I could write on at great length about MSDN forums, etiquette, naming conventions, search, etc. I may do that, in fact. I wanted to point out a small thing which may help people have a better overall experience.
I’ve lately been telling people that if you run into some kind of problem with your SharePoint environment, development project or other SharePoint related activity, post a question to the forums earlier in your action chain rather than later. I know for myself that when I have a problem, a number of potential solutions present themselves right away. I order these potential solutions in terms of likelihood, applicability and how easy they are to investigate. I go through that list and by the time I’ve gotten to #10, I’m making registry changes to a key “/foo/bar/almostThere/isThisIt/noThisIsNotIt/iCantBelieveIAmDoingThis/finallyThere!” on the advice of a blog found on page 8 of a Google search. When that doesn’t work, I finally post a question to MSDN (e.g. here: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/sharepointgeneral/threads).
I suggest that you reverse that approach. Post the forums much earlier in your investigation because:
- It’s free to you anyway.
- There’s no guaranteed SLA (of which I’m aware, at least).
- Therefore, it can take a long time for people to respond.
- People often do respond eventually.
- If you wait until 2 or 3 days after the problem first surfaced, you’re frantic for a response and forums are not a good place for emergency help (unless you’re lucky).
So, basically, it’s easy and free and you have a good shot at getting some kind of answer, but it will take a while to get that answer (again, unless you’re lucky).
I used to think that I should hold off on looking for community help because I don’t want to waste someone’s time asking for help when I could find it out myself. Some forum moderators and active participants may feel that way, but I don’t (at least, I don’t feel that way any more). I don’t see any downside. The worst case is that you post a question and then answer it yourself some time later, possibly “wasting” some one’s time. I don’t see a big risk in that and there’s value in the researching of questions like that in any event.
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