We are now deep in the season, lots of teams are going to their first event and it’s crunch time, or teams have been to events and need help. Lots of posts are getting made with panic in the background.
We are all here to help, but to help us help you, do the following:
- Search the forum for your problem. We’ve been here for a long time. People like you have posted before. We’ve seen similar problems and answered them. Dig some, you may find what you need.
- Past years events are OK to search, generic problems happen every year.
- DRow has thoughtfully locked older forums, so if you haven’t found your answer in the archives it’s on to step 1.
- C Programmers know why we started at zero vs step 1. Ask them why!
Pick the right sub-forums. Posting VRC/EDR in the VEXIQ forums only gets you VEXIQ answers, which won’t be helpful. Post in the wrong forum means that the really smart people about your style of robot will miss it, there are not many people that do VEXIQ and VRC.
Enter a fully qualified subject line
- Help!!! This is useless.
- Help!!! Robot won’t work!! Not quite as useless, we know you are not drowning and it’s a robot problem
- Can’t make the drive train move with VEX text with a four wheel drive. Perfect, may be a software problem, let’s start there, but may be a mechanical problem.
- If it’s a construction problem – post a picture. We are not going to steal your amazing design that you are on the forum asking for help with. It apparently doesn’t work, so a picture isn’t going to kill you.
- Maybe two pictures of either side?
- If it’s code post the code.
- Use the code tags [code] or use three ’ marks on the front and back to show us. Unless you are using blocks, don’t post a screen shot, post the code.
- Post all the code. Showing five lines of code that you don’t think are working isn’t helpful, your issue may be someplace else.
- Write a meaningful post.
- Help the following code doesn’t work Of course it doesn’t work, that’s why you posted it.
- Put as much details into the post as you can. What you built, what it’s supposed to do, what it does do. What have you done to fix it. How many motors on the tray, what gearing, are you using the 1/8 or 1/4" shafts, Does your picture show that, etc. Every detail can help us. I want to say that no detail is insignificant, but stay focused on your issue.
- Take some time to spell and grammar check. Use your words. I’m not helping on a “d00ds, pblms here, lift is borked, spinny gizzes aint slicking it”, your mileage may vary with others.
- If it’s a code issue we expect that you are running the latest version of code on both your computer and on the robot. We will be angry if we find out that you are running version 1.0 code that was fixed months ago.
- Dial back the personal drama. We don’t care that your first match is in 6 hours, or that you are a 12 time World Champion, we will help you as fast as we can. (But if you are a 12 time World Champion you may get some Wait, What ?!? posts back, but we will help you)
- Put as much details as you can in the post. Get close to the 10,000 character limit for a post. Wait, didn’t I see this as step 5? Yes you did, but this is super important worth repeating.
- When you get done, post what the answer was that worked or what you did to make it work. Remember step 0? Future roboteers are going search, find your thread and go “YES!! THIS IS MY PROBLEM”. Don’t crush their souls at the end of the thread with nothing, post what the fix was.
OK, now the other side.
This roboteer is in trouble, they have searched for days for an answer in the forum, they’ve written 2200 words and posted three pictures.
0) Be helpful.
- “I have this problem too” doesn’t help either one of you
- “Yea, I saw a team at my last event” isn’t helpful
- Reply if you have the fix, or step by step trouble shooting steps to take.
- We will still get posts from new people that didn’t see this. If you don’t have enough details to nail a fix, ask for the information that you need.
- Don’t make stuff up.
- Be an expert “Grease will work” Unless you know for sure and then you should post “we use a light layer of legal lubricants (our favorite is Slippery Stuff 300) on the metal slides. Try that”
- Guessing makes it harder for the Original Poster to figure stuff out.
- Write details.
- Be detailed as possible. There is a great Reddit sub-reddit “Explain like I’m 5” Use your words, spell things out, walk them through the steps. Yes they are in a panic, but you can take the extra time to spell things out.
- Please spell and grammar check. Takes a few seconds and turns a mass of character puke into a thing of beauty.
- Add a picture or sample code
- Hey, we have the same thing, here is a picture of ours. Risky? Nope, focus in on the part they care about, you have camera skills. Post it. It helps them, we all think you are amazing, and nobody is going to build a a robot around that one single thing.
- Code fragment that helps / fixes it. This is the fine line between showing up at their shop and typing the code in for them and giving them specifics how to fix it. A prime example was in a VEXIQ thread where the answer was code in blocks and the user was in Text. Most coders should be able to translate Blocks to Text.
Last, hearts all around. If you are the OP, and you get the exact answer, use the solution box. If people respond and it was helpful, hand out some hearts. If you are trying to help and you got sniped by someone else hand out the hearts. All of that helps us cruising by to see the problem was solved. And we can add hearts to the people that did an great job in solving it.
Ok, that’s it. Long post, but hope this helps roboteers get the help that they need.