Explaining your problem in an effective way in newsgroups!
Last updated: April 14th '01 | Best viewed with: All popular browsers | Best viewed at: 1024x768 | Links to external sites will open in a new window

About myself
My technical skills
My favorites
My picture album

Shortcut keys
My code library

VB resources
SQLServer resources
SQLServer books
Replication FAQ
Scripting resources
ASP resources

Search my site
Sign my guestbook
Contact information

SQL Server Articles New

See also:
How to access Microsoft newsgroups? Microsoft SQL Server newsgroup lingo!

When using newsgroups, it's very essential to post all the required information. It helps othres understand the problem clearly, reduces the number of posts between you and the answerer while tracking down the problem, ensures a quicker solution by saving your time as well as the answerer's time. I answer quite a good number of questions in the Microsoft newsgroups and SWYNK mailing lists. As an answerer I look for the following in your problem description:

Don't be vague! Explain your problem clearly. Just don't say "It's not working". Tell us what you are expecting and what's the result you got.
Provide error message! Don't just say, "When I do this, I get an error". Tell us what the exact error message is. Give us the error number. If the error message is long, and it's not avilable in a copy-pastable form, capture the screen shot and post it to the group (if it's small) or upload it to some site from where we can download it.
Provide version numbers! It really helps, because some things work differently between different versions of the same product. Don't let us keep guessing. If relevant, provide the version of MDAC as well.
Provide service pack information! Tell us what's the service pack you have installed on your SQL Server (or any other software for that matter). Don't know which service pack is instalelled on your SQL Server? Check out this page.
Provide a reproduction (repro) scenario! So that we can reproduce your problem at our end and see it for ourselves. It's real easy to trobleshoot the problem on our own SQL Server if we could reproduce it. So what is it that is need to reproduce problems at our end? A simplified version of your problem.
  • The table creation script, including any primary key, other constraints (if relavent). You could generate a table creating script from the enterprise manager of SQL Server. Want to generate table creating script from Query Analyzer? Then try my code!
  • Post sample data using which the problem can be reproduced. When I say sample data, I'm looking for the INSERT statements, that can be run to populate the table we create using your table creation script. If it's a small table, then it's real easy to quickly type in those INSERT statements. Got a huge table? Writing INSERT statements for that is boring? Then try my stored procedure which generates INSERT statements from your data.
  • Post your queries or stored procedure scripts that are causing the problem.
  • Let us know if you have turned on any settings (away from default) at the server, database or connection level.
Don't forget error log and event log! The error logs often contain some valuable informtion which is essential for troubleshooting. So, before posting your problem, check out the error log and see if there is anything relavant in there. If so, include it in your post. Don't have access to error log? Don't worry. You can read error log from Query Analyzer using sp_readerrorlog. Check out the event log also for any error messages, warnings, alerts!
Operating system information: Don't forget to mention on which OS, edition are you running your SQL Server!
Hardware configuration: Tell us a little about your SQL Server computer's hardware configuration if applicable. Like number of processors, amount of RAM, RAID information
Finally, if you need help with accessing Microsoft newsgroups, click here to learn more!