Hello Class!

Today, I have the honor of introducing you to Life Coach and Blogger, Davina Haisell of Shades of Crimson.

As substitute teacher (guest writer), Davina will be sharing the lessons she learned when visiting blogging forums.

It’s great to have you here, Davina.

The floor is yours.

Hello everyone. It’s great to be here.

Please take your seats.

(John Hoff pokes Hunter. Psssst!!!! Hunter! Hunter! HUNTER NUTTALL, WAKE UP! Class is starting! )

388768408_3ab15f131c.jpg

When a person is new to blogging it soon becomes clear to them how much they do or don’t know about hosting their own blogs.

Today’s Lesson

I learned the hard way that a person has to do their homework before they even ask a question. How a question is asked largely influences how quickly and accurately it will be answered.

Finding answers in help forums can be a daunting task. It’s an intense atmosphere where bloggers are usually in a highly frustrated state. Their stress can make them seem rude or stupid even when they’re not.

Support staff have a reputation for answering questions with hostility or arrogance and appearing rude to newbies. They claim their rudeness is the product of a direct, get-to-the-point communications style.

They are more concerned about solving problems than making others feel warm and fuzzy, and have little patience with people who seem unwilling to think or do their own homework.

There are steps a blogger can take to make this experience less of a hassle for both parties.

1. The first step is to find the right forum to make sure you don’t post your question where it is off topic.

2. Be precise and informative about the problem.

3. Describe what operating system, version of software and browser you were using when the problem occurred.

4. Describe the research you did first to understand the problem BEFORE you asked your question, and what solutions you tried that didn’t work.

5. Describe changes in your computer or software configuration that could possibly be related.

6. Use meaningful, specific subject headers – “please help me”, just doesn’t cut it.

7. After your problem has been solved send a note to thank all who helped you.

Odds are if you’re new to blogging you’ll make mistakes in these forums and you’ll be told about it – in public. Unfortunately, sometimes you may be personally attacked with no apparent reason.

Hopefully, if you do your homework and follow these steps you can be spared the extra frustration. For more clarification on this, please read HowTo Ask Questions The Smart Way, by Eric Steven Raymond.

Today’s Assignment

Have you found forums helpful?

What’s your opinion on rudeness in support forums?

What other methods do you use to get support for your blog?

Raise you hand and share what you’ve learned about blog forums and/or gaining support for your blog. I’m all ears.


davina.jpegDavina Haisell of Shades of Crimson is a blogger as well as a Life Coach. If she’s not on her blog, you can find her at coaching at Crimson Compass, editing, copy writing, and/or proofreading at Writer Sense, sending messages on Twitter or commenting on a blog.


Photo Credit: spcbrass

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Look Who's Talking
  1. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Well hello Barbara.

    It’s a pleasure to share your classroom today. Thank you for having me. This looks like quite an intelligent group Barbara. You must be an excellent teacher.

    Ok class, if everyone would please close their laptops, we’ll get started with our questions. Hunter… John… am I going to have to separate the two of you?

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  2. Linda AbbitNo Gravatar says:

    Hi,

    I have used forums, but not for learning how to blog with WP.org. Their Help section seems waaaaaay over my head. I have visited other forums over the last three years, and do more reading than asking new questions, but can usually find my answers this way.

    I am against rudeness period — online or off line.

    I’ve gone to Barbara’s archives for “how-to’s” on blogging (especially the techie part), and have also directly emailed others with how-to questions. Everyone has been great about answering and offering further assistance.

    Ideally, I would love to find a WP.org expert locally (Orange County, CA in case you know someone) who would be willing to come to my house and teach me over time the technical knowledge I want to have. I am a fast learner, but do not like to learn online for this topic! If someone just shows me and I take good notes, then I’m good to go. Guess I’m old fashioned, or just know my best learning style.

    I think many people will benefit from this post, Davina & Barbara.

    P.S. Hunter is cute!! The photo is a bonus.

    Linda Abbit´s last blog post..Inspiring Quotes for Caregivers: Words and Video — 1/14/09

  3. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hello Ms. Davina – It’s a pleasure having you as a substitute. I love this lesson. It’s a subject I forgot about.

    When I first started blogging, I checked some of the forums, but I knew I would look like a real idiot as I didn’t even know the correct language to use. I ended up Googling my concerns instead. I’m sure I wasted a lot of time, but little by little I learned.

    Currently I’ve been Googling again as the comments I’m leaving on other sites are disappearing. I think Akismet thinks I’m a spammer. I sent them an email, so hopefully they resolve this issue for me shortly.

    What works best for me is if I can find a video tutorial. I’m one of those who learns by seeing how something is done.

    Great topic Davina. And I agree, you need to separate John and Hunter. Together, they’re trouble.

  4. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    @ Linda – hi there. I agree, Barbara has a lot of helpful information here. And, the forums are over a lot of people’s heads it seems.

    A person can probably get more information from a colleague or friend because there is less of a communication barrier. I learn as you do… when someone is there to show me it is much easier.

    @ Barbara. Thanks. I’m happy to be here. I hope you get your Akismet issue resolved soon. I pulled one of your comments out of there today.

    Again, that language barrier is hard to get past. Have you found that after you read one set of instructions you have to Google or search the forum again because the answer only caused you to have more questions? LOL

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  5. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Davina – Isn’t that the truth? I keep a notepad handy and will often Google or use Wikipedia to look up what each techy word means.

    It’s also maddening when you get conflicting opinions. It’s like a coin toss.

  6. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. That’s a good idea. I know what you mean about conflicting opinions. I was reading a thread in a forum where one moderator was correcting the other one.

    I have learned a lot in the forms, but it sure hasn’t been easy, or comfortable for that matter — “support” forum might not be the best term. I wonder what suggestions the class might have?

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  7. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t use support forums other than a source of information. Most of the time, if I have a problem, someone else had it before me and I’m able to find the solution with a well phrased google search.

    I don’t like going into any online environment where the participants are not civil.

    Mike Goad´s last blog post..Wednesday Weigh-In

  8. Hi Davina and Barbara – This is a great topic. So much of blogging winds up being self-taught, learn as you go.

    The most helpful forum that I’ve visited is the Thesis support forum. I was able to easily access topics pertaining to customizing my header with a clickable title, and how to add my own image to the header. The folks are really helpful, and it made me feel so accomplished – even though I know it’s a relatively simple task in the great scheme of things.

    Recently I visited and signed on for getsatisfaction.com, because Zentact (a contact management application I’m using) uses it for their help issues. What a great concept! With good update summaries, so that even if a help issue isn’t resolved, you can easily gain participant frustration levels, and see what the companies are doing to address the issue. Getsatisfaction.com will also crawl your contacts from email and twitter so that you can add them within the site. Presumably you might be able to share information with those who have like interests or something. There are a lot of companies using it, so it could be a viable tool to get information to improve your user experience.

    Great topic as usual, and nice job, Davina! Thanks.

    Betsy Wuebker´s last blog post..REQUIEM FOR RYAN

  9. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Davina,

    You’re making for a great substitute teacher here today!

    I do use support forums. Typically just for searching for information – and if someone else has had the same problem – I’m able to piggyback off of their Q&A. Occasionally I have posted to forums – and I try to be as specific as I can – so as not to invoke any anger amongst those who reply. I don’t recall having been harassed or beaten up in a forum. However, I have seen this in forums where others have been publicly mean to an original poster. And like Linda, I have a very hard time with this. I think there are other ways to get your point across, short of being mean. That is a complete turn off, and usually to the whole community forum.

    Another way I’ve found to get support is from the people I’ve gotten to know online – through personal email connections – it’s seems like I’m talking to a friend about a problem with my car… as opposed to taking it to the local mechanic (a support forum).

    Lance´s last blog post..This Is A Day Of Joy

  10. Hi Teach,

    Forums, I haven’t used them for tech issues because the language is generally way past where I am and no one really owes me a translation.

    Like Mike I do a Google search for info because that’s what various techie folks I’ve hired over the years do when they are stuck. That works about half the time.

    The other half I just pay my tech gal to fix it for me. If you want to learn, it’s important to find someone who is willing to teach you to the limits of what you’re willing to learn. Also if the tech person is in the business, then they ought to have a very helpful blog chock-full of meaty articles that you can read first to increase your learning.

    I’ve found a whiz-gem techie who will speak to you in everyday language; her name is Suzanne Bird-Harris of
    http://www.vAssistantServices.com

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s last blog post..Five Mood Enhancers for Business Success

  11. Davina,

    Having been a programmer for 20+ years, I have been on both sides of this particular fence. I have been the frustrated one looking for help and I have been the even MORE frustrated one trying to answer the ambiguously phrased call for help, “This didn’t work for me. Help?”

    As a result, today I steer clear of forums, believe it or not (the format and organization of them – or lack, thereof – drives me batty) and I bend over backwards to make sure I do not evoke feelings of stupidity in my clients when they call for help.

    In each and every initial consultation, I make sure to tell my prospective new clients my policy on questions, which is: “There is no such thing as a stupid question, they’re just things you don’t know. So please ask – it’s the reason I’m here.”

    Consistently, they tell me that my teaching skills (I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up) and the fact that I’m approachable and don’t make them feel dumb are why they refer others to me so frequently. I value that feedback because it is, for me, the single most important indicator that I am delivering the value I seek to deliver to the world.

    I very strongly believe that we all do whatever we do SO MUCH BETTER with support and a sense that someone ‘has our back’ in the areas we’re not so confident in.

    So like many others here have stated, when I need help, I seek it from others I have built relationships with who are skilled in the areas I’m not, rather than wade through impersonal forums where no one knows me…or cares.

    Suzanne @ vAssistant Services´s last blog post..Color Schemes for the 2.7 Dashboard

  12. Hi Davinia, Barbara.

    I have never used blogging forums; most of the time I just google for blogs about blogging, just like this one.

    Miguel de Luis´s last blog post..Micro worpdress tip.

  13. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Mike.
    I couldn’t agree more. How can a person learn anything in a hostile environment? Google is a close friend.

    Hi Betsy.
    Thanks for this information. Getsatisfaction.com sounds great. I just popped over there. Their tagline is “Customer service doesn’t have to suck.” It sounds like a networking tool similar to LinkedIn.

    Hi Lance.
    Thanks — you get an A+, LOL. I couldn’t agree with you more. There are other, more humane ways to get a point across. Online buddies are so much more easier and friendlier to deal with.

    I came on too strong when I asked one of my questions (out of frustration), after spending hours reading other threads. They obviously mistook my intent and I learned the hard way.

    Hi Miguel.
    You’re smart 🙂 What would we ever do without Google?

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  14. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Class? Has anyone seen Hunter? He seems to have disappeared.

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  15. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Ok class, I have to step out for a minute. Why don’t you take a short break and chat amongst yourselves.

  16. Davina,

    Great class and I think Barbara selected an excellent teacher!!! I do believe the universe is giving a friendly nudge. Love your blog (and Barbara’s).

    Sara B. Healy´s last blog post..Putting Writer’s Block to Rest

  17. The only forum I’ve tried is the Thesis forum and I would agree that it was friendly. I’ve also had luck just googling for answers and other bloggers have helped me as well.

    Vintage Mommy´s last blog post..I Want to Say “I Told You So”

  18. Ok, I’m up, I’m up! What’s funny is that I had to wake up much earlier than usual today for an interview, so I actually did fall asleep in the middle of the day.

    I don’t have any experience with support forums, but I used to have a job where support was a small part of my work. I think they had a good system for it.

    The first support team was made up of super nice, super patient people. They would talk to the customers either on the phone or in person, and work with them to figure out exactly what problem was being reported. The first support team didn’t know how to fix the problem, but they knew how to get all the necessary details from the customers with a smile on their face.

    Then, the second support team would get to work. These people aren’t necessarily nice or patient, but they know how to fix problems. So with the information from the first team, the second team was able to work on the technical side of the problem.

    I know support people can appear rude at times, and this is no way to treat customers. While I can understand that someone might be frustrated by a newbie who’s not explaining things right, I think that anyone who interacts with newbies needs to always have a smile on their face.

    @ Linda, thanks for saying I’m cute, but that photo isn’t me!

    Hunter Nuttall´s last blog post..What The Hell Is Value?

  19. JenniferNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Davina. It can be difficult getting support. I’ve had a wide range – some very helpful and some never responded to my questions. The best thing to do is always search for answers to your questions first before asking. You may just find your answer there already.

    One forum never responded back to me and wanted to charge me to give me help. I downloaded another plug-in and had GREAT support from them.

    (You’re a great sub, Davina.)

    Jennifer´s last blog post..Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

  20. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hey, guys. Thanks for holding down the fort while I was away.

    Hi Tom.
    My apologies, I didn’t see your hand before I left — Akismet must have had it. Thank you for mentioning Suzanne’s website — that’s one more subscription to add.

    It is important to work with someone who is willing to spend time to help a person out. That has to be the biggest problem about the forums. So many people to help, and they’re all at different learning stages — not to mention the newbies who are frustrated because they don’t know where else to go.

    Hi Suzanne.
    Ah, where were you 3 months ago? It makes SUCH a difference when a person knows they can ask any question, no matter how “stupid” and not have to deal with consequences or criticism.

    You’re right, the forums are impersonal and having to ask uncertain questions, witnessed by countless others is less than a supportive environment. I’m thankful when I can find the answer without have to post a question, but that hasn’t always been the case. Understanding the jargon is a big stumbling block.

    Hi Sara.
    Thank you. This been a good discussion. Barbara has created a good community for learning here hasn’t she?

    Hi Vintage Mommy.
    You’re the second person to give a thumbs up to the Thesis forum. From my experience, they’ve been excellent. They are one forum that I wouldn’t hesitate to post a question on.

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  21. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Hunter.
    That’s too funny — what a “coincidence”. I hope the interview went well… at least you didn’t fall asleep during it — LOL

    That sounds like an excellent system they had set up. It allows the staff to focus their skills on where they are best being used. I couldn’t agree more that there is no excuse for rudeness.

    Hi Jennifer.
    Thank you. Yes, I’ve seen a lot of unanswered questions in the forums. Odd for that forum to ask for payment though. That should have been clear when you signed up that the support came with a price tag.

  22. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Teach – Glad to see you’re back. Everyone was well behaved while you were gone. As you can see, Hunter woke up, but now John’s missing. I’ll go look for him.

  23. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. LOL. I’m glad Hunter woke up. He had some good things to say. I wonder where John could be.

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  24. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Davina – I used to be very involved with the RapidWeaver forums before starting blogging – I used to check in just to see what was going on, much like I’d look at Twitter now! I asked questions, answered them and wrote some tutorials.

    Their forums were famous for being the most helpful, friendly and inclusive forums on the internet (I know because they said so themselves) – and they are how I learned the bits and pieces of web knowledge that makes my WP life relatively easy now. RapidWeaver is web authoring software for Macs.

    Robin´s last blog post..5-Year Plan For This Blog

  25. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Hello Davina and thank your for the good lesson and list. I think that list is what I used to (I think) finally get my server connection and phone connection repaired. Next week they promise.

    I am afraid I am a very slow learner on doing these things myself. I have a IT – person who does all my programming things – her way. She does get upset with me because I forget how to do things, like right now I don’t know how to put a good link on twitter or the url’s into my posts – she is holding out until I figure it out again. I have been researching in Barbara’s archives.

    Barbara’s archives are a rich resource as are her substitute teachers. Thank you Barbara and Davina

    I am very happy to learn about forum’s and I trust Google a great deal.

    I too like the video explanations.

    Hunter helped me get onto Twitter, but I truly messed up on attempting to install Tweetdeck…I am on this crazy medicine this week so I thought I would wait until my Internet and my head are working normally to try again.

    I am so grateful for all the help I get from the blogging community Thank you Hunter, Cath Lawson, Barbara, Blogger Dad, Davina, and all…I just am so appreciative and thankful I found you

    Talk about rude, you should have been in the emergency room with me all day Monday – the Doctor was worse than the forums you mentioned…way worse.

  26. John picks his head up . . . “Ms. Davina, I’ve been uh . . . reading my book sitting here quietly. It was Hunter’s . . . I don’t know what it was, but it was his fault!” 😉

    Aww…you guys missed me. You’re all so cool!

    Sorry, I’ve been away from the computer all day – and not by choice. Excellent topic, Davina. I have a whole heap of experience in forums.

    I would say if you plan to push your technical knowledge and learn more quickly, forums are a must. Someone once told me, you need to surround yourself with people smarter than you. I know a lot about WordPress and web development, but there sure are a lot more people out there with A LOT more experience and knowledge than me. They have helped me solve problems in a matter of hours which would of otherwise taken me days to figure out (and money).

    Forums have helped me get websites up and running, make more money by providing website feedback, and basically helped me learn a lot of what I know today.

    One thing I would like to add which those who are new to forums should pay particular attention to, because not doing this will most definitely upset all those rude forum users.

    Make sure you search the forum first to see if your question has already been asked and solved before you ask.

    Forums users come in all shapes, sizes, and attitudes. I’m one of those patient forum participants. I can’t think of a time anyone has ever upset me for asking a question. I’m always out to help the beginner.

    However, even though I’m an experienced forum user, I still will come across a user here and there which will get an attitude with me. I just ignore them and try to pick out what I need.

    Forums are very useful tools. If you do a lot of custom work, you need them.

    Also, as many of you might know I have a new hosting website coming out soon geared specifically for WordPress bloggers. I will have a WordPress school for bloggers there. Lots of picture tutorials and just for you Barbara . . . lots of video tutorials as well 😉

    I’m working with a professor from Georgetown in creating the videos.

    When it’s launched, I’d love to invite everyone over to take a few classes (they’re not really classes, just tutorials). I’ll always be there to help anyone in need. Especially the this community. Maybe I’ll give you all a sneak peek before launch for some feedback.

    John Hoff — Hunter’s Friend´s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  27. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hello Robin.
    Writing the tutorials would be a good way to integrate the learning. You had a good learning experience then, coming about it gradually and not while under too much duress.

    I hadn’t heard of RapidWeaver until now, but I did work on a Mac years ago.

    Hi Patricia.
    You’ve been having your share of server problems lately haven’t you? It’s frustrating, especially when you don’t consider yourself a tekkie. But as you say, there is a good circle of support right here. That’s too bad about the rudeness of the Doctor. I hope you are feeling better after all that.

    Hi John.
    Well, well, well… look who’s here 🙂 I see Barbara found you.

    That is a good point. A person could visit a forum just like a blog to see what information they can pick up. That would be a good way to learn and not “have” to find the answer right away.

    I’ve been hearing rumors about your new hosting services and I can’t wait to see what it’s all about. School for bloggers & tutorials & videos! Where can I sign up? And when?

  28. John HoffNo Gravatar says:

    @Robin – Ouch! When the doctor is bad like that there’s no hope! You don’t want to piss him/her off. They could really screw with you! And best of all, you get to pay big bucks for his rudeness.

    @Davina – I have to say, I’ve probably received the most help on the technical side of things in blogging through forums.

    By the way, not sure if anyone knows, but there is a WordPress plugin you can use to install a WP Forum on your blog. I wonder what uses everyone could make of such a plugin?

    As for the WordPress school on my new site, I’ve been tossing around different ideas as to membership, however, I’ll probably simply make the entire “school” free for everyone. I don’t know about you, but I hate having to spend money!

    John Hoff´s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  29. Eric HammNo Gravatar says:

    I’m with Mike on this one. It’s a rare occasion when you can’t find your exact problem, already solved by doing some Google/forum searching.

    I actually don’t use forums directly for support. If a Google search lands me on one, then I’ll check out the info, but I rarely go to one otherwise. And if I’m not searching the Internet, I’m going straight to the source with a phone call. Let’s say it’s a hosting issue. I’ll just call them up and knock it out that way.

    As far as rudeness, sure, it happens. You just ignore it and move on. Forums tend to be a bit more ‘moody’ than blogs. Blogs are more like people sitting in a coffee shop, sipping their lattes, while forums are more like people sitting in a bar, pounding beers. (Or something like that. 🙂 ) Eric.

    Eric Hamm´s last blog post..Friday Link Roundup: No Pants Required

  30. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    Good stuff.

    When I worked in Developer Support, for capturing the problem, we used a very specific format:

    … What does What When?

    For example, my browser displays the following error (xyz), when I try to view (lmnop).

    J.D. Meier´s last blog post..Actions, Insights and Notes

  31. @J.D. – I like that.

    John Hoff – eVentureBiz´s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  32. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi there J.D.
    I see you know your alphabet really well. LOL. “What does What When?” — How and why is what I’d like to know. All kidding aside, I like that.

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  33. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    Davina, it’s great to have you coaching here!! I have to admit that I am no good at all things techie. There is definitely something wrong with the plugins that I’ve installed since last year, for instance. I haven’t got the chance to look into them because things are not a simple fix for me. While forums can be a great place to get answers, there have been times when I waste far more time on them than necessary.

    Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..Mouths Are Flapping

  34. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Evelyn.
    Thank you. It’s fun to be sharing Barbara’s classroom.

    You are fortunate that your plugin issues haven’t stopped you from blogging. What plugins have you been having problems with?

    Maybe you can find an answer here and not have to go through the forums. I know what you mean about spending more time there than necessary. Blogging already takes enough time right?

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  35. LingNo Gravatar says:

    For a start, if you have a problem, then its a virtual certainity that someone before you has had the same problem, and has found a way to solve it, and has posted the solution on the internet somewhere. So even if you don’t know squat about blogging, it helps if you’re good at googling.

    As for being afraid of asking questions on a forum because someone could be rude to you, or you’ll come across as stupid, think about it this way – Who cares? Its just one page read by a few people. There’s millions of pages created every day on the internet. It’ll be lost by tomorrow. So if you want to ask something, just ask.

  36. chrisNo Gravatar says:

    When I started blogging I was really into forums because it was suggested that it will improve my blogging skills and increase my exposure. It worked. Unfortunately, it took too much of my time.

    chris´s last blog post..Cell Phones and Relationships

  37. Dennis EdellNo Gravatar says:

    Superb advice no matter what he forum covers! As someone who has been on both sides, I agree will ALL.

    I very much enjpy answering support type questions. Not only have you helped one, but possibly many others with the same question but afraid to ask…not to mention the additions readers you can accumulate for your own site, and future friends and contacts as well. (No one is a newbie forever.)

    PLEASE ask correctly if possible, and have a thickish skin – as mentioned in the article, don’t get offended if the answer isn’t riddled with smilies and LOL’s

    🙂

    Dennis Edell´s last blog post..Blogroll Effectiveness – What Do You Think?

  38. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Eric.
    Sorry, you were waiting in moderation and I didn’t see you until now. Thanks Barbara for calling my attention to this one.

    Google searches have been supportive about 75% of the time. Trouble begins when the instructions say to look for such and such a folder, or file name… but none of those exist. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. But I do have to agree, this method is “friendlier” than posting in forums.

    I like your analogy of blogs… they are a lot like people sitting in coffee shops, sipping their lattes or pounding beer.

    Class, that would be a good homework assignment… everyone write a 500 word essay on how visiting blogs is like going out for coffee. We’ll take a short break and all head out to the closest coffee shop (or pub), and get started. I’m buying… just kidding LOL.

    Hi there Ling.
    Those are excellent points! Hey, has anyone done a tutorial on the best way to Google? Does one exist?

    Because so many people ask the same question in the forums, I can see why it gets frustrating for the moderators to answer them over and over.

    Hi Chris.
    I hear you. For a newbie, it can take hours to search for answers in forums, and then search for an explanation of the jargon, to understand the answer. A person does have to laugh about it I guess. Hard to see it that way though when you’re on a mission.

    Hi Dennis.
    That’s true. By answering one question you are most likely answering a lot of others at the same time. I’ve been on the receiving end of that scenario on occasion. One of my forum questions was dealt with patiently and thoroughly and as you say, this can be a good networking tool.

    Forums might be a good place to practice growing a thick skin, but I still don’t think rudeness is appropriate. Some replies I have seen are beyond rudeness and more like a personal attack.

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  39. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi John.
    There is a WordPress plugin to install a forum on a blog? I did not know that. I’m glad you pointed that out. Thank you.

  40. Dennis EdellNo Gravatar says:

    Oh absolutely there should be no blatant rudeness. I just meant that any response that is straight to the point can, and lots of times is, taken as rude if it’s not accompanied by 3 smilies and a have a fantastic day! or whatever lol.

    Dennis Edell´s last blog post..Blogroll Effectiveness – What Do You Think?

  41. Dennis EdellNo Gravatar says:

    From my understanding the forum plugin is very limited as far as forum capabilities…it’s just another page on your blog.

  42. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Dennis. That is true. Written communication can easily be taken the wrong way. There are a lot of LOLs and smiley faces online 🙂

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  43. John HoffNo Gravatar says:

    @Davina – Re: Hey, has anyone done a tutorial on the best way to Google? Does one exist?

    Actually, I posted some tips on how to use Google to refine your search in my community forum for eVentureBiz.

    Search Engine Tips For Finding What You Want

    @Dennis – I hear it’s a bit limited too (the Forum plugin for WordPress). It’s basically meant to give you a forum-like organization for interaction on your site. I’ve never tried the plugin though.

    John Hoff´s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  44. Hey Davina and Barbara,

    I usually just do a Google search and sometimes I end up in forum. I have to agree with Lance….(way up there) that they are not always so friendly. I just remind myself that they don’t know me anyway and I forgive their lack of tolerance.

    Cricket/Tammy´s last blog post..Oh where have I been?

  45. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Tammy.
    Google is sure getting a lot of votes. Reminding yourself that they don’t know you in the forums is a good way to look at it. It’s less likely a person will take things personally.

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  46. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi John – I checked out the link to your post. I put in +blogging+blogs and I rank #9. WooHoo!

    Thanks for the great resource. I learned a few shortcuts I didn’t know about.

  47. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi John. Oops, looks like you went into moderation again.

    Thanks for sharing that link from your eVentureBiz community forum re the Google search tips. Good to know about this. I know I’ll be giving it a read.

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  48. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ms. Davina – Looks like you’re having fun being substitute teacher. You’re doing a fabulous job answering all of the replies from the “students”. Maybe I can talk you into subbing again in the future.

  49. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. Thank you. I’ve been having a lot of fun with this. This substitute teacher series was a good idea.

    It’s frustrating that your comments are falling prey to Akismet isn’t it? I hope I haven’t missed anyone. It keeps happening to me too… sometimes the comments go into moderation too. I’ve done a few searches on Google to try to find an answer, but nothing yet.

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  50. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Davina – I tried your idea of deactivating/reactivating Akismet. I also went on their site and read the FAQ + another article. It appears it takes about a week from the time you contact them to resolve the issue. Until then, I’ll just leave comments without my URL.

    For some reason this blog gets tons of spam comments. I just deleted another 335 (I’m up to almost 28,000 thus far). Maybe it because I’ve written about the subject. Hmmmm.

  51. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. Thanks for this info. I should email Akismet too. A lot of my comments are going into moderation when a person has already commented. Strange.

    Wow, you ARE getting a lot of spam comments! It’s worth having Akismet.

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  52. For me, the sad part is that the people who do look for help on these forums can sometimes precisely be the people who aren’t at all familiar with computers and the internet, not to mention proper support forum etiquette. I mean, I wouldn’t feel very good to hear that my grandmother or my father was publicly humiliated on a forum, simply because he or she thought that it would be acceptable to ask a fairly general opening question to kick off an attempt at solving a computer problem.

    In a way, this also goes to the type of behaviour people engage in online versus offline. If my grandmother were to go up to a clerk in the supermarket, to ask a vague question about the merchandise, showing off that she really doesn’t know all that much about it, I would be surprised if that clerk were to publicly tell her off, calling her a noob or worse things, in a public space. And yet online it’s almost par for the course. I understand the reason for the difference there, but again, for people who are new to the internet, who need help the most, the sometimes callous disregard and contempt they may be subjected to is sad.

    And then these are the same people who are ridiculed because they don’t update their antivirus software or put up software firewalls or click on phishing emails or trojan files. Sucks.

  53. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Davina and Barbara,
    Someone asked about a tutorial about doing a Google search. One of my daughters is studying to be a Librarian – children – she just did her student teaching in a middle school and her entire month was devoted to teaching Search Engines and how to make them work for you – from limiting topics to debunking the mythology.
    Then her internship was to teach a company how to collaborate within the company and with a search engine. She let me read her teams paper – wow was I impressed and felt very out of date and learned a great deal.

    I think bloggers have this cooperative spirit developing in their communities by assisting each other with what they have learned.

    Patricia´s last blog post..Never Build on Your Food Supply

  54. Very informative and helpful post. I had to chuckle at the comment about putting more thought into the subject line and not using “please help me” … how many times have we seen that one?!

    Tammie @ Are You For Real?´s last blog post..How To Use Blessings?

  55. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Lance. That’s a good point you’ve made. It does seem that the human factor can become lost online. You’re right, the people who are asking these questions most likely are not familiar with forum etiquette.

    This behaviour seems to be reversed in a supermarket or a department store. In those cases, I’ve seen customers who are quicker to rudeness than the staff.

    Seems respect gets lost somewhere along the line.

    Hi Patricia.
    An entire month dedicated to teaching SEO. Wow! No wonder you felt out of date. Bloggers do seem to have more of a cooperative spirit. There is less of a communication barrier in regards to what Lance described above.

    Hi Tammie.
    That’s good that you are finding this helpful. LOL. I’ve seen this a lot. It makes it more difficult for us forum surfers to find answers too. “Please help me” in the subject line can mean anything.

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  56. GennaroNo Gravatar says:

    A lot of support forums will chew you up if you ask a question that is too general or something that can be easily found in a search of the forum. I understand the reactions. A lot of people go out of their way to help others then someone pops in and doesn’t take the time to formulate a good question.

    Gennaro´s last blog post..8 Presidential Inauguration Locations To Visit

  57. Linda AbbitNo Gravatar says:

    @ Hunter — The “real you” is cute, too. I peeked at the photo on your site. 🙂

    Linda Abbit´s last blog post..Funny Fridays: Because It’s Better to Laugh than to Cry!

  58. Great advice and great blog!
    I have to come back and do some more reading.
    Keep up the good work!
    Be loved!

    Buddha of Hollywood´s last blog post..Enlightenment 103

  59. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Gennaro.
    I can understand how that would be frustrating. It’s too bad when people don’t realize this. I guess that’s one of the drawbacks of forums. Anybody can access them no matter what their level of experience.

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  60. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Buddha. Thank you. There has been some great input here over the weekend.

    Barbara has created a great blog here. I think you’ll find a lot of good stuff in her archives.

    Thanks class for all your excellent input. Hopefully we’ve been able to help those newbies to forums.

    And thanks Barbara for the opportunity to be a substitute teach on Blogging Without A Blog.

    Davina´s last blog post..Self Help Me

  61. Barbara! This is a super post. I’d definitely put researching to see whether the answer is already addressed in the support forum and selecting the proper forum as the top two things one must do before posting a new support question.

    Redundancy is good for servers… bad for questions!

    Kevin Sandridge´s last blog post..Winter Haven, Florida Mortgage Market Report 1-20-2009

  62. NeticuleNo Gravatar says:

    Some good things to follow, I would even call them rules to follow. I have seen so many questions that go unanswered simply because they dont follow through on some basic research first!

  63. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Kevin.
    I’m glad you enjoyed this post. Barbara’s substitute teacher series is a good one. There is a good variation of topics covered. I completely agree with you about checking to see if the question has already been dealt with. I makes a person’s life easier… as long as the people posting the questions put appropriate titles in the subject line

    Hi Neticule.
    There are a lot of unanswered questions aren’t there? And I’ve noticed that a lot of them are months old and the poster has not returned. Probably because they did the search for answers after they made the post.

    Davina´s last blog post..How Curious Moments Add Value