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Guidelines for Posting

updated July 16, 2002

While our forum is open to everyone, please keep in mind that this is a free service. Several people are willing to help answer your question, but we give priority to questions that are posted politely and that include the correct information. Please follow the following guidelines when posting a question or answer in the forum.

Appropriate Topics

This forum serves two main purposes:

  1. To support my JavaScript and DHTML books. Book questions will always be given priority.
  2. For general discussions of JavaScript, DHTML, CSS, and other topics mentioned in the forum names. While the emphasis is on beginner-level discussion, advanced topics are welcome - just don't expect us to know all of the answers.

One thing to emphasise: This forum is for people who want to learn JavaScript. If you want free scripts or want someone to do your thinking for you, this isn't the right place.

Post Clearly and Considerately

  • Use an informative Subject line. Subjects like 'I have a problem' or 'HELP!' or 'JavaScript Question' are confusing. Use a subject like 'Problem with Listing 3.2' or 'Formatting decimal numbers'. This helps others know whether they can answer your question without reading it, and also makes the thread easier to find if someone else has a similar question.
  • Keep your questions calm and considerate. Don't act like you're entitled to an answer.
  • Include as much information as possible about your problem, and don't get upset if someone replies asking for more information. It's often the only way we can help you.
  • Keep in mind that the same question is often repeated on our forum, and the regulars may have seen your question before. Don't be upset if they point this out or refer you to another thread for information.
  • Use the right forum. We have several forums with different topics. If your post doesn't fit the forum's topic, it may be moved or deleted.

Including Code in Your Message

  • Format your code correctly: Begin your JavaScript, HTML, or other code with the special symbol [code] and end it with [/code]. This formats the code in a nice monospaced font. More importantly, it keeps portions of your code from being misinterpreted by the forum software. Your code may be unreadable if you don't do this.
  • Keep your code as short as possible. Don't include your entire page. Whenever possible, reduce your code to a small example that works and demonstrates the problem you're having. However, be sure to include a complete example - if you only include a line or two, we may not have enough information to help you.
  • Include ALT attributes with images. If your code uses images for anything other than looks, include an ALT attribute with each image. This allows us to try your example even though we don't have the images it refers to.
  • Tell us about your code. Don't just post the code and ask why it doesn't work. Tell us what it was meant to do, what it is doing wrong, which browser you've tried it with, and what if any error messages are displayed.
  • Double-check your code. Test your code example and make sure it does what you're saying it does. Otherwise there's no point in us trying to fix it.
  • Don't ask us to debug someone else's code. If you got your script from a "free scripts" site, ask the people who wrote it for help. It's very difficult for us to analyze someone else's messy code and we'd rather focus on helping people learn JavaScript.

Book Questions

If your question involves one of the books this site supports, be sure to include the title and edition of the book and the chapter or listing number, if any, that your trouble relates to. There are many different editions of the various books and this helps us narrow down what you're talking about. Whenever possible, mention this information in the subject of your post - this allows me to give book questions priority, and allows others to quickly find the answer if they have a similar question.

Preview and Check Your Message

You can use the Preview button to look at your message before finally posting it. Double-check what you've written, especially the code sections, and make sure they'll make sense to us. If you post and then notice a mistake, you can edit your message with the Edit button or reply to the thread with a correction.

Be Patient

Don't expect an instant reply to your message. This isn't a real-time chat service, and most of us visit whenever we have a spare moment. If you still don't have an answer in a day or two, it usually means one of two things: nobody knows the answer or your message didn't make sense. Read the posting guidelines again and clarify your question if you can. Don't complain - you don't pay for this forum and you're not entitled to anything.

Follow Up

If you've solved the problem that you posted about - whether with our help or without - let us know with a reply to your original question. This lets us know whether our replies did you any good. It also helps those who read the thread later. If your problem wasn't solved, follow up and let us know too.

Replying to Questions

We appreciate those who answer questions here. Please follow these guidelines when replying:

  • Don't criticize. You can say 'the answer is simple' but don't say 'the question is stupid'. There are no stupid questions.
  • Don't post a new question. If you have a question that isn't related to the current thread's question, please start a new topic instead of replying.
  • Don't over-quote. You can use the Quote button to reply to a message and quote its contents. However, please trim the quotation to a few lines. Don't re-post the entire original question or the code.
  • Do refer to other threads. If the question is answered in another thread, a link to that thread is a sufficient answer. If you paste the URL of a thread into your message, it will automatically be hyperlinked when you post.
  • Do refer to other sites. If you know of another site that answers the question, post a link. It's often much easier than answering the question from scratch.

Enjoy the Forum

Thanks for reading this. Don't let all of these guidelines scare you - we're generally pretty forgiving. But following them will make everyone's life easier.

(c) 1997-2002 Starling Technologies and Michael Moncur. Portions (c) Sams Publishing.