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Re: about "plot" + OT instruction for submitting help requests

From: John W. Eaton
Subject: Re: about "plot" + OT instruction for submitting help requests
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2006 15:37:19 -0400

On 14-Jul-2006, Shai Ayal wrote:

| If you want help you should provide some more info. At the minimum
| please provide: Your OS, your octave version, how you got it (rpm,
| source, ...)
| A general remark:
| when octave starts it gives a message stating:
| "Report bugs to <address@hidden> (but first, please read
| to learn how to write a helpful report)."
| Maybe something similar should be said about the help list in this
| context? Is there another place that instructions for a "good" way to
| ask for help can be put, to be as visible as possible to people asking
| for help?

I don't thnk this is off topic.  I think the following could be

OTOH, it may be a bit long for people who can't be bothered to even
choose a useful subject line for their messages (it may just be me,
but it seems that lately I have been seeing more messages with missing
subjects or useless subject lines like "newbie question").

I think the first paragraph of the Disclaimer section at the top of
the "smart-questions" document is telling:

  Many project websites link to this document in their sections on how
  to get help. That's fine, it's the use we intended ? but if you are
  a webmaster creating such a link for your project page, please
  display prominently near the link notice that we are not a help desk
  for your project!

My guess is that the people who don't understand that the
"smart-questions" document is a generic guide about how to ask
questions will probably also miss any prominent notice placed near the
link to the document.

We are also seeing a lot of messages on the help list that are really
bug reports.  And a lot of bug reports that say little more than "it's
broke!  Fix it!".  So I don't think we have had a lot of success with
the notice in Octave's startup message.


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