Making the Most of your Forum Visits
Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
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Posted: 18 Aug 2004
If you're new to Novell Support Forums, or even if you're a frequent visitor and contributor, you may find these tips and guidelines on Novell Support Forums helpful. Enjoy, and see you soon in the forums!
|Posting Guidelines and Tips|
Here are some guidelines to make your forum sessions more productive and helpful:
- Post your message as a new topic, in the correct forum.
- Do not duplicate your message across forums. That not only causes more work for the volunteers, but it can cause the discussion to be disjointed.
- Post as much information about your configuration/setup as possible - information that may seem unimportant may actually help solve the problem. "Back- and-forth" messages take valuable time, so start off with the necessary details.
- If you are receiving an error message, post the complete message including any numeric indicators.
- Use the NNTP interface whenever possible - it's faster than the Web interface. The web interface is basically there for people who have port 119 blocked in their firewall and can't get to the forums any other way.
- Technical support via e-mail is NOT provided by the Volunteer SysOps nor by any Novell employee. Keep the discussions in the discussion groups so everyone can benefit from shared knowledge; private e-mail messages rob the group of this benefit.
- For your protection, do not publicly post product serial numbers, credit card numbers, CNE ID numbers, or any other private information.
- Novell has established a policy of non-discussion of where to obtain "hack" or "break in" products. This policy serves to reduce the likelihood of unscrupulous persons obtaining these products for the purpose of breaking into a network.
- Please don't use any profanity in your messages or make any personal attacks on another participant in the newsgroups or on the SysOps. The forums should be a friendly, helpful environment where everyone can participate without offense.
- Stay on topic and refrain from using our technical discussion groups as chat rooms with wandering topics.
|Vendor Participation in Forums|
Novell welcomes and encourages vendors to participate in discussions that may help customers resolve problems. A list of forum sponsors appears at the right of the Product Support Forums page. Product features may be discussed in response to an inquiry; however, to maintain a non-sales atmosphere of strictly support, we ask vendors to:
- Restrict postings to customer inquiries which may be directly resolved by your product.
- Specify vendor affiliation.
- Refrain from discussing pricing or purchase requirements. Instead, direct customers to contact the vendor via e-mail or phone.
Note: You can also find these Q&A entries at: http://support.novell.com/forums/faq_general.html
Q: What is the purpose of these news groups?
A: The message forums are the place to discuss and obtain technical support with regards to shipping, non-Beta Novell products. Feel free to ask questions, respond to any forum message that interests you, or tell all of us about your latest adventure with your Novell product. If you can assist a fellow user, feel free to jump into the conversation. Don't be shy. Even if you are not sure of your answer, the input from multiple sources gives the person asking the question options. This is not "official" support from Novell, but with so much experience and technical expertise among our community participants, this is a great place to get some good free advice.
Q: There are so many groups! Which ones should I subscribe to?
A: Newsgroups are catagorized by product or product group. Expand the newsgroup tree to find the lowest level group that fits your need and subscribe to it. If you use the NNTP interface, your news reader will handle multiple newsgroups and will also track read messages for you. Some news readers will actually track messages to you. Besides the product groups, we also have a newsflash forum (see below) and if you just want to talk with your peers, there's a General Chat forum.
Q: What information is needed when I post?
A: The more information the better. Post your configuration, hardware, any error messages, and anything else you can think of that would help someone troubleshoot your issue. It could save a few days in back-and-forth clarification questions.
Q: Is there a newsgroup to watch for announcements and general information?
A: The novell.support.newsflash forum will contain newsflash type of information concerning novell products and services. It will also contain information about the status of the newsgroups including any group changes or additions. This forum is read-only and can not be posted to by the general public.
Q: Does Novell monitor and/or reply in these news groups?
A: Novell personnel do not officially monitor these news groups though you might see a Novell person visiting here from time to time on their own. Novell relies on the volunteer Technical Support SysOps (System Operators) and you, as a participant, to share knowledge with other participants in the groups. The SysOps are experts in their field with years of real world experience. The SysOps also have direct connections to Novell's technical support to get some assistance if they need it so you are really getting the best of both worlds. This is not "official" support from Novell so if you wish to talk to a Novell representative or if your problem is urgent, call 1-800-858-4000 (US/Canada) or your Novell Regional Support Center.
Q: How long should I wait for an answer
A: SysOps are online daily. They do their best to catch as many unanswered questions in their area of expertise as time allows. However, sometimes neither a SysOp nor any other user will know the answer to your issue. Sometimes messages fall through the cracks. If you do not receive a reply to your message, you can try reposting it or using one of the other avenues for technical support. Be sure to check back frequently for any replies as the messages do expire from the news groups on a regular basis. Replies from SysOps are posted in the newsgroups only. No e-mail replies will be sent.
Q: Is it safe to use my email address in my postings?
A: Unfortunately, an open forum structure such as ours is available to the world and there are people out there who do mine email addresses from our forums and other such forums/newsgroups on the internet. An email address is an integral part of an NNTP header. Short of creating a closed system (which wouldn't be 100% effective) we can't prevent such data mining from our forums. However, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk. First, many forum users disguise their email address by putting in obvious deterrents to email address mining. For example: If my email address were firstname.lastname@example.org I could add characters which fool many email address mining bots. I could change my address to something similar to: freddy.DELETE.THIS.farkle.AND.THIS@novell.com. Of course, there is nothing to dictate you must use a real email address so if you prefer not to let your email address be known, you can use anything as long as it is in an email address format. Feel free to use email@example.com or even firstname.lastname@example.org! :-)
Q: I'm interested in becoming a SysOp. How do I apply?
A: Our SysOps are here because they love being here. If you respond to other user questions frequently and regularly, you will be noticed. Becoming a SysOp is by invitation only.
Q: I have found a problem with the news groups. Where do I report it?
A: Because of the fact that we are mere human beings, you may find mild to serious problems with the news group structure or operation. You may just have a great suggestion we could use to improve the look or functionality of our site. Use the feedback link in the footer of any Technical Support page to submit a message to our news server team.
Q: Do SysOps monitor all of the news groups?
A: Generally speaking, yes, SysOps monitor all of the groups. In groups set up for currently supported products, SysOps will try to answer your technical support questions. In the novell.community.* and the novell.support.discontinued.* groups, SysOps aren't tasked with answering questions, only monitoring the groups to ensure there are no serious problems.
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