How to increase the odds of getting a response to your thread

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svetz

Works in theory! Practice? That's something else
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Posted a question, but no one has responded... how can I get help?

Members typically don't respond to questions for a few reasons, avoiding those pitfalls can greatly increase the odds of getting a response.

Did you need to post a Question?
If a question is asked frequently readers may be burned out by it ... but the answer you need might be there just waiting for you to search the forums. You can also use fancier engines such as Google by making the engine site-specific (e.g., on Google add site=http://diysolarforum.com/ to the query).

Also, check the FAQ index. Even if it doesn't have the exact answer, you might learn enough about the math or vernacular to phrase a question so readers can respond more precisely.

Thread Titles
Members that regularly help people scan the titles in a sub-forum looking for threads where they have the knowledge to help. So, use a title that states the problem nature in as few words as possible, "How to get stuck bolt out of a Battery?", "What is Magnum Error code 112?", "Please review my Beer Brewery Solar schematic". Stay away from titles like "what do you think?", "Why oh why?", members pressed for time might just pass them by.

Sub-Forums
Post in the correct sub-forum. A wind question in the Solar Panels sub-forum probably might not get a response because the members into Wind might not be looking there. If you realize after the fact you've posted in the wrong sub-forum, use the REPORT button to report your thread and ask a moderator to move it.

Easy to Read
Make the post easy to read. Please use paragraphs. Posts containing many sentences without a break (walls of text) are difficult to read. Use headings to organize topics within the post. For brevity, isolate complex data as a numbered list of items rather than incorporate it into long hard-to-read sentences. Be concise, don't use all upper case, use complete sentences, and use English.

But English isn't my native language
Members are often intrigued by speaking to and learning about faraway places. But it can be frustrating. Write the post in your native language and append to the post the google translation.​
Colloquialisms are the bane of translators. Some are so common we don't even realize we're using them and translations are often very amusing in unintended ways. A common trick when corresponding in a foreign language is to use the translator to convert it, then copy/paste and convert it back. Iterate changing words until the message conveys what you really mean.​

Any diagrams should be easily readable. The site compresses images, so use links to high-res images or PDF attachments if possible.

It's okay to add length to a post to be social - members often enjoy reading about real-life experiences, why you're doing what you're doing, pictures of your DIY. But try not to embed questions and facts within that as many will skip over it.

Friendly
Members like to help people, but often shun those they see as rude or unkind. You've all probably seen how quickly threads can go off the rails when emotions come into play, don't be those guys. We're all human and have bad days, so if that has been you then a simple apology might be enough to unflip the bozo bit.

Most likely when this sort of misunderstanding happens it is a miscommunication where they just didn't understand what you were asking. You can self-test any post; there should never be any reference or innuendo about a member - the focus should be on the question/answer.

If it's something that sounds wrong/crazy, it might be - but don't tell them they're crazy and off their meds. Instead, succinctly repeat what you think you read and ask for clarification or a reference link... if something is bogus/wrong, usually other members will point it out.... but sometimes what we know to be true is also no longer correct - so please listen with an open mind and verify what you learn. Also, keep an open mind about follow-up questions. Even if you ruled it out, or think it's unrelated, it might help another member better understand the problem and provide better advice.

Report
If someone doesn't treat you with respect, then report the post rather than try to deal with it. Members trying to resolve the issue usually just cause the thread to derail further. That behavior is not tolerated on these forums and it will be resolved.
 
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svetz

Works in theory! Practice? That's something else
Joined
Sep 20, 2019
Messages
5,080
Location
Key Largo
What follows is a copy of a post from FilterGuy that succinctly explains what a lot of people do:

Sorry you did not get a response. There could be many reasons for that.... not the least of which is that there are sooo many new threads that it is easy for a new thread to get lost in the noise.

When it comes to joining a thread I had not been on before, it is almost always responding to something on the 'unanswered threads' list that catches my eye. There is no way I could or would answer them all.

So what catches my eye? It can be rather arbitrary, but these are some of the things that will be more likely to get a response:
  • Threads that I know something about and feel I can help with. (These are often newbie posts)
  • Threads with specific questions and enough info to answer.
  • Threads that essentially say "design the system for me" are unlikely to get a response from me.
  • Long drawn-out posts typically turn me off.
  • Threads with a new or unique problem will catch my eye.
  • Threads with topics that I want to learn more about.
  • A lot of posts are specific to a make and model of a piece of equipment. Unless I happen to know that unit, I am not likely to try to research it and answer the question.
  • I used to answer a lot of really basic "What is 1 + 1" questions that could have been answered by watching Will's videos or searching the forums. I still do that some, but far less than I used to.
  • I usually respond with a short welcome message to posts that are just saying "I am new to the forum and just want to say hi"
  • I don't have time or a desire to read all the new posts, so I often make a decision to open the thread (or not) based on the title. Consequently, the title of the post is important.
  • I generally don't scan more than the first page or two of the "unanswered threads" list. I suspect most of us don't. If you don't get an answer for a few days it is probably a good idea to re-write the post in a different way.
  • Questions that I can answer with a short reply are more likely to get a response. Questions that require long replys are less likely to get a response.
  • Issues involving safety are more likely to get a response from me.
Once I respond to a thread, I get notifications of new posts to the thread and try to stay on top of the conversation. I do enough posting that this tends to be a lot of reading of the ongoing conversations....and often a lot of participation in the discussion. Consequently, there is a natural slow down of responding to new posts if there are a lot of active threads I am on.
 
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