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Thread: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

  1. #1
    VAR csda1's Avatar
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    Ira J Perlow
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    Default Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    I know this might be controversial to some here, but as a person who spends time here helping the Alpha 5 community (Just like Stan Matthews, Tom Cone, Cal Locklin and a host of others), I wonder if you tend to consider yourself a forum user or forum abuser?

    A forum user is someone new to the Alpha environment, or someone who has tried to solve an issue himself, or has searched the help files or the forum messages and gotten stuck. Then they ask for some pointers as to how to approach their problem and continue on with their problem. Hopefully, when they reach the end, they report the solution so all can benefit.

    A forum abuser is someone who asks questions without even doing a cursory search or trying to find a solution. They expect to have their problem solved completely for them, including the code. They never post back the results of their findings.

    And a Forum abuser never contributes back. When they know an answer, or a portion of an answer, or know the thread where the answer resides, they stand by the sidelines, rather than throwing out their info as appropriate.

    I don't think the forum users criticize honest contributions to a thread, and sometimes a comment from someone who doesn't understand the problem can lead to the solution, so one shouldn't be afraid to contribute when they are not sure (or preface it with the fact of your uncertainty).

    And while I realize that many people are on a very slim budget (e.g. writing a database for a non-profit organization) or are doing it "for fun", many are not and they do have extensive funds for development!

    Many of Alpha 5 users/developers came to Alpha because they want to (or have to, due to cost) do it themselves. And much of what they want, can be accomplished themselves or with just a few pointers. But there are some things that only a well-versed programmer will be able to accomplish, and at some point even the expert A5 developer can use some pointers from another expert.

    Have you ever considered that an alternative to asking questions over days or weeks on the message forum (and with the possibility of not getting what you want/need) is to hire one of the many Alpha 5 independent consultants for an hour or two to set you in the right directions or to actually sub-contract out that portion of the problem?

    While I have many other Alpha 5 developers that have used my services to create some code or solve a problem, I'd be hard pressed to name a single forum user that, because of the forum, contracted for my services for a more complete answer. I'll bet other regular, experienced forum contributors probably have a similar experience.

    And how many of you have supported the 3rd party Alpha 5 tool developers (e.g example Partec's A5Doc and AIMS App Analyzer, Group Formatter, Script Formatter, CSDA Code Utility), a way to support their contributions to the forum and to encourage future Alpha 5 tools and addins? I guarantee that each of the above tools will save you more time than their costs.

    So consider being a Forum User and not a Forum Abuser. That's what makes for a better forum for us all!
    Regards,

    Ira J. Perlow
    Computer Systems Design


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  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator Steve Wood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Good topic, even if controversial to some. To me, forum abusers, in your terms, present perfect opportunities for other novices or advanced users to exercise their brain to come up with an answer, that they would otherwise expect to be paid for if operating as a consultant. But not everyone operates as a consultant.

    If someone I don't know asks me a technical question in an email, I ask them to pose the question here for all to see. I and others provide thousands of dollars worth of free advice here that we (or at least I) would not do in a private one-on-one manner.

    I think it is very important, proper etiquette, and personally fulfilling for those who receive suggestions test them out and report back a confirmation of the solution. That way the forum provides ongoing knowledge base, not just a list of incomplete and unresolved "questions". Plus its nice to hear back that what you proposed was received and worked.

    There's another class of forum abuser. That's the person responding to a question that does not test out the solution, has no idea if the solution will work or not, just takes an unqualified stab, and without saying it's a WAG. Here's a confession, early on (less now) I would take on questions where I had no idea of the solution. I would work hard to find the answer, then post back a complete and tested solution - but I was doing it in order to learn Alpha. It had the effect of training me in diverse areas, where I would need to know the answer later on, as I developed my skills. So I was using the question-asker just as much as they were using me!!

    I definitely agree to the suggestion of hiring one of the consultants. The big difference is that on the forum you get an answer to specific questions. When you hire someone (competent) they will ask for an overview of the entire project -- very often the best solution is quite different than the one proposed in response to a single question.

    On the idea of forum users not contracting for consulting services: I used to capture the origin of every hit on my website (see here for "Deep Tracking"). 50% of the hits were people clicking on my website link below, from some forum post. So if that's true, then is somewhat depends on what you provide to those website visitors when they click through. I know my website needs an overhaul, but there are lots of things you can do to enhance the odds that someone will hire you to resolve issues that start out on the forum.

    The big thing missing from this forum is some humor. Not one April Fools prank that I could find. Gabe has my vote for the most humorers because he frequently changes his Avatar (bring back the girl) and creates news headline type "man bites dog" topic titles.
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  3. #3
    VAR csda1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Wood View Post
    If someone I don't know asks me a technical question in an email, I ask them to pose the question here for all to see. I and others provide thousands of dollars worth of free advice here that we (or at least I) would not do in a private one-on-one manner.
    I tell them a similar line for private messages. If they want free advice and it does not need to be private (e.g. a question on security of an app I might not want to post in an open forum), then I tell them to post it here and I will respond.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Wood View Post
    Here's a confession, early on (less now) I would take on questions where I had no idea of the solution. I would work hard to find the answer, then post back a complete and tested solution - but I was doing it in order to learn Alpha. It had the effect of training me in diverse areas, where I would need to know the answer later on, as I developed my skills. So I was using the question-asker just as much as they were using me!!
    Nothing wrong with that, as long as you have the the time and are willing.

    I definitely agree to the suggestion of hiring one of the consultants. The big difference is that on the forum you get an answer to specific questions. When you hire someone (competent) they will ask for an overview of the entire project -- very often the best solution is quite different than the one proposed in response to a single question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Wood View Post
    I know my website needs an overhaul, but there are lots of things you can do to enhance the odds that someone will hire you to resolve issues that start out on the forum.
    I watch the traffic to my web site, and likewise, the cobbler's son goes without shoes. But nevertheless, many just look for a free handout too.

    As for humor, a bit is always fine, but some go on way too long in a thread at times.
    Regards,

    Ira J. Perlow
    Computer Systems Design


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  4. #4
    "Certified" Alphaholic forskare's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Wood View Post
    Gabe has my vote for the most humorers because he frequently changes his Avatar (bring back the girl) and creates news headline type "man bites dog" topic titles.
    Yes, bring back the girl. Reminds me of a song, Dreamin', Recorded by Johnny Burnette, 1960. I bet half the forum users would be Dreanin'. 'For Sure'.

    kenn

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    Member trackmanpete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Ira, et. al.:
    I appreciate the comments made and after being a "board" member for over a year and seeing some repeated questions I can sort of understand some of the comments you are making. Recalling my initial introduction to Alpha 5 and learning a completely different way of designing a database was quite a challenge and frustrating at the same time. If it wasn't for the patience of this forum and all who have contributed, I am sure I would have quit Alpha quite a while ago.

    For the past few weeks I have been following one of the Access forums that is set up similar to this one, mainly to observe and see if I could learn more about database design. I also use three database products for track and field that were designed on the Access engine, so I wanted to see how they did things.

    Let me tell you that there is no comparison between the Access forum(s) and this forum. I am happy to say, I love coming here, reading the questions, trying to understand the answers and studying the samples provided. There is a professionalism you will not see on the Access forum. Over there, it seems like the majority of individuals are college students wanting help with their homework. They are very much the "forum abuser" that Ira speaks about.

    The maturity level of this forum is beyond reproach, in my opinion. Yes, there have been a few posts that make me cringe, but it seems those individuals either learn quickly or move on. In my opinion, the vast majority of posts have been courteous and respectful of the lead contributors on this board.

    Pete Schuder

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    "Certified" Alphaholic Marcel Kollenaar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    I liked the Aquarium. :)
    Marcel

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    "Certified" Alphaholic G Gabriel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Everyone wants the girl back!

    Allright then..here you have it..

    Attachment 13985
    Last edited by G Gabriel; 05-11-2007 at 06:16 AM.

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    "Certified" Alphaholic Marcel Kollenaar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Gabe, you had nicer pictures. BTW, there were two persons who asked, so "everyone....." There are more than 800 active members....:)
    Last edited by Marcel Kollenaar; 04-07-2007 at 10:13 PM. Reason: Some syntax was wrong
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    "Certified" Alphaholic forskare's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Kollenaar View Post
    Gabe, you had nicer pictures. BTW, there were two persons who asked, so "everyone....." There are more than 800 active members....:)
    Ha! Gabe knows which picture caused over half the forum to drool on their keyboards.

    kenn

  10. #10
    "Certified" Alphaholic G Gabriel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Marcel asked earler if this is a picture of my wife?

    Ha! Gabe knows which picture caused over half the forum to drool on their keyboards
    Yeh.. I do. But what I didn't know is that some others were drooling over "Fish" in a tank and wondering if I was married to a whale!

  11. #11
    "Certified" Alphaholic Stan Mathews's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Quote Originally Posted by csda1 View Post
    I know this might be controversial to some here, but as a person who spends time here helping the Alpha 5 community (Just like Stan Matthews, Tom Cone, Cal Locklin and a host of others), I wonder if you tend to consider yourself a forum user or forum abuser?

    A forum user is someone new to the Alpha environment, or someone who has tried to solve an issue himself, or has searched the help files or the forum messages and gotten stuck. Then they ask for some pointers as to how to approach their problem and continue on with their problem. Hopefully, when they reach the end, they report the solution so all can benefit.

    A forum abuser is someone who asks questions without even doing a cursory search or trying to find a solution. They expect to have their problem solved completely for them, including the code. They never post back the results of their findings.

    And a Forum abuser never contributes back. When they know an answer, or a portion of an answer, or know the thread where the answer resides, they stand by the sidelines, rather than throwing out their info as appropriate.

    I don't think the forum users criticize honest contributions to a thread, and sometimes a comment from someone who doesn't understand the problem can lead to the solution, so one shouldn't be afraid to contribute when they are not sure (or preface it with the fact of your uncertainty).

    And while I realize that many people are on a very slim budget (e.g. writing a database for a non-profit organization) or are doing it "for fun", many are not and they do have extensive funds for development!

    Many of Alpha 5 users/developers came to Alpha because they want to (or have to, due to cost) do it themselves. And much of what they want, can be accomplished themselves or with just a few pointers. But there are some things that only a well-versed programmer will be able to accomplish, and at some point even the expert A5 developer can use some pointers from another expert.

    Have you ever considered that an alternative to asking questions over days or weeks on the message forum (and with the possibility of not getting what you want/need) is to hire one of the many Alpha 5 independent consultants for an hour or two to set you in the right directions or to actually sub-contract out that portion of the problem?

    While I have many other Alpha 5 developers that have used my services to create some code or solve a problem, I'd be hard pressed to name a single forum user that, because of the forum, contracted for my services for a more complete answer. I'll bet other regular, experienced forum contributors probably have a similar experience.

    And how many of you have supported the 3rd party Alpha 5 tool developers (e.g example Partec's A5Doc and AIMS App Analyzer, Group Formatter, Script Formatter, CSDA Code Utility), a way to support their contributions to the forum and to encourage future Alpha 5 tools and addins? I guarantee that each of the above tools will save you more time than their costs.

    So consider being a Forum User and not a Forum Abuser. That's what makes for a better forum for us all!
    Bump.

  12. #12
    "Certified" Alphaholic G Gabriel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Stan:
    what are you bumped about?

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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Stan,

    I agree with most of your statements and agree I have been used by an abuser or two. I have abused once or twice when totally frustrated.

    Have you ever considered that an alternative to asking questions over days or weeks on the message forum (and with the possibility of not getting what you want/need) is to hire one of the many Alpha 5 independent consultants for an hour or two to set you in the right directions or to actually sub-contract out that portion of the problem?

    While I have many other Alpha 5 developers that have used my services to create some code or solve a problem, I'd be hard pressed to name a single forum user that, because of the forum, contracted for my services for a more complete answer. I'll bet other regular, experienced forum contributors probably have a similar experience.
    I agree somewhat to this part, however a number of use here have the knowledge to be a programmer for a living, but not the time to spend helping a lot. I have turned down proposals for writing all or part of an app here because there are no irons left to put in the fire. I hope one of you got those contracts/jobs.

    People are going to choose who they want to work on their stuff with their own judgement. Maybe they asked me because they thought it would cost more if they went through the alpha site?

    My 2 cents worth is spent. I do wish users woul check help files and forum threads before posting. Courtesy is real good too.

    I need to cleanup my website too and ftp the newest app. The old one wont start much longer(out of date).

    Dave Mason
    www.lotrun.com
    Last edited by AaronBBrown; 04-17-2007 at 10:38 AM.

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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    I ask a lot of questions here as do many newer users and many think that they are to simple or that they are just looking for someone to tell them the easy way. I run the IT department for a large corporation with over 600 computers users, laptops, desktops, AS400 and networks out the Kazoo. I also have built a really good business developing applications using Alpha5. I come here every day to see what people are asking and always leave after learning something new from many of these easy simple questions. Whitout even submitting a question I see simple submissions that I know the answer to and many times find another way of doing something or something that will help me in another area.

    If forum members only ask the truly difficult questions that don't pertain to every day real world uses this forum would draw less and less members every day. I'm amazed after being an Alpha user and programmer for over 14 years the Things and methods I learn every time I come here.

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    "Certified" Alphaholic forskare's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Quote Originally Posted by rmssoftware View Post
    If forum members only ask the truly difficult questions that don't pertain to every day real world uses this forum would draw less and less members every day.
    What is a truly difficult question for one is probably easy for another because the answer was found in Help or by searching the message board. The issue is posting a question before taking time to search out the answer.

    kenn

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    Member Alan Lucas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    I have been following this thread and find it difficult to determine the difference between an "User" and an "Abuser.

    I have been a A5 user for many years and whilst I don't think of myself as a major contribitor I have found the Forum to be an excellent place for new ideas and methods.

    My main gripe is searching for an answer! You can enter a search string and never find a result and then the next day a member will place a link in a forum question that will direct you to the answer I was looking for!

    User/Abuser not an issue. We are all here to learn,some faster than others and at different levels, if you feel you are being Abused then don't respond.

    My position is, when a new member reads this thread then there is a very distinct possibilty that he/she would be too scared to ask a question for fear of being thought of as being an "Abuser" not a nice label.

    I ceratainly could not use this terminoligy in my business.

    Regards

    Alan

  17. #17
    VAR csda1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Hi Alan,

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Lucas View Post
    I have been following this thread and find it difficult to determine the difference between an "User" and an "Abuser.
    It's very easy. A User participates both ways, does the groundwork (searches the help documents and forum area to the best of their ability) for the question, tries to do the legwork (zip's up code where needed to illustrate the problem and/or takes the pointers/examples given, and attempts to resolve the problem) and then gives back (post's the working results). At times, I've seen people post an answer to a problem of their own that they've solved, so that others can benefit from their solution. This is a very

    An abuser asks questions before trying it themselves, or studying the relevant documentation, and/or want's to have it all done for them, and never gives the final results (or at least an acknowledgment/thank you that it worked) so all can benefit. They never contribute when they know the answer, or present "answers" when they know they don't have a clue (don't confuse this with someone suggesting something as maybe a possible solution). They are saying they know the definitive answer, and may not have even tried the solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Lucas View Post
    My main gripe is searching for an answer! You can enter a search string and never find a result and then the next day a member will place a link in a forum question that will direct you to the answer I was looking for!
    Yes, the search engine (and documentation on using it) could be better. I hope everyone knows to use the "Advanced Search" link within the search box to do more complicated searches. But no one is complaining about you asking for help in that case.

    But when someone asks, e.g. about reindexing code, and the answer was on the 1st couple of threads when "reindexing" is used as a search criteria, that shows they haven't even tried.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Lucas View Post
    User/Abuser not an issue. We are all here to learn,some faster than others and at different levels, if you feel you are being Abused then don't respond.
    It's not just the question of responding, it's that they don't do their cooperative part of being a good forum member. They need to "try" to some degree, and report the results. If they don't want to try, or need an extremely involved answer and no one is responding (sometimes people have the time to answer, sometimes not), then they should consider hiring an Alpha 5 Consultant. In fact, probably the vast majority of forum users could benefit from discussing their application for even just an hour or two, but that's a whole other thread!:)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Lucas View Post
    My position is, when a new member reads this thread then there is a very distinct possibilty that he/she would be too scared to ask a question for fear of being thought of as being an "Abuser" not a nice label.
    I don't think any major forum contributer cares whether it's a simple or hard question, how many questions people ask (ideally in separate threads if unrelated) and we all realize that some (if not many) new people don't even know the terminology enough to know what to search or how to ask the question. Heck even the best of us (including myself) have asked an answer that was easily derived (typically forgetting to check a specific document!) But abusers tend to do this over and over.

    And when the key words used in the question easily derive the answer when searched in the help file or forum search, they have wasted everyone's time.

    Occasionally people post the same question everywhere in search of the answer. This is annoying only because different people are then answering the question in different threads instead of one. If it really needs to be in both places (e.g. a web server XBasic question), then it's best to put it in 1 area, and then start a thread that has a link to the main thread. However placing the duplicate questions in unrelated forums is annoying.

    I'd rather teach someone to fish rather than give him a fish, but if they are even unwilling to pick up the pole.....they are wasting my time!
    Regards,

    Ira J. Perlow
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  18. #18
    Volunteer Moderator Steve Wood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Just my opinion - I don't really care if users of this forum do or don't try to solve their own problems before asking; and I don't care if the same question is asked a hundred times, or the answer could have been easily found by a simple search. I just don't think of this place as a classroom with teachers and students and a high degree of protocol required to participate.

    Etiquette and appreciation are another matter, for me. I do like to see individuals respectful of each other, appreciative of the effort made by many users, and sympathetic of those newbies not prepared even to 'ask the right question'. Being appreciative does include not purposely wasting everyone's time, but the key word for me is purposely, that is, not if they 'waste' it out of ignorance, lack of training or lacking a 'technical mind' -- there's something refreshing about an innocently asked "but where is the any-key?" (and the 30-post thread that ensues on the subject).

    Alpha Five is owned by secretaries, blacksmiths*, firemen, kids, pastors, as well as engineers, web designers, and technical giants; people in East Asia, Africa, USA, UK, Iran, New York, etc. They can't all be expected to ask questions in a manner that everyone would view as proper.

    I think the forum is self-managing. Snooty or pompous people are told to get off it; those who ask incomplete questions get incomplete answers and learn how to ask better; and those few who are plain rude just make me glad I'm not. In addition, all of us are free to ignore post and responses by particular users we feel routinely aren't cutting it.

    All of this is not to ignore that it is in everyone's best interest to put serious work in to how they ask the question and into resolving the issue themselves -- and replying with a solution acknowledgement. But if a user gets a few free complete solutions at the beginning, I bet their skill and confidence goes up and most of them will come around and be better forum users over time.

    * we got any blacksmiths?

    p.s: I often wonder about the 60% that post one or two questions and are never seen again. What happens to those guys?
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Hi All,

    I have now been a Alpha user for just over 2 years and without the help of this forum I would have more than likely given up on Alpha. But because of the help received from this forum I am now very confident in my skills with Alpha.

    Steve
    p.s: I often wonder about the 60% that post one or two questions and are never seen again. What happens to those guys?
    In my case I needed a replacement for the D3/Pick programing language we were using and I was determined to learn somthing new as my living and that of my family depended on it, and without the help of this forum I could not have done it why? Alpha is a great tool but when first starting it is very dificult no impossible to get a step by step guide in how to do Somthing/Anything. Alpha is strating to to address this with the use of videos which are much better than a thousand words, a Alpha guide for dummies would in my opinion not only keep people using Alpha it would increase sales for Alpha. Steve you better than anyboby else knows the power of the WAS, more and more people are trialing Alpha becuase of the claims that it is so easy to build a web site in Alpha, and it is untill we try to do more than the basic, but that said with version 8 somthings are becoming easier. Again I think Alpha are missing out by not produceing a step by step guide

    csda1
    A forum abuser is someone who asks questions without even doing a cursory search or trying to find a solution. They expect to have their problem solved completely for them, including the code. They never post back the results of their findings.
    Some body once said something like the the U.S and the U.K are divided by a common language, I agree, I visit the U.S. and even lived there for over a year, we both speak English but the meaning of some words and in what context we use them can be very different, so that is for two nations that speak English, How would we all be if the first language for Alpha was French I am sure that we would all be asking for help on some basic things.

    In finishing I would again like to thank everybody who over the last two years have been kind enough to help me with both simple questions in the beginning and with far more complexed latterly


    Kind Regards to all and I look forward to meeting you in Vegas


    Andy Meer

  20. #20
    Member trackmanpete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    An example of a forum abuser? (Found on another database forum)
    Help me please! I’m not normally one for begging on forums! But this is a desperate time for me..

    I don’t know a great deal about databases. And i stupidly agreed to making a simple database for my boss!

    He wants a database to track how well sales staff are doing against target.

    i.e he enters sales agent name.. the product they sold.. and how much it is worth.. the week it was sold in

    Then at the end of the month he can select their name and the week, then see what products they have sold and a total amount for each product area sold!

    i just have no idea how to do it!

    help me please!
    Last edited by AaronBBrown; 04-17-2007 at 10:46 AM.

  21. #21
    "Certified" Alphaholic Stan Mathews's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Quote Originally Posted by G Gabriel View Post
    Stan:
    what are you bumped about?
    Not aimed at anything in particular. Just needs periodic emphasis. At one time there was a "sticky" thread "Please read before posting" that most didn't bother to read. I think it must have been removed in the last board update.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Personally, I think the responsiveness of this forum's members is part of the problem. When you are in Europe, you normally can not wait untill a forum member in the USA has waked up from his earned night's rest, and posts an answer to your question.
    So you just NEED to search the forums for previous answers.
    When you are in the States, just posting a question will normally lead to an answer almost before you can blink an eye.....
    People normally are lazy (exceptions occur though....) and just post the question.

    Maybe you all need to move to Europe......

    I see Ira's frustration but also like Steve's approach.

    Kind regards,
    Marcel

  23. #23
    "Certified" Alphaholic Phil Rolf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    My thanks to those individuals that really support this board. I would have been in deep trouble in completing some tasks in the past without this board.

    While I have many other Alpha 5 developers that have used my services to create some code or solve a problem, I'd be hard pressed to name a single forum user that, because of the forum, contracted for my services for a more complete answer. I'll bet other regular, experienced forum contributors probably have a similar experience.
    However, I have one comment relative to Ira's remarks about using the consultants. In the past I have needed help and have sent emails to SEVERAL of the "consultants" asking for pricing and if they think they have the expertise for the problem at hand, Guess What??? "I NEVER GET A RETURN EMAIL" (Sorry Ira, I never got far enough down the list to find you) Not to be sarcastic, but do we classify these individuals as "Consultant Abusers"? Is it just a way to have their name listed on the Alpha Website....

    Once again, my thanks to everyone...
    Last edited by Phil Rolf; 04-17-2007 at 09:56 AM.

  24. #24
    VAR csda1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Phil,

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Rolf View Post
    However, I have one comment relative to Ira's remarks about using the consultants. In the past I have needed help and have sent emails to SEVERAL of the "consultants" asking for pricing and if they think they have the expertise for the problem at hand, Guess What??? "I NEVER GET A RETURN EMAIL" (Sorry Ira, I never got far enough down the list to find you) Not to be sarcastic, but do we classify these individuals as "Consultant Abusers"? Is it just a way to have their name listed on the Alpha Website....
    I think that there are many that are no longer providing any Alpha services. The consultants list does not look like a valid list of active consultants to me and I expect that this page may change as Alpha updates various parts of it's web site.

    If you are on the message board (and I know you are), if I were you looking for a consultant, I think would look at what kind of responses the potential consultant's made on the message board to sort of identify their technical credibility. Also, look at any signatures at the bottom of their messages to see if they have email/web links, indictating their desire to be contacted.

    There are, however, consultants that are rarely (if ever) on the message board, and that does not mean they are not qualified, but then you have to rely on something else for them.

    Regards,

    Ira
    Regards,

    Ira J. Perlow
    Computer Systems Design


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  25. #25
    Alpha Software Employee AaronBBrown's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    I'd also like to point out that we have a Forum Support forum as well as a Tip of the Day forum (which, admittedly has not been updated since its inception, but does have a few useful articles in there) for those that are having difficulty using forum features.
    [FONT=Tahoma][SIZE=1][COLOR=Blue]Aaron Brown
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  26. #26
    Volunteer Moderator
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Rolf View Post
    "I NEVER GET A RETURN EMAIL" (Sorry Ira, I never got far enough down the list to find you)
    Not sure who you've contacted, but:

    1. Email is not a guarantied method of contacting someone. A followup phone call is sometimes necessary.

    2. Notify the Alpha Partners program or Alpha customer service or Richard Rabins if someone is not responsive.

    3. I don't recall getting an email from you either(or Ira (aka genius):D as you noted). But don't tell us who didn't respond - use option #2.
    Al Buchholz
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  27. #27
    Volunteer Moderator Steve Wood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    The term Consultant Abusers hits home from the other side of the fence. Sometimes I feel abused by users seeking free assistance. I am pretty liberal with my time, but often I let it go to far. Acknowledging that reminds me that it is ME that controls who has access to my time; and its hard to say no. Normally I push people back to the forum unless I have an established relationship with them.

    The Consultants List is pretty out of date and I am sure Alpha will be working it over in the near future. It will likely be part of the project to improve the Professional Services offering -- all of this stuff takes time.

    I agree with Al, some of the best consultants are hardly ever on the forum. Its just not their idea of fun or being productive. I would expect (although I have no knowledge) that at some point Consultants (if they want to have visibility through Alpha) will have to register with Professional Services, maintain their profile and perform certain tasks including getting certified. That may seem like a hassle, but it would improve the prospective clients' overall impression of the consulting body.

    Also I would bet that the majority of the listed "consultants" are not really full-time consultants, and don't have a set price list. Probably only a handful are full-time consultants whose livelihood relies directly on paid consulting. And there, those guys often can't respond to "little" requests that may come in an email form. From experience, "little" requests take five times longer to resolve than the initial impression. That's because they are always more involved, there's no specification, details are left out of the request, and the consultant may not have the specific knowledge to complete a narrowly defined ad-hoc task. Its hard to respond to a "little" request with "that will cost $1000" and not have the requestor think you are a money-grubbing opportunist.

    On the other side of the fence, I would say 1 out of 5 prospective clients respond to MY email to them after they have requested of me (from my website) or of Alpha (and referred to me). You have to make a telephone call; that's the only way to be sure of contact. I always try to respond to emails, but I am sure I don't always. A consultant does tend to read into the email and try to determine the dollar worth/time investment ratio of the inquiry. Its good to respond to all, but honestly I've received some email requests where I just know if I answer this email I am going to be on the hook for hours of free services and so I don't, or perhaps I do but word my response to close down the process.
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    I don't know about anyone else, but when I receive an email with a subject along the lines of 'Help Me!', 'Can you do this?', 'I have a problem', etc., with names I never heard of, I relegate them to my spam folder and do not open them. Phil, if any of these could have been your message, I am truly sorry, but with the amount of virus' and garbage being sent via email, I just won't chance it. Subjects lines like 'Alpha Five Question', 'Alpha database', 'Help with Alpha program', etc. are much more likely to be opened and read.

    Andy Meer makes a valid point in that folks speaking other languages could easily have a hard time phrasing a question in a (to them) foreign language (English) that makes sense to us English speakers. When I write something, I try to let it sit for a while and then re-read it to see if it says what I meant to say. Quite often I have to re-write it to better get my idea across. I would also venture to say that those of us in the US would have a damn hard time writing anything in another language!

    In my teaching days, I had students that asked questions without ever opening the book and those I directed to the book. The students that read the book and, for whatever reason, didn't/couldn't understand the material are the ones I would help. There are not enough hours in the day to help people who refuse to take the first step in helping themselves.

    Dave
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  29. #29
    "Certified" Alphaholic forskare's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    I am one of those 'consultants' who does not work at it full time. I can't afford to simply because I'm a few years until retirement. Over the years, I've received, oh.....maybe a dozen emails from prospective clients. These were persons in law enforcement, private investigating or banking. I've always responded prompltly to their request, which is nearly always the same; What does your app do and what is the cost?

    My response: My app does this for me but your needs are different. Some have asked for screen shots which I provided. Not one of those ever got back to me nor would they answer my email. Others pumped me with questions re: "How would you do this or that?" When they quit asking questions, I followed up. Everyone failed to respond.

    I have also done a pretty fair amount of charity work but even at that, I've had to say, enough is enough. When I told one person from another country that I could no longer donate my time, I never got a "thank you" and never heard from that person again.

    However, there have been a couple who asked for paid help on the message board to which I responded. I was up front with them, told them I was not an expert and my hourly rate would reflect that. If my level of expertese could not accomplish what they needed, I was quick to tell them.

    What's the difference? Those in the last catagory had done all they could and the others, well, as Dave Jampole said, they never opened the book.

    That's my 2 cents worth.

    kenn

  30. #30
    "Certified" Alphaholic MoGrace's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are you a Forum User or Abuser?

    Thought I would offer my point of view as one of the "user/abusers" of this forum. First let me say thank you for all the great talent I find on this board. You guys are great teachers. However some of us are slooow learners!

    Just this morning, I unzipped my files and edited my shortcut and ran into this error when I went to use it: "Failure to save document". Now what does that mean? 1st I went to the help file and found nothing, so then I came here to find nothing as well. To me, my shortcut and the file it calls look fine.

    Some of the features that more experienced users are very familiar with are still Greek to me. Like the debugger - which is often a suggestion here. I have tried to use this feature and do not get it, so I do a work around instead with ui_msg_box and the trace window. I can do simple things with the interactive window but that's about it. And I do try the help files and searching here but get frustrated when I am unable to find anything even close to what I am looking for. So how much time should one spend before adding a new post?

    The program gets more and more complicated as the web becomes the focus over the desktop. I feel like I have been lost in the dust...

    ps: Hah! Went back and looked at the text file I was using to load my database again, and sure enough a typo in the path statement generated this error. There, now someone else can find the answer too!

    tryingtobeagooduser
    Last edited by MoGrace; 04-19-2007 at 12:28 PM.
    Robin

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