Do you know why you're here?
If you have been pointed to this page, it is not because someone is mad at you, but rather because we want to curb your posting habits before people start ignoring your posts.
Online forums are great, plain and simple. They are full of people who both ask and answer questions, and it's answers that all new posters seem to be after. I certainly know that it was the motivating reason for me to join my first one. Even better, these forums are free. And therein lies our issue...
Every individual who responds to your posts is a volunteer, and is trying to help you in their own free time. That is something that needs to be both recognized and respected. "Sure", you say, "I respect that", but you've been pointed here because you've cross posted somewhere, not told us, and been busted. Rest assured that you are not alone, and that there was enough instances that I built a page so that my friends and I do not need to keep re-typing why this is an issue. This is not intended as a lecture, and if you make it to the bottom, you'll even see that I am truly trying to help you.
So What's the Big Deal?
First, let me make it clear that neither I, nor the person who pointed you here, has an issue with cross posting, so long as it is done correctly. If you feel that you get more experts pointed to your posts, then fine. What we are asking for, however, is the courtesy of knowing about it. Why? Well it's kind of simple really. If you post on several boards, you have several groups of people working on the same issue, without necessarily knowing what the others are doing.
Ask yourself this: How would you feel if you worked on an answer for an hour, only to find out that fifteen minutes after you started, someone already had a solution they accepted? I'd be willing to bet you'd be a little upset that you'd wasted your time.
Yes, I know that you are only trying to get an answer, but seriously evaluate what you've done. Would you go and pay four different experts to generate solutions and then pick the best one? Well maybe you would, but if that is your approach, ask for their Paypal accounts up front and pay for it.
Lest you choose to just flat out ignore my advice, YOU will be the one being ignored. News of chronic cross posters travels quickly, and you may find yourself with no replies at any forum. Remember that the online community is both larger and smaller than you think. Many people transcend boards, and are staunch about protecting their efforts and the efforts of their friends who don't.
Trust me on this: post at a board, and people will see it. I know for certain that my online friends will even "call" an expert to another board if they need their expertise to help out. We will do our best to look after you, no matter what board we post on... providing that you are courteous to us in return.
How to Post and When to Cross-Post
Admittedly, some posts do go without answers, and this is where the cross post can be beneficial. Just do it in the right way! My suggestion, for what it's worth, is to follow this series of events:
Find one forum and stick with it, preferably a very busy one so you reach a bigger audience. If you don't get a satisfactory answer in a reasonable amount of time (days, not hours), then:
- Post in another applicable forum with your issue (1 or 2 other forums, not 20!).
- Include a link to your original post (see below).
- Make it very obvious that you have not got an answer to your question and are looking for more experts.
- Ask people to post their replies in the original forum.
- When it is solved, go back and mark it as such in all forums so that we're not chasing solved issues.
How to post a link:
On every forum I go to, the format to do this is the same, no matter which bulletin board software they use. I'm sure there will be some different, but for the majority, the steps to posting your link is as follows:
- Copy the URL (address) from your web browser.
- Enter it as text in your post as follows: [url]the url goes here[/url]
- That's it!
Basically, that's all. Follow the golden rule of treating us how you'd like to be treated, and you'll do just fine. Forums are incredible places with many awesome and giving people volunteering their time an expertise for free. Treat them with respect, and you'll get all the free help and training you need in return.
Thanks for reading!