Friday, June 17, 2005

Asking For Help

There are a lot of people who know Oracle. It makes sense to leverage their abilities when you're stuck. Why re-invent the wheel?

First of all, often answers are easy to come by yourself. For example, here is Jeff Hunter's suggestions on where to find answers:

If you want to reach a large body of Oracle professionals, the best approach is to post it to a popular newsgroup or forum. Here are a few of my favourites.

Oracle Technology Network:


Dizwell Forum:

It is tempting to contact certain professionals directly. After all, there are several of them that spend seemingly hours answering questions in these forums, and putting together web pages to assist fellow Oracle professionals.

But be aware that some of them do not have the time (or sometimes the interest) in answering questions, like Mark Rittman or Duncan Mills.

And be aware that those that do like to receive questions may have a specific method of submitting them, such as Tom Kyte and Steven Feuerstein:

If you do ask someone a question, it sounds like these are the ground rules to follow:

1. Don't even bother submitting urgent questions with time deadlines.
2. Even if English isn't your first language, try to make the question as clear as possible.
3. Try to keep the question brief, but ...
4. Try to provide all necessary information, including examples and error messages
5. Don't ask questions that are obviously school assignments
6. Include "why" you are doing something.

But the most important thing is:

Always try to find the answer yourself first!

Loosely Related:


I hope I didn't come across as some grumpy old bugger!

I guess what I was trying to say was that I will actually try and answer many of the questions that come through (with the likelyhood being in direct relation to how interesting the question is), but sometimes it's clear that either the person asking the question is a bit mad, is being a bit lazy in not reading the docs first, or is being a bit unrealistic in terms of how much time I can spend answering questions.


This link is related to Linux forums, and pretty harsh, but a great guide on asking for help:
I hadn't noticed that Tom Kyte had written an excellent article on this weeks ago. Obviously "Ask Tom" knows a lot about how to ask! Check it out:
Lisa Dobson has written a blog on this recently. There are some great tips and links among the comments, too.
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