[CentOS-docs] FAQs

Sat May 17 23:29:35 UTC 2008
Ned Slider <ned at unixmail.co.uk>

Ned Slider wrote:
> Ned Slider wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> Akemi and I have recently been drafting a few posts for a new forum 
>> subsection (Readme First & FAQs) to aid new forums members in getting 
>> help.
> Apologies, for those that have no idea what I'm talking about because 
> they can't see it, I'll get a temp copy up on the Wiki in a bit :)

...and here's the second post, entitled "Readme First".


Welcome to CentOS, and the CentOS forums.

Before posting a question to these forums, we would ask that you take 
the time to read this post. Please also read the "Where to Find Answers" 

This information is provided to help you get answers to your questions 
more quickly. Everyone who provides answers are volunteers and their 
time is valuable. Following the guidelines below will help them make the 
best use of that time to aid as many as possible including, of course, you.

1. Post your question to the correct forum

This may seem obvious but please try to ensure you post your question to 
the correct forum and in the correct section (eg, for CentOS 3, 4 or 5 
etc). If you are unsure in which forum your question belongs, please do 
*NOT* double post in multiple forums. Most of us read ALL the forums so 
we will see your question. Double posting will result in 1) you being 
asked not to double post as opposed to being provided with an answer and 
2) multiples posts being removed by a moderator.

2. Use a descriptive title for your thread

Firstly, post your own thread - *do not hijack someone else's thread*, 
even if you think your question is related. You may post a link to any 
related threads that you feel are appropriate.

Use a descriptive title for your thread. This is your one chance to 
advertise what it is you require help with and persuade people to 
actually read and potentially answer your question. Do not SHOUT and 
your question is *not* urgent (at least not to anyone else). Please do 
not use txt speak or exclamation marks (!!!!).

Bad example:

Urgent: pls hlp, can't get it to work!!!!!!

This tells us nothing other than it's urgent to you and that something 
isn't working. It is unlikely to even attract views, let alone answers. 
If you can't get your title right, what hope do we have that you've 
actually asked a coherent question in such a way that we may be able to 

Better example:

Installed CentOS 5, need help getting GUI to automatically start (Nvidia 
GF4 MX 440).

Now we know what you've done and those who have dealt with Nvidia cards 
will know that it's an issue where they can possibly help. (This also 
holds for other hardware such as wireless and other ethernet cards. 
Someone might ignore a subject of Wireless doesn't work but answer a 
post of Atheros AR5007EG card not working if they've had experience 
dealing with that particular card.)

3. Composing your question

Again, do not SHOUT and your question is *not* urgent (at least not to 
anyone else). Please do not use txt speak and no excessive exclamation 
marks. Do use good spelling, grammar and punctuation, and split your 
post up as appropriate into separate paragraphs. We acknowledge that 
although English is the preferred language of the forums, it is not 
everyone's first or native language. You do not need to apologize if 
English is not your native language, just do the best that you can to 
clearly and concisely describe your problem.

Before posting your question, first think about what your question is. 
If you don't know what your question is and how to articulate it, it is 
highly unlikely anyone else will be able to provide a reply. We don't 
have crystal balls & we can't read minds and make sure you actually ask 
a question.

Bad example:

Q: My nic doesn't work!
A: That's a shame, but thank you for sharing it with us. Did you have a 

Better example:

Q: My nic isn't detected after a default installation of CentOS 5. 
Please could anyone assist me in getting it working?

Don't ask questions that can be answered with yes or no, unless you want 
a yes or no answer, as that's what you'll most likely get.

Bad example:

Q: I can't get Foo to work. Has anyone else managed to get this working?
A: Yes.

4. Ask realistic questions

Saying you're totally new to Linux and asking how to set up a domain 
server to authenticate users, provide roaming profiles, file sharing and 
email services with spam and virus filtering to replace your current 
server provided by some other company demonstrates totally unrealistic 
expectations on your behalf. No one is going to be able to help you, as 
this is likely to be a long term project and not something you are going 
to achieve over the weekend by asking a couple of questions on a forum.

5. Provide the relevant information

Research your question or problem. You may find an answer is already 
provided. Demonstrating that you have researched your question by 
describing what you have previously done to try to resolve your problem 
is more likely to persuade a volunteer to help you than if you sit back 
and expect the answer to land on your plate.

Provide as much useful information as possible to assist others in 
helping you solve your problem. We don't know what hardware/software you 
are running, or how you have configured your system unless you tell us. 
We also can not guess at what error message you may have received.

If you have a hardware-related problem, please provide information about 
your hardware. We can not help answer questions like "help, my nic isn't 
working" without knowing what nic you have and what attempts you have 
made to configure it.

Use commands such as lspci, lsmod, lsusb or dmidecode to gather 
information about your hardware and provide that in your post.

If you have a software-related question, please provide as much relevant 
information about your configuration as possible. Provide the version 
numbers of any software you are using, post the configuration file for 
the package you are having problems with and check your logs for 
relevant errors, and post these too (only the relevant errors please, 
not the whole log file).

If your question relates in any way to the kernel, please show us what 
kernel(s) you have installed and running by providing the output from 
the following commands:

uname -a
rpm -qa kernel\* | sort

This will help to speed up the process of getting your problem resolved 
and is likely the first information you will be asked for if you haven't 
provided it.

6. What to do if no one answers

Please wait for at least 24 hours. The volunteers on this forum live all 
over the world. If it's day time where you live, it's going to be night 
time somewhere else and the person able to answer your question may be 
sleeping, so give everyone a chance to read your question.

If after 24 hours you haven't received any answers, then you may bump 
your thread by posting more information. By more information, we mean 
what you have tried during the last 24 hours to fix the problem. You 
have been trying to fix your problem, haven't you and not just waiting 
for someone else to fix it for you?

7. What to do once you have an answer

It would be nice to thank the member(s) who helped you. We are all the 
more inclined to help those who take the time to acknowledge the help 
they have received.

Provide feedback as to what the solution was. This will help the next 
person with the same problem to identify the solution and so share this 
knowledge with others.

Congratulations, now you have an answer to your problem, you have gained 
some valuable knowledge that, hopefully, you'll be willing to share when 
another Community member asks a similar question. Before you know it, 
you will be one of the people answering some of the questions, not just 
asking them. This is how a community works, by giving a little back 
occasionally. So once you have an answer we hope you'll stay around and 
become part of the Community.