#httpd Channel on Freenode
Scratchpad for IRC Guidelines
I'd like to take ##windows as an example, since they really have a very warm and helpful page on that topic:
They link to the general Freenode Catalyst: http://freenode.net/catalysts.shtml and Channel Guidelines: http://freenode.net/channel_guidelines.shtml Their own Help Guidelines can be found here:: http://groups.google.com/group/windows/web/Help%20guidelines
We most often link to: http://workaround.org/getting-help-on-irc
Those two are really good -- if anyone actually takes the time to read them -- the latter should probably be linked on this page here as well.
Some people link http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html -- which in my opinion is a little dated, too long for the general IRC attention span. Also the title is a perfect invitation for discouragement.
I believe what's really important for a good climate is that not just our users, who seek out our help and enlightenment, abide by our rules, but that we, the moderators, do too.
No warranty. Members are not obligated to help; most do this in their free time; and all solutions and answers are provided "as is".
As with any form of communication, there are some basics you should stick to:
- be polite
- be constructive
- be relevant (at least as relevant as possible)
- keep an open mind (an answer may not be what you expected, but might be correct nontheless)
- speak English (or at least try)
Patience is a virtue
It may take a while before you get answer. People could be idling, busy, or helping other users. A lot of the time people will prefer to get a solution to the person they are currently helping before looking at other questions. So stick around and perhaps repeat your answer again at a later time. But don't spam the channel.
You could also be asked a lot of additional questions -- if so, answer them. People may be trying to understand your problem better.
The art of asking questions and dealing with the answers
Lots has been written on the topic, but there are some general rules:
- just ask (we don't bite, much)
- be exact
- be detailed enough (don't go overboard; if more information is needed, you will most likely be asked)
- don't expect custom ready-to-use answers (you may get lucky, but most of the time you'll have to do a bit of work too)
- if the answer isn't what you expected, try to explain why and what you expected. Maybe we didn't understand your question correctly.
Be willing to read
A lot of the time you'll get an answer through our bot fajita, who provides links. Read them. They usually contain information relevant to your question -- sometimes even examples.
Problems with the medium and with the environment
- IRC has its problems, it isn't well suited for lengthy bits of text. Use a pastbin where appropriate
- IRC has a tendency to sound rude. "Read /some/path/manual/somefile" just means you should look at the file, it will likely answer some things you asked for. Also people on IRC do it in their free time or at work; they may be busy so extra words to be more polite are often left out.