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Board Rules — Everybody please read before posting

Postby localghost » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:00 pm

Now that LaTeX Community has developed and the board team had time to get familiar with all what's going on, we decided to give some basic rules to the users. Time has shown that there are some rules needed. So, here are some points of what we think every user should be aware of.

These rules are binding for every member. You accept them with the registration of an account. Questions regarding the rules are addressed via PM to the board team.

1 Before Posting

1.1 Searching the forum

Many issues have already been solved here. So, by using the Forum Search you may already find an answer to your problem. The FAQ section explains how. Novices please refer to our topic with a special list of resources [1]. The items listed there should offer enough stuff to get to grip with LaTeX and support the first steps.

[1] View topic: LaTeX Resources for Beginners

1.2 Packages and their manuals

If the issue occurs when using a special package, the according documentation mostly gives valuable hints to solve it. So, reading the manual of the concerned package should be the first step on the way of problem-solving. Packages and their documentations can be found on CTAN or on the local system (see Section 2.3).

1.3 Choosing the right place for a request

The right forum for a request has to be chosen very carefully. For example, using TeXnicCenter (TXC) as an editor doesn't mean that all requests can be posted in the forums related to TXC. The same is true for the LaTeX distribution. The forum is structured in many suitable subject areas.

Requests concerning issues with the LaTeX typesetting system placed in the LaTeX Community General forum will be moved to the appropriate LaTeX forum without leaving a shadow topic. This is true for all other topics not concerning the community as such.

1.4 Opening a new thread

Choose a clear and meaningful title for the new topic. Just think of it as a headline in a newspaper with striking words. This way potential helpers see at first sight what a topic is about. Titles like »Help wanted« or »My code doesn't work« are too abstract and don't let others recognize the content of a topic.

When opening a new thread, don't mix several topics in one request. The forum offers a more than suitable structure where most topics can find their place.

1.5 Reactivation of older threads

You can reactivate older topics where the solution of the problem remains to be done. But don't hijack threads that are marked as solved (with the green checkmark). The better way then is to open a new thread and add a link to the solved topic within the new request.

2 When posting

2.1 Asking the right questions

Everybody has to take care that a post is formulated correctly and comprehensibly. Describing the problem might be appropriate at first sight, but those who want to give help mostly prefer to see some code. So, make sure that you give all necessary information (see Section 5). If code is not working, it is better to see from an example where the source of error might be located. In case of occurring errors the complete error message is essential.

Abstain from terms like »urgent« or »as soon as possible« because they are not relevant to the problem. They often result in a delay. Moreover there will be no support via PM, IM or e-Mail!

2.2 Building an example

Reducing the problem to a minimal working example (MWE) promises to get help very quickly. Users who want to give help are rarely motivated or simply haven't got the time to build a MWE themselves. Thus a MWE becomes crucial and absolutely necessary. Sometimes the problem is solved during the building process of such a MWE. Hence this process also could be considered as some kind of learning process.

In case you are using a non-standard document class that is not available on CTAN, upload it as attachment to the forum server or give a link where to find it.

2.3 Replying to a request

All members of this community are volunteers. In case somebody behaves wrong (especially new members) a short note to the mistake is enough. Offensive language is not tolerated! Always keep the Netiquette in mind. Everyone once has been a beginner. Nevertheless this is no license for stupid behaviour.

For references to manuals it is quite useful to add a link or better link the name of the package. The TeX Users Group ask for using the short links to package information on CTAN.<name>

A note to the texdoc command line utility for access to documentations on a local machine is also appropriate.
texdoc <name>

2.4 Formatting posts

Posts are formatted with the given tools from the list right above the input window. Code has to be tagged as such by using the code environment to keep a post clear. Other tags can be used to emphasize certain parts of text. Don't disable BBCode! Otherwise post formatting doesn't work.

In order to check whether a post has been formatted or phrased correctly, it can't do any harm if you click »Preview« before you submit your post. Nevertheless you can edit it subsequently to do necessary corrections or additions.

2.5 Attachments

External servers and links to pictures or other files should not be used. Files can easily be uploaded to the forum server. External links may get lost after some time. In case a certain file extension (suffix) is not accepted, attachments can be uploaded as RAR or ZIP archives.

Attached pictures have to be reduced to the relevant content. Full screen copies with just a little window aren't helpful. The format of the forum shall not be broken up. Thus pictures have to be rescaled and reduced in size if necessary.

3 After posting

Double posts are not tolerated. If there is no reply, don't inquire until the thread has moved to the second page of a forum and is not visible any more. Remember always that this is a forum, not a help desk. Don't be impatient in case a solution is not presented promptly. Own threads can be lifted to the top by simply choosing »Bump Topic« from the list near the bottom of the concerned thread. If you wonder why there is no answer, you should learn more about (See Section 2.1 and 2.2)

If you have found a solution to your own request, please be so kind and post it. Finally others could have the same problem.

In case one of the suggested solutions works it is good to say which one. It goes without saying that an expression of gratitude to the author of the solution is much appreciated.

If you find your problem solved, please mark the concerned thread accordingly by accepting the answer that led to the solution [2]. This way solved topics can be filtered from unsolved. Hence helpers have a better overview.

[2] View topic: Marking Topic as solved, filtering for unsolved

4 Other important things

4.1 Crosspostings

A crossposting is always contra-productive. But there is nothing really against it as long as it is mentioned. This means that a direct link has to be added. So other users who want to help are preserved from double efforts and waste of time.

4.2 Signatures

Signatures with links to any commercial web sites or similar commercial background (i. e. advertising banners) are not allowed. The same is true for political statements and religious content. And this applies also to personal data like e-mail addresses.

The same as for the signature applies correspondingly to any other entry field in the user profile.

Violation will result in a demand note for modification. With no reaction to that note there will be a temporarily ban right up to a kick with additional permanent ban.

4.3 Miscellaneous

The Board Team reserves the right to rename topics for a better representation of the described misbehavior or problem (see 1.4).

Decisions of moderators or administrators are as a rule irrevocable and not discussed publicly. In case of problems contact the members of the Board Team by PM.

5 Inadequate posts

In this section it was originally planned to have a list with criteria which classify posts as inadequate. This list now has its own thread in order to separate it from the above given rules [3]. These criteria are also supposed to be a guide how to draft clear posts by avoiding the mistakes that are described. Studying the list is in the interest of everybody who seeks quick help.

[3] View topic: Avoidable Mistakes

6 Contraventions

Deliberate contraventions will be warned. Three warnings for the same kind of contravention will bring a temporary ban depending on the severity level. Multiple or repeated violations can also bring a ban of the user account. This also depends on the severity level and can be temporary up to permanent. Not so obvious violations will be solved bilaterally.

Recommended reading 2021: •
LaTeX Beginner's Guide LaTeX Cookbook

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