peers and getting quick answers benefits everyone involved.
Maybe the best answers are just to provide links, which is what the poster could do if they searched, and let the poster figure it out.
I think you have to give folks the benefit of the doubt. I remember being new to the community and mostly asking MANY questions, with very little ability to answer questions. The help I received was invaluable, and helped me become a permanent part of the FM Community. If there is someone out their doing shoddy work, it's going to come back to bite them, and if the customer is serious, they may very well find their way to a more "Professional" developer. If you see someone that looks suspect, it's certainly within your perogative to ignore their requests.
It doesn't really matter where people get the job from, they are still FileMaker developers in need of a hand. And any answers that are given out quite often helpd other people too.
my goal is to always educate and most of the time providing links with some extra help is a good thing to do.
but I'm with wim, let the folks who reply make the determination whether to do so or not. Not enough hours in the day to work AND answer everything. LOL
I also know that FMI relies on the listees to make most of the replies. So, if you are asking questions here, please be kind to the VOLUNTEERS. Please provide as much detail as possible when asking and please provide the list with what solution you decided to use when done.
To dive a little more on my perspective there. It seems to me that these people aren't even googling what they want to do in Filemaker. I am, and am immediately finding an answer in the Filemaker 12 documentation.
Personally it feels like they are abusing technet a little bit. If I post a question, you can bet that I've done a fair bit of research on it first, even if there was an answer I missed that was right in front of me.
I'm not trying to deny the benefit of the doubt. I'm talking about people that only ever post once, never say thanks to the answer they get, and are never heard from again.
I'm actually I'm completely in the same boat as you are with my experience. I've continued to love the interactions and people I've met off of technet, and it is an extremely good resource for people that are passionate about filemaker. You and I have made many posts, and have become addicted to helping others as well!
Let's hope that these customers do see value in Filemaker professionals, and value their investments as well.
So, if you are asking questions here, please be kind to the VOLUNTEERS. Please provide as much detail as possible when asking and please provide the list with what solution you decided to use when done.
^^ Yes! This! ^^
I've loved getting private messages from people saying I helped save them! (and sending them as well)
You're missing the point a bit, I have no issue helping people that are looking to invest time in learning filemaker. I LOVE helping people out that are learning the trade.
The people I am referring to are the "bare minimum to get the job done and get paid" developers, that have no interest or need to become an actual Filemaker developer. They come to technet, post once, and never post again. They only use technet as the absolute minimum source of information they need to get their job completed. Then they forget that Filemaker exists until they pick up a project later on (if at all).
True, the source of the job is not important. And the record of the answer is important for others.
But it's only valuable to someone searching the forums. I was trying to bring awareness to people that I [assume based on available facts] think have not tried searching google, technet, or read any Filemaker documentation.
Steve, don't forget to come to devcon and offer to buy us some drinks!
Seriously though, you have invested in Filemaker, and have a genuine need and interest for learning more about the platform. You're also thankful of the help you've received.
See my other responses here, but you're the type of person I enjoy helping out! I was trying to call attention to the posters that are at the opposite end of the spectrum.
It's great to hear that our community is providing excellent help and camaraderie! It's something I'm fiercely proud of the Filemaker platform for.
I too appreciate the op who provides the thank you and follow up. It's the pay for the volunteer who takes the time to help. But, we live in a world which is increasingly unaware of the power of "please" & "thank you". Most of us were brought up knowing this, however somehow it seems to be going away. Sadly, a free forum is very tempting for folks to grab an answer and flee. Like Wim said we can choose which questions to answer. Time is precious to us all and helping is a gracious gift. All who receive it should be thankful. I am pleased that many are and continue to learn and grow their skill set.
I am with you that all who enter should, need to , must LOVE Filemaker in order to be successful using it, but there is no gatekeeper here.
Well...if they post once and never post again, how do you know, the *first* time they post that's what they'll do?
I do answer questions sometimes with leading questions, like: What have you tried so far? Could you be more specific? Usually people will respond and then you've started a connection.
You could also ask, have you looked in the help file? Personally, ignoring the help file doesn't bother me at all. I learn better from a discussion rather than a static page.