28 Replies Latest reply on Jan 8, 2009 3:28 PM by the_wine_snob

    If you ask a question, do it effectively.

    Harm Millaard Level 7
      Whenever you have a question that you would like answered, do pose that question effectively.

      First, do not assume that because you have tried many, many times that your question is understood by someone else. What is obvious to you may not be for another. So please state in a very detailed and structured way what steps you have taken to cause your problem, how you can replicate this problem, under what circumstances on what hardware/software.

      The fact that you have nearly given up because of your problem does not mean that someone else can readily understand this problem. When you go to your doctor and say: "I have a pain in my stomach" he will ask you a lot of questions. Same applies here. Your doctor may need to know about any medication you have taken, your blood pressure, history, etc. If you want help, be as
      b PRECISE and ACCURATE
      as possible.

      Second, this is a
      b USER TO USER
      forum. So ranting will not help. What may help is a
      b STRUCTURED
      approach to describing the problem you have.

      Third, do a thorough search of posts here, on other fora and with Google before repeating what has been asked a thousand times and has worn out the patience of regulars here, who have answered your question a dozen times already. Use the FAQ and the Wiki to find answers to questions that have been posed and answered repeatedly. Do not assume you are unique with your problem. Well, you are unique, the problem you have most likely is not.

      Fourth, realize that even though it may be highly frustrating to you to not be able to solve YOUR problem, by posting your question here, you are dependent on fellow editors to help you on their free time without compensation, so bear with them to help identify what EXACTLY is your problem. If you lack that decency, you may forfeit their help, so why did you come here?

      Fifth, consider your work flow in light of the purpose of Premiere, an editing package. If you have problems with rotoscoping, programming with APL, spreadsheets in general, word processing on a mobile phone, importing Panda bears into a local zoo, feeding nearly distinct whales in the Alps, or anything far removed from the purpose of PP, you may be better off in posting your question elsewhere.

      Last:

      b Everybody has to learn, has the right to ask questions and be helped.

      If everybody has the decency to pose their urgent, life threatening or other questions in a detailed, structured and comprehensible way, it will vastly improve the chances of speedy and helpful replies, without the need for sarcasm, bundles of to-and-fro posts without meaningful help, just wasting bandwidth.

      I know I have been rightly accused of such behavior, which was the result of sheer frustration with absolutely meaningless and often pointless questions without details, structure and the like. Maybe this can be a general guideline for posters on how to ask questions, in addition to Eddie's links and How to ask questions the smart way
        • 1. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
          Level 1
          Harm_Millaard@adobeforums.com wrote:

          Fair enough. Care to take the next step and describe your guidelines for
          asking effective questions?
          • 2. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
            Harm Millaard Level 7
            Something went completely wrong. The message was never posted, so I'll try again. (Could it be that the content was just not worth saving?)

            Whenever you have a question that you would like answered, do pose that question effectively.

            First, do not assume that because you have tried many, many times that your question is understood by someone else. What is obvious to you may not be for another. So please state in a very detailed and structured way what steps you have taken to cause your problem, how you can replicate this problem, under what circumstances on what hardware/software.

            The fact that you have nearly given up because of your problem does not mean that someone else can readily understand this problem. When you go to your doctor and say: "I have a pain in my stomach" he will ask you a lot of questions. Same applies here. Your doctor may need to know about any medication you have taken, your blood pressure, history, etc. If you want help, be as
            b PRECISE and ACCURATE
            as possible.

            Second, this is a
            b USER TO USER
            forum. So ranting will not help. What may help is a
            b STRUCTURED
            approach to describing the problem you have.

            Third, do a thorough search of posts here, on other fora and with Google before repeating what has been asked a thousand times and has worn out the patience of regulars here, who have answered your question a dozen times already. Use the FAQ and the Wiki to find answers to questions that have been posed and answered repeatedly. Do not assume you are unique with your problem. Well, you are unique, the problem you have most likely is not.

            Fourth, realize that even though it may be highly frustrating to you to not be able to solve YOUR problem, by posting your question here, you are dependent on fellow editors to help you on their free time without compensation, so bear with them to help identify what EXACTLY is your problem. If you lack that decency, you may forfeit their help, so why did you come here?

            Fifth, consider your work flow in light of the purpose of Premiere, an editing package. If you have problems with rotoscoping, programming with APL, spreadsheets in general, word processing on a mobile phone, importing Panda bears into a local zoo, feeding nearly distinct whales in the Alps, or anything far removed from the purpose of PP, you may be better off in posting your question elsewhere.

            Last:

            b Everybody has to learn, has the right to ask questions and be helped.

            If everybody has the decency to pose their urgent, life threatening or other questions in a detailed, structured and comprehensible way, it will vastly improve the chances of speedy and helpful replies, without the need for sarcasm, bundles of to-and-fro posts without meaningful help, just wasting bandwidth.

            I know I have been rightly accused of such behavior, which was the result of sheer frustration with absolutely meaningless and often pointless questions without details, structure and the like. Maybe this can be a general guideline for posters on how to ask questions, in addition to Eddie's links and How to ask questions the smart way
            • 3. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
              Level 1
              Harm_Millaard@adobeforums.com wrote:
              > Something went completely wrong. The message was never posted, so
              > I'll try again. (Could it be that the content was just not worth
              > saving?)
              >
              > Whenever you have a question that you would like answered, do pose
              > that question effectively.
              >
              > First, do not assume that because you have tried many, many times
              > that your question is understood by someone else. What is obvious to
              > you may not be for another. So please state in a very detailed and
              > structured way what steps you have taken to cause your problem, how
              > you can replicate this problem, under what circumstances on what
              > hardware/software.
              >
              > The fact that you have nearly given up because of your problem does
              > not mean that someone else can readily understand this problem. When
              > you go to your doctor and say: "I have a pain in my stomach" he will
              > ask you a lot of questions. Same applies here. Your doctor may need
              > to know about any medication you have taken, your blood pressure,
              > history, etc. If you want help, be as PRECISE and ACCURATE as
              > possible.
              >
              > Second, this is a USER TO USER forum. So ranting will not help. What
              > may help is a STRUCTURED approach to describing the problem you have.
              >
              >
              > Third, do a thorough search of posts here, on other fora and with
              > Google before repeating what has been asked a thousand times and has
              > worn out the patience of regulars here, who have answered your
              > question a dozen times already. Use the FAQ and the Wiki to find
              > answers to questions that have been posed and answered repeatedly. Do
              > not assume you are unique with your problem. Well, you are unique,
              > the problem you have most likely is not.
              >
              > Fourth, realize that even though it may be highly frustrating to you
              > to not be able to solve YOUR problem, by posting your question here,
              > you are dependent on fellow editors to help you on their free time
              > without compensation, so bear with them to help identify what EXACTLY
              > is your problem. If you lack that decency, you may forfeit their
              > help, so why did you come here?
              >
              > Fifth, consider your work flow in light of the purpose of Premiere,
              > an editing package. If you have problems with rotoscoping,
              > programming with APL, spreadsheets in general, word processing on a
              > mobile phone, importing Panda bears into a local zoo, feeding nearly
              > distinct whales in the Alps, or anything far removed from the purpose
              > of PP, you may be better off in posting your question elsewhere.
              >

              Good post. Knowing how to ask effective questions also goes along with
              knowing how to search for information. Both are too frequently done from
              far to generic a starting point, which cannot return useful information.

              I would also add one thing to your post. The Solution! I cannot tell you
              how many times I have stumbled across the the exact question or problem
              I was searching for in some forum or another only to find that half a
              dozen people suggested various fixes and that the thread trailed out
              without any report as to whether any method provided success.
              • 4. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                the_wine_snob Level 9
                Harm,

                I agree completely. I think that the addition of your guidelines as a large font stickey is a great one. I do think that it needs to be in neon, but that's another story.

                Raymond,

                While I strongly agree about first doing a search, that can sometimes be less than rewarding, unless one knows the correct terms to search on. Though I had a background in film, it took a good read of the manual, just to get the terms correct in the first place, as many things had changed over the decades. I still call the danged Transition, "Fade-to-Black."

                One of the best things about the forums is the willingness of others to help a suffering poster find the right terms for that search.

                I also agree that it is good manners and helpful to others later, to post back, whether something worked, or it did not.

                Hunt
                • 5. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                  Mortimer IOU Level 2
                  This link is posted at the top of each Prem forum

                  How to post a question to get help quickly

                  • 7. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                    Mortimer IOU Level 2
                    A link to Harm's posting advice

                    How to post a question to get help quickly



                    is at the top of each Prem forum.
                    • 8. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                      the_wine_snob Level 9
                      JerryK,

                      That was a great addition and thank you for adding the large font. Now, if only everyone would see it.

                      Recommended similar in another Adobe forum, and was laughed out of the room. Apparently, those folk love playing "20 Questions."

                      Can you add a flashing red outside glow?

                      Hunt
                      • 9. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                        Stan Jones Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                        Harm, you state the case very well for posting full information with a question.

                        > Recommended similar in another Adobe forum, and was laughed out of the room. Apparently, those folk love playing "20 Questions."

                        Bill, I think part of the problem is that some problems do lend themselves to educated guesses. (Jeff Belune's responses on "Upgrade to WindowBlinds x" always makes me laugh. Where did he dig that up? Who ever heard of windowblinds?) There are a variety of known issues, and it requires little information for the poster to get a complete response. I am sure that many such problems are solved by individuals who search the forums and the wikia and find just what they need. But some problems with easy solutions are harder to find because the OP does not know how to describe the problem.

                        Yes, there are lazy people, and people who are not very smart, and people who are very inexperienced, and yes, the more common problem is when someone asks a question who is not providing enough information for the particular problem. I like to see the forum err on the side of a polite request for information until it is clear that the poster is too arrogant to engage in meaningful dialogue.

                        In any event, thanks to Harm and others who have provided the information that explains what information to provide when thorough information is needed. And here's my first of the new year Thanks to Eddie for his efforts that make the wikia so helpful - it can't be said too much!
                        • 10. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                          the_wine_snob Level 9
                          Stanley,

                          I agree. Some requests are simple and complete rundown of every possible spec. is not needed for those. However, for some reason, posters seem loathe to give any details at all, even after repeated requests for specific data. I do not understand their reticence.

                          You are also correct that many do not understand exactly what they are asking for and the proper terminology to ask for it. These need to be handled on a case-by-case basis. It behoves those replying to help educate the poster with the proper terminology, so all can understand what is being requested clearly. I do my best to use the exact syntax, conventions and terminology, that appear in Premiere, or whichever program is being discussed. I still mess up, especially if going from memory and not opening up that program to see exactly how a feature, etc., is referred to. It isn't easy getting every term exactly right. There are also Effects and editing terms that sound similar, but are very different - which one is the poster really talking about?

                          Where Harm's list (and Eddie's links) come in handy is with the newer posters, who have no clue that a Project's preset, a source file's CODEC, or a computer's setup can make all the difference in the world. These usually go like this, OP: "got an AVI and no sound. What do I do?" Reply #1: "Give us more info please." OP: "like what?" Reply #2 "See How to Effectively Ask a Question." OP: "what info do you want? I didn't follow the link provided." Reply #3 "See the list of required information, so we can help you." OP: "You must think I'm dumb. All I want is help. If you can't help me, don't reply... "

                          Maybe by the 20th request for info, they either get it, and provide such, or they leave in disgust, cursing Adobe, and all of us, who are trying to help them.

                          The Premiere Elements forum is far worse, than here, which is understandable. Most users posting questions just got the software and have never used an NLE to begin with. They have even less of an understanding that there are so many variables to a problem. They do not know how to get the required info on their Project, their computers or their source material. I personally feel that a punch-list of what is required to successfully answer a question should almost be mandetory there. However, first the OP must see the punch-list and understand how to effectively use it.

                          The one thing that I will never understand it why so many posters will not provide the info, once it has been specifically requested. Both Harm's link and those posted by Eddie Lotter, are simple to follow. OK, we do not always need every blank filled in, but it is problem specific, and some posters feel that they are better off only offering the answer to one line, at a time, as though they have something to hide. It's pretty simple really, tell us about your Project and your source material. Go into great detail there, because all of it can be very important. Next, if there is any chance that the problem is equipment specific, tell us about your computer. We do not need the build # and the all of the patents of your OS, but knowing that you are using XP-64, or Vista-64 will possibly figure into the answer.

                          New posters with problems need to be welcomed and gently pointed to the links on how to effectively ask a question. Unfortunately, so seem to arrive with a veil of secrecy and a big chip on their shoulders to begin with. I understand their frustration, as they think that they should get results from the software instantly, and do not know that they might be at fault with their source files, or their computer's specs. They will rail against Adobe, tell us how tight their deadline is, mention that FCP never did this, but will not divulge that they are trying to edit footage from a cellphone camera, even after repeated attempts to get the proper info.

                          On initial reading of an OP's question, I can usually guess how the exchanges will go. Seldom am I wrong on this.

                          I understand the frustration and even the trepidation, that new posters feel. I was there. Though I read manuals many times, had a background in linear editing and a couple years with other NLE's, some of my basic questions, when I first hit, make me blush. Most often, the answers were in those manuals that I had re-read, but they didn't translate to me, or I misread/misunderstood the answer. Fortunately, Jim Simon, Harm Millaard and Eddie Lotter helped me out with each of these, and in a friendly way. Same for the folk in the Encore forum. They educated me in how to ask questions, so that answers would be forthcoming. When I arrive at a new forum, I always read the "Rules of the Road," the FAQ's and all that stuff at the top of the pages. Lotta' good info in those. Even with a deadline approaching, they should almost be required, before posting.

                          OK, I'll climb off my soapbox and get on with life. Still, thanks to Harm, Eddie, Jim and all of the rest for the efforts that you all expend and extend!

                          Hunt
                          • 11. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                            Level 1
                            Rather ironic that the first post was blank!

                            Happy New Year Harm!

                            ;)
                            • 12. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                              the_wine_snob Level 9
                              Yes, I thought the same thing. It was obviously one of those "Oh bugger!" moments, no doubt. However, I did feel Harm's pain. Stuff happens and servers all conspire against us all of the time.

                              Hunt
                              • 13. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                                Harm Millaard Level 7
                                Whether this was just my DUMB fault (I have posted here before as some of you know and have even complained about) or another sheer coincidence of non-replicable errors, that are so difficult to solve, I do not know. I know it never appeared as was intended. Maybe Jerry or another moderator can correct this, since it often looks like some people have difficulty in finding the
                                i Show All Messages
                                button and things may get confusing from that point on.
                                • 14. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                                  Mortimer IOU Level 2
                                  Not sure what you are asking, Harm. I did see where you wondered what happened to your original text when you opened this topic, but as far as I know that is either a random system glitch or, as you posited, a user error.

                                  On the Show all messages comment, there is a button near the top and bottom of each topic. Probably posters have as much trouble seeing it as they do the link to how to ask questions effectively. In any case, I'm not clear on what that has to do with your missing text.
                                  • 15. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                                    Harm Millaard Level 7
                                    Jerry, I simply meant bumping it up so even if Show All Messages is not clicked, you get to read the intended post, not the blank one.
                                    • 16. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                                      Jim_Simon Level 8
                                      I'd like to add one suggestion to Harm's guidelines.

                                      Briefly state the problem in the first sentence, and then provide all the required details. This way, readers can decide up front if this is a problem they feel they can help with. I find it a bit irksome to have to wade through three or four paragraphs of details just to find that it's a problem I can't really help with anyway.
                                      • 17. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                                        Jim_Simon Level 8
                                        One more suggestion.

                                        Use what you learned in school and post using proper spelling, capitalization and grammar. Internet shortcuts only show contempt for your readers by making things more difficult to read. You never know if someone who can actually help will skip you by because your post is sloppy.
                                        • 18. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                                          Dag Norum Level 2
                                          >Use what you learned in school and post using proper spelling, capitalization and grammar.

                                          Off kors, but it should be possible for people not native in English to do their mistakes. It is an international forum.
                                          >Internet shortcuts only show contempt for your readers by making things more difficult to read.

                                          I totally agree!
                                          (Even though I do remember I have used for example FYI, which actually shouldn't be done)

                                          Dag
                                          • 19. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                                            Mortimer IOU Level 2
                                            Harm --

                                            If the intended topic text, for whatever reason, is not there in the first place, clicking Show all messages will not retrieve it. All that button does is display all the subsequent posts numbered 1, 2, 3, etc., which may not immediately appear again after they are once read.

                                            But now I have copied the text in your post number 2 and put it in the topic panel where I presume you intended it in the first place. If there is any change to that text that you want, let me know.
                                            • 20. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                                              Harm Millaard Level 7
                                              Thanks Jerry, this was what I meant.
                                              • 21. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                                                Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                >It is an international forum.

                                                I kind of thought this was an English forum, with other language forums also set up. No?
                                                • 22. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                                                  Dag Norum Level 2
                                                  >other language forums also set up. No?

                                                  Quite right, but for sure not alle språk.

                                                  Dag

                                                  EDIT: "alle språk" means all languages (meaning all that exists)
                                                  • 23. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                                                    Harm Millaard Level 7
                                                    Not everybody has English as their native language. Even among the regulars, Dag and myself as examples. Well, Dag has a distinct advantage in being married to a US citizen, so English would be second nature to him.

                                                    We have to realize that English may be a global language, but is still hampered by illogical/incomprehensible constructions:

                                                    How can you drive on a parkway and park on a driveway, or to continue:

                                                    There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England nor French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. Quicksand works slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. Why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?

                                                    If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend. If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call the thing left? Is it an odd, or an end?

                                                    If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

                                                    How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

                                                    English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
                                                    • 24. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                                                      Dag Norum Level 2
                                                      And the good old:

                                                      http://anthologyoi.com/anthropology/linguistics/english-conundrums.html

                                                      Dag
                                                      • 25. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                                                        the_wine_snob Level 9
                                                        Dag,

                                                        I understand the problem all too well. I am from Mississippi, so English (as most often thought of) is a "second language" for me too.

                                                        JerryK,

                                                        I think that what Harm would like to have happen, is for you, if possible, were to copy the text from his later post, and put it into the blank portion of the initial post. This would help late arrivals to the thread know immediately what the topic was really about.

                                                        Harm,

                                                        The Adobe servers were acting up a bit over the last few days. I'd suspect that you just got nailed by a glitch there. Or maybe you just leaned on the keyboard at the worst possible time. I sometimes cannot help but hit the wrong mouse button. My MS mouse has six, but grows more, when I least expect it to...

                                                        Hunt
                                                        • 26. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                                                          Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                          >so English (as most often thought of) is a "second language" for me too.

                                                          i guess my main point was not to use the standard intertnet shotcuts of no capitasl bad spellng runon setnsnces do u c wt i mn?

                                                          That kind of nonsense is just rude and inconsiderate towards your readers.
                                                          • 27. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                                                            Dag Norum Level 2
                                                            >That kind of nonsense is just rude and inconsiderate towards your readers.

                                                            Again Jim, I totally agree! (you made your point well with that italic sentence).
                                                            >I understand the problem all too well.

                                                            Hunt, do you mean being married to a US citizen? :)
                                                            I can assure you that any kind of lady, from wherever, would cause the same problems, just as my wife thinks about men :)

                                                            Sorry, sorry, sorry, I'm way off topic again.

                                                            Dag

                                                            EDIT: Actually Hunt, you did point at a not so often mentioned subject. Even within the USA, you have dialects that are "way off" the "standard". But hey, that's nice! I've never liked conformity.
                                                            • 28. Re: If you ask a question, do it effectively.
                                                              the_wine_snob Level 9
                                                              Dag,

                                                              I'm married to one of those too! Since she's not from MS, English IS her first language... though she can read and write Mississippian now.

                                                              As for the type of wording (if it is wording), that Jim references, I read most of Eudora Welty, and she wrote in a heavy "Deep South" dialect for most of her work. That was easier to translate, than some of the "text message-speak" that I see all too often, nowadays.

                                                              OK, I got it partially back on-topic.

                                                              Hunt

                                                              [Edit] I see that JerryK, or some other kind soul DID correct the flow of this thread. Job well-done!!!!