Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Using the AutoIt forums

The forums are a great resource if you use them properly and that includes paying attention and not annoying respondents.

  • Make multiple threads about the same problem.  Stick to one thread and if a new problem, albeit the same project, arises then open a new thread for that problem.  We don't have the time nor the inclination to be following multi-posts all over the place only to find that a solution was already provided in one of your previous threads.
  • Get obnoxious with people when you are asking for help with a third party application.  After all we can hardly be expected to install some garbage software just for the sake of answering one of your questions.
  • Make posts with titles like "Help" or "Simple Problem".  Be sure that the Title and sub-title give some indication of what you need help with.  Again, we all have our own lives and most of us will usually only check those posts with an adequate description.
  • Waste our time by not giving us enough details about what you expect the end result to be.
  • Above all else, do not engage in arguments with people.  That can only result in a bad ending for someone, usually you.
  • Post malicious code or code that will violate a TOS agreement.  That is bound to get you banned from the forums.
  • Bump your thread unless at least 24 hours has elapsed. See Question number 7 in Let's Get Started. Remember that your code is generally not important to anyone except you and you will only annoy people by bumping posts too soon or too often.
  • Provide us with enough code to replicate the issue you are having.
  • Provide adequate details about the problem.  "This doesn't work [some code block]" doesn't cut it.  We need to know what you expected it to do and what end result you require.
  • Display to us that you have made adequate attempts at resolving the issue yourself, for example by reading the help file.
  • Use Code blocks when posting code.  Just click the icon that looks like <> and place your code between the [code] and [/code].  That makes for much easier reading.
  • If you are reading a file in the source and the issue or questin regards that file then provide is with some actual lines from the file.  If you can't fit it into a code block then post it as an attachment.  The actual contents of that file can be critical, particularly if the solution requires StringRegExp().
  • If possible, give us some indication of your experience so we can determine how deeply we have to go with the reply.
  • Be courteous at all times.  You will be treated the way you treat others.
  • Remember that people in the forums are not your personal slaves and in fact are there strictly as volunteers.  If someone posts a quick reply to your question and end up with "I'm too busy to do more at this time but I will check back" then respect the fact that they have their own work or personal agenda to get through and that obviously precludes spending more time on your problem at that moment.
  • If the English language poses a problem then ask for links to forums in your native tongue.  If none exist then post your question in your native tongue but be prepared for a delay until someone comes along who can either answer or translate the post.
If you have an issue with Valik, keep it to yourself.  It will be less painful that way and besides anything you need to know about him is covered in the help file.  Of course you have studied the help file thoroughly.  If you have not bothered to read it then don't bother posting at all because you won't get any sympathy and without that help file you are in water that is way over your head so just quit while you are still just a bit behind.  If you have an issue with any experienced members besides Valik, keep it to yourself because we don't need the whining.  If your problem is with Jon, good luck.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Yikes April 1st is almost here.

Oh darn!! (in keeping with my attempt at using only acceptable language.) I just realized that Thursday is thread locking day.  Every April 1st the weirdos come out of the woodwork with code that is intended as practical jokes and we get many locked threads and threads with code removed.  I suspect this year will be no different.  If you had any inclination towards posting any of that garbage, please feel free to re-consider your thinking.  To much of that code can be easily propegated

I would have to check but I'm thinking that every April 1st is probably the day of each year that has the highest number of locked threads.  That is threads created by several individuals.  We have seen days with many locked threads but in most cases those threads are created by one person and it's most likely that said persons are no longer welcome in the forums.

Lets get started

Alright already!! Just hang on, I'm getting around to adding some content for you to admire (or not).

If you have to ask the question "What is AutoIt?", you are on the wrong blog and probably in over your head already.

Let's start with a few of the AutoIt forums most asked questions and I'll attemp to keep the language suitable.

Q #1 - Is Valik an arsehole?
A - Yes! And that's by his own admission.

Q #2 - What made him that way?
A - Primarily people who ask idiotic questions in the forums without making any attempt what-so-ever to open the help file and find the answers themselves or ask questions that are prominently displayed as "Sticky" topics.  He worked extremely hard and long to get where he is today with his coding skills and rightfully expects others to expend some effort in learning how to write their own code.

Q #3 - Are there others in the forums that are like Valik?
A - Valik is one of a kind.  Now if you mean "Are there others with the same attitude as Valik?" then the answer to that is a resounding Yes, including myself .  What made us that way? Did you read the answer to Q #2?

Q #4 - What is the best way to learn AutoIt?
A - There are several excellent resources available and I'm going give you links to some of them but please remember that your most important resource is the AutoIt help file itself.  Take the time to study it before you end up with a taste of Q #1 and Q #3. Now for those links I promised.
Q #5 - Why can't I ask questions about a bot that breaks a TOS for the game?
A - We (as a community) have fought long and hard to keep the reputation of AutoIt "clean".  We don't want any individual or group destroying that for the rest.  If AutoIt gets a bad reputation with game sites, anti-virus companies and the like, we end up with all kinds of things happening including (but not limited to) having anti-virus companies flagging AutoIt on general principal.  That is not fair to the rest who are attempting to write serious code.  If you engage in such practices then leave AutoIt out of it, you will not be welcome on the forums and we would appreciate it very much if you just quietly went away.  Of course the moderators have an alternative if you decide to stick around and make life miserable for the rest of us.

Q #6 - I asked for someone to write me some code and the only answers I received were insulting. Why?
A - The AutoIt community as a whole is not there to write your code for you.  We are there to help you diagnose and solve problems you may run into with the code you have written.

Q #7 - Why shouldn't  I "bump" my post for 24 hours?
A -  Really there are multiple answers to this one, including because it gets annoying, but I'll stick to the primary ones here;
  • Not everyone on the forums is in the same time-zone as you so those with the appropriate answers may not have even seen the question in less than 24 hours.
  • We answer proper questions when (and if) our own schedules permit.  Remember that the only person that really cares about your code is you.  As for the rest of us, we could usually care less about it but we will help you.  Just make sure you give us something to work with, like some code that you tried and can't get to work.
Q #8 - How do I take some of your comments in the forums?
A - The general rule is with a grain of salt.  I love injecting a bit of humor whenever possible but (unlike most) I abhor the use of smilies to let someone know when I'm kidding.  Once you have been around long enough you will learn to figure it out.

Okay, that's already more than what I was going to include in the first post but you can look forward to much more later.  Well alright, just one more question.

Q - When will I see some more of this invaluable information?
A - When I feel like posting it so don't bug me.