I find it both amusing and frustrating how people ask questions on the various forums I look at online. Often times the questions lack significant details necessary to solve the problem, or the topic of the question can easily be copied and pasted into Google and you will get hundreds to thousands of results that answer the question immediately. Many articles have been written on the subject of how to ask an appropriate question to get a better answer.
- Arnie Rowland wrote one for the MSDN forums last year that is on the SQL Examples Wiki Site titled How can I Prepare My Question to Increase the Possibility of Getting a Good Solution?
- Jeff Moden wrote one on the SQL Server Central Site titled Forum Etiquette: How to post data/code on a forum to get the best help.
- Jeff Smith wrote one on SQL Team titled Need an Answer? Actually, No ... You Need a Question.
Since these references already exist, I am not going to rehash the information contained in them here. Instead I am going to cover a topic not included in them, and that is how you address your post for people reading/responding to it.
Why, you might ask, would I cover this, and I have good reason. While answering posts on the MSDN Forums in the last year, I have noted a number of times where people have made posts with statements like:
"If you are not a Microsoft Employee don't bother replying to this post."
or more recently on this post:
"I would like MVP or product engineer level confirmation that my ordering assumption is correct."
While this might seem like an acceptable request, to someone who works the forums and knows a good bit of information about SQL Server, this could seem like an arrogant statement. I know in the past, prior to being an MVP, I answered more than a few of these posts. Posing your question like this doesn't help you get a better answer. In fact, it will actually turn people who might otherwise have the right answer away from your post simply because your question makes it seem like you aren't interested in what they have to say, or what they might know.
If you are posing a question online asking for assistance with a problem, first, make sure that you ask a real question, and that you provide the information needed to provide an answer. Second don't try and limit your post to a specific target or audience. If you demand a MSFT response, open a CSS case for your problem, since this is the appropriate method of guaranteeing a MSFT response to your problem. Keep in mind that non-MVP, non-MSFT, non-Moderator members can provide as good a response as a MVP, MSFT, Moderator in many cases.