Q&A Forum Help

General Forum Topics

User Specific Settings

Reputation Points and Privileges



General Forum Features

Ask a Question

This is a Q&A forum. That means that the goal of it is for someone to ask a question and someone else to answer the question. This is not intended to be a debate based format.

To ask a question, go to the desired Forum and click the green Ask Question button.

Question Etiquette
  • Include all relevant information, sample code, or files.
  • Do not post an entire project and ask someone to do that for you.
  • Do your own research and ask pointed and specific questions.
Answer a Question

Answers are NOT the place for discussions. You should only put an answer to the question in the Answers section. Anything other than an answer should go in the Discussion section.

When you view a question, you will see a blue Answer button under it. Click that button and you should be taken to the bottom of the page where you can then input an answer to the question.

You can only have 1 answer per question. If you want to add information to your answer you must edit your original answer. This helps to keep discussions out of the Answer section and in the Discussion section.

Answer Etiquette
  • Answer the question in a direct way.
  • Do not debate the question; that should take place in the discussion area, if at all.
  • If you provide a link in the answer, summarize what is in that link in case the destination page is removed in the future.
  • If you include a file in the answer, explain what you did in it within the answer itself so that future readers can more easily see the answer.
  • Remember, the goal is to help the person who asked the question, but also anyone else who comes to the page looking for an answer.
Discuss a Question

The Discuss section is where you can ask for clarification on a question or simply discuss it. This is a separate section so that it will be easier for visitors to see the answer in the Answers section.

You can discuss a question or any answer to it by going to the bottom of the post and clicking the Discuss or Add to Discussion button.

Select an Answer to a Question

If you ask a question, you need to select an answer to it if one exists. This is a VERY important feature because it lets future visitors know immediately which Answer they should look to.

To select an answer to your question, there must first be at least one submitted answer. Look through the list of Answers and, when you find the best one, look to the bottom of it and click the Select Answer button and then Yes to confirm it.

You can remove an answer by clicking the Remove Answer button from within the answer itself.

Search the Forum

Go to the forum page and type your search into the search box above the questions.

You can also limit a search to questions that have only certain tags; to do this, click the Filter by Tags button and add tags. This filter returns only posts that have ALL of the tags that you put into it.

Currently, the search feature only searches titles. Based on past experience, this seems like it might be the best way to perform a search, but that can be changed if it needs to be.

You do not have to enter a search term if you just want to view all questions with a certain tag or tags; in this case, simply apply the tag filters and leave the search box empty.

Save Your Search Settings for Later

You can save a search and any tags used to filter it. This allows you to have one-click access to the search in case you want to view it quickly again in the future.

A saved search is called a View.

You can use this feature to save your favorite tags as well; in this case, you wouldn't enter a search term, but, instead, just apply the tag filters and leave the search box empty.

This feature will also save all filters and sorting options that you use in the search. (Filter and Sort options are covered in the next section.)

To save a view, first make the search or filter by tags (you must perform the search or filter before you can save it). Then, click the Save button, located to the right of the Filter by Tags button, and, in the section that appears, enter the name that you want for your view and click Save View.

Your views can be accessed by clicking the My Views link above the Ask Question button in a forum.

Sort and Filter Questions

You can sort the questions in a Forum by date or votes. This allows you to view the newest questions or the questions that have the most votes.

You can also filter the questions by if they have a selected answer or not. A selected answer means that an answer was selected for the question by the person who asked it and not just that answers were submitted for the question.

You can filter and sort at the same time; you can also do this on searches and results that have been filtered by tags.

When you go to save a view (search), these settings will also be saved in that view.

Sort and Filter options are located just above the questions when you view the forum.

View Questions With Certain Tags

You can view all questions that have a certain tag by clicking the tag on a question or by going to the forum page and clicking the Filter by Tags button, then, type the desired keyword and hit Apply Filter.

If you add multiple tags to the tag filter, only questions that have all of those tags will appear.

Search for a Question and View those with selected Answers and the Most Votes

Go to the forum, type in your search terms in the search box, click the button Filter by Tags, type in any desired tags, and then click either Apply Filter or Search, it doesn't matter.

Once you have made the search, look to the buttons that appear above the questions and click Answered and then Sort by Votes.

This is a typical search/filter setup that you might want and you can save it for quick access by using the Save feature; read the description above for more information on that.

View Your Own Questions, Answers, and Comments

You can quickly view all of your own questions, answers, and comments.

Go to the top of the forum or any question and click the link My Questions or My Answers to view your questions or answers.

To view your comments, go to the top of the forum or question and click My Profile and click the link My Comments, which is under the My Activity header.

User Specific Settings

Edit Profile Fields

You can change the data fields associated with your account; these include things like "software version" fields or "MS Office Version" fields and they appear next to your questions in the forum.

To update or change the data in these fields, click the My Profile link at the top of the forum or question page and then click the Update button next to the field that you want to edit. These fields are located at the top of the page under the User reputation.

This data is publicly visible.

Edit Forum Settings

Forum settings are settings that are specific to a forum, such as email update settings.

You can edit these by clicking the My Profile link in the forum or question pages and then going down to the Forum Settings section. This section is not publicly visible.

Stop Email Updates from a Specific Question/Answer

By default, you will get an email update if someone posts an answer to your question or a discussion comment on one of your questions or answers.

To turn this off, go to the question/answer and, in the bottom-right corner, click Unsubscribe.

Stop All Future Email Updates for Questions/Answers

To change the default email update setting, click the My Profile link, located at the top of the forum and question pages, and go down to the Forum Settings section and change the desired setting there.

This will not change the setting for posts that you already made, but, all future questions/answers will have email updates turned off.

Reputation Points and Privileges

Reputation and Points

Reputation points allow you to have access to more features and show other users how much you contribute.

The more points you earn, the more recognition you will get.

You earn points by:

  • Having your answer selected (+10) [no points are awarded if you select your own answer]
  • Selecting an answer to your question (+2) [no points are awarded if you select your own answer]
  • Having your answer voted up (+5)
  • Having your question voted up (+2)

You lose points by:

  • Having your answer voted down (-1)
  • Having your question voted down (-1)
  • Voting down on an answer (-1)  This takes points away from you when you vote down someone's answer. This costs you reputation in order to try to discourage systematic down-voting.

As you can see, voting is an important part of the reputation and points system. The better/more helpful your answers and questions, the more reputation points you will get.

How Privileges Work

As a new user to the forum, you will have access to almost every feature in the forum; from the start, you will be able to ask and answer questions and make comments in the discussion section without issue.

Some features, however, are limited until a user has a certain amount of reputation. This is done to try to decrease spam and gaming the points system.

List of Reputation Based Privileges

Here is a list of privileges that require so many points to get and how many points they require:

  • Putting clickable links in questions/answers/discussions. (15 reputation points)
  • Voting Up on a question or answer. (20 reputation points)
  • Voting Down on a question or answer. (70 reputation points)
  • Canned replies access. (50 reputation points)
  • Flag a post. (20 reputation points)
  • Hidden Rules Section on the "Ask Question" page. (50 reputation points)

The points number behind each privilege is the reputation that you need to get access to that privilege.

Voting

Voting allows you to say that you think a question or answer is really good or really bad.

This is an important way to try to identify good content.

Canned Replies

Canned replies is a feature that only works for discussions and it allows you to save time when telling a user to do something basic, like putting code tags around their code.

Once you have enough reputation to access canned replies, you will see a link for them that appears when you go to add a comment to a discussion.

Mark or Flag a Bad Question, Answer, or Comment

This allows you to notify an admin that something is wrong with a post.

This is mainly used to indicate that a post is spam and needs to be removed. However, it may in the future also be used to alert admins of other smaller issues that might need to be fixed with a post.

You can flag a question, answer, or comment by clicking the Flag link in the bottom right of it and selecting the reason for the flag.

You will need a certain amount of reputation points, listed above, in order to get access to this feature. This is done so someone can't just signup and immediately go flag happy.