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Frequently Asked Questions

How to ask a question

Please follow these guidelines when posting questions as submitting clear and concise questions allows those reading to understand your problem and respond more easily.
  • Post your question in a relevant forum
  • Make sure you are not posting in an Insights section
  • Homework / Class Assignment questions are NOT supported on bytes and will be deleted
  • Give the relevant Platform, OS and Version information
    • In the C/C++ forum this might be Intel/Windows/MSVC++ 6.0 or StrongArm/ThreadX/Greenhills C/C++
    • In Access it might just be the version of Access you are using 97, 2003 etc.
  • Give as much detail as possible When you post a question or problem, express the situation clearly and concisely and include all relevant information, code used, data used, result expected, result achieved and any error codes or messages that you get as a result.
  • Use Clear English to write your question in if possible, try to avoid using abbreviations
  • Do not make duplicate posts or bump your thread to get attention.
  • Do not use leet speak or text speak, they are not Clear English
  • Make use of the available formatting tags in the forum Use CODE tags around your code unless you are posting a single line of code in which case it is acceptable to omit them:
    • [code]..code goes here..[/code]
    • NOTE: You can also use the icon with '#' on the reply window.
  • Do not ask people to reply by email or follow up answers with a PM
  • Please don't say that a problem is urgent if it's not. If your problem is time sensitive, please give specific time frames e.g. In 3 days, within 24 hours.
  • Please try to read your own post after you've posted it. If you can't make any sense of it, it's a fair bet that our experts will struggle and waste time just trying to understand what you're trying to say. Also, if you get bored when you're half-way through reading it because it rambles on endlessly, how will our experts fare?
  • If you wish to post a question do not post it in a discussion created by someone else unless it is about exactly the same problem. Please start a new discussion.

How to Respond to a Question

When you are posting a response please try to following these guidelines

  • Be patient with learners. Remember we are all learning one thing or another.
  • Always try to assist the original poster (OP) in solving their problems in such a manner that they also benefit and learn from the exercise.
  • Do not hesitate to point out better methods or technologies (if available) than the ones being used by the OP.
  • Do not offer programming help through emails or private messages. Help offered on the forum is better because it benefits everyone else facing similar problems.
  • Always post code inside the appropriate [code] tags. You can use the # icon button on the reply window.
  • If you see a problem with a question or anywhere in a thread do not post in the thread about it. Simply 'report' the post/thread and a moderator will handle it.

Posting Complete Solutions

When a person asks for help, they want help in understanding the problem. Posting the completed program code without explaining concepts or useful tools does not help that person learn and, thus, violates the first and second guideline above.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't try and write the solution yourself. You will be better equipped to help someone and help them understand the ideas if you have a thorough understanding of the problem and solution yourself and solving the problem yourself is an excellent way of doing gaining that understanding. Just don't give them the answer - help them to discover the answer on their own, they just may come up with a better answer that you hadn’t though of.

Things that are generally unacceptable

  • Posting in a language other than English. This is a multinational forum and as such uses English as its language as it is the international language of business.
  • Posting homework / class assignment questions.
  • Bad/foul language and swearing.
  • Posting duplicate questions.
  • Bumping your thread by posting a reply to move it up the list.
  • Posting your own or anyone else’s email address (this is for your own security)
  • Posting links to a site that contains inappropriate content or content that would break the posting guidelines if posted directly on Bytes.com, specifically but not limited to bad/foul language or sexually explicit sites.
  • Putting your entire post in bold and/or italic. These are meant for placing emphasis on specific bits of your post not the entire message.
  • Using capital letters for your entire post. Use of capitals is generally considered to be shouting and therefore rather rude.
  • Posts containing any information or questions on how to hack or crack or produce code with some other malicious intent. Note however that security topics whose intent is generally not malicious but rather is discussing methods of improving security are allowed.
  • Posting an attachment that contains binary code (raw or zipped) of any nature. There is no need to post or attach anything other than source code which should generally be text
  • Posts whose content is religious in nature
  • Posts whose content is political in nature
  • Posting Spam (see "What is Spam?")
  • Flooding any forum (see "What is Flooding?")

Using links in posts

Bytes does not allow advertising/spam links in any of it's posts. Any posts deemed to be spam will be deleted.

In addition Moderators can remove links from posts at their discretion if they believe the links come under the following guidelines.

  • The site linked to is more commercial than technical.
  • The site is in direct competition with Bytes.com
  • The link is felt to be not relevant to the post.
Bytes.com understands that linking to product sites for software or technologies is sometimes necessary. It is also acceptable to link to a webpage you are designing if it's necessary to get an answer to your query. In general Bytes.com will try to accommodate the needs of posters to use links but reserves the right to remove any links it deems unacceptable.

Use a Good Thread Title

Using a good, clear thread title is important. The reasons for this are:
  • We want this site to grow, many of our new members find the site using a search engine, by using a good thread title you will help us grow the site by helping us get better search engine rankings.
  • Using a good title will benefit you too because other members of the forum will be less likely to skip over your thread and it allows the experts to quickly scan through the forum for questions they know the answer to.
  • If the threads are well titled it allows other users to easily see if there have been any threads that could be relevant to their own current problem.
  • It is in everybody's best interests to post properly titled threads as the more time the moderators have to spend on managing titles the less time they have available to give answers to the questions posed.
What makes a good Thread Title.
  • A good thread title gives a summary of what the problem is.
  • It should describe the problem in a few words and be meaningful and as unique as possible.
  • The title should be in clear English if possible with an emphasis on spelling keywords correctly.
  • The title can then be reiterated in the first post with extra detail added.
What you should avoid putting in a Thread Title

This is a list of words and phases that you should avoid putting in a thread title. This is mainly because they give no indication of what the actual problem is. There is no reason why you shouldn’t use any of these in the body of the threads first post.

  • Help
  • Please Help
  • Help with …
  • Problem
  • Got a problem
  • Your user name
  • Please
  • Assignment
  • Home Work
  • Course Work
  • Only the forum or language name e.g. “c language” in the C/C++ forum

How to format your Articles and Posts

BB code is a special set of codes similar to HTML that can be used in posts to the board. To see the full list of BB code tags that can be used on this site and examples of their use, click here.

Do NOT PM questions to individual Experts, Moderators or Administrators.

This is not fair on them and we instruct our experts to ignore any such PMs completely, there are also some very good reasons why it is not a good idea:

  • You have no guarantee that the expert you have PM'd knows anything about the subject you are asking about.
  • You have no guarantee that the expert in question hasn't just gone on holiday for 4 weeks to Hawaii resulting in a delay to the answer to your question.
  • If you post the question in the forums then everyone gets to see it. This means that there is a far higher chance that someone who already knows the answer will see the question than if you just ask 1 person.
  • It's good to spread questions and knowledge. Remember if you have a question then it is likely that someone else in the world has a very similar question. By asking your question in the open forum and getting a reply there the information is available for everyone to read and learn from.

Posting Homework or Coursework Questions and Answers

Any and all Homework/Coursework questions will be deleted. If you see a question that is a homework or coursework assignment then please remember DO NOT attempt to post a reply. Replies to this thread will be deleted along with the original post. Please 'report' the thread.

Do Not Double Post Your Questions

Double posting is where you start a thread on a topic and then for some reason start another thread on exactly the same topic in the same forum. Please do not do this because
  1. It makes it very hard for people to answer you especially if there are answers happening in all the threads you have started because they have to read 2 or more threads in order to see what has already been said.
  2. It swamps the forum with your problem resulting in less attention for the other threads.
Also it is not acceptable to post a reply to your own thread for the sole purpose of moving it up the list. This is known as bumping and is not acceptable.

Once Your Question Has Been Answered

When you have gotten your answer please mark the appropriate post with the 'choose as best answer button'. This makes it easier for the next person to find the solution.

While you are in the forum

While you're in a forum posting a question, why not scan a few of the other questions - you may be surprised at how often you'll know an answer, and that is what makes a forum like this. You're welcome to participate in any discussions and even if your suggestion doesn't work you'll still learn something when you discover why.

It's astonishing how often you'll learn something from a complete beginner, often just because our experts are inclined to look for complicated answers sometimes. Also most "experts" learned a lot of their knowledge from forums just like this one.

Take the time to search the forum for key words relating to your problem.

Take the time to search the forum for key words relating to your problem. Your answer might already be provided.

Recommending a book

Recommending good books to each other is valid and useful thing to do. However when you want to do this please post the book's details

  • Title
  • Author
  • ISBN
in the text of your post.

Please do not post a link to a place where the book is sold, this will be considered spam and treated accordingly (the link/post will be removed, your account may be banned).

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