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Patience Is A Virtue   

In the same way that you should EaseUp when you are posting your original question, you should be patient while waiting for replies to come in.

Remember that everyone here on the ranch is a volunteer, and most of them have other things that they must spend some time on - family, jobs (or searching for jobs), sleeping, food, vacation, sick, .... So at various times the people you are talking with will be offline and unable to answer your questions. It is also possible that people who would normally answer your question may be in a different country, with different holidays and different timezones.

So if nobody answers your question for 6 hours, don't panic. The day is still young - it is probable that many JavaRanch members have not yet seen your post. When they do log on, they can see which posts have been made since the last time they logged on (new posts have a yellow icon next to them).

With this in mind, there is no need to keep pushing your post to the top of the list in the forums by adding extra replies to your original reply. In fact, doing so might be considered counterproductive because:

  • The extra posts generally do not add anything to the post, and might irritate the reader (and anything that irritates the reader might cause them to ignore the post and move on to another post).

  • Trying to keep your post at the top of the list is considered antisocial behaviour, and may cause your post to be ignored.

  • Some of the gurus on this site occassionaly jump into different forums, looking for posts which have zero replies - these are the ones that might be more challenging. If you have been posting empty messages in your topic, they will not even look at your topic.

So just be patient, and wait at least 24 hours before considering bumping your post to the top of the list. If you posted close to a weekend or holiday border (Friday or Sunday or Christmas Day) you should probably consider waiting longer as more people will be away.

And if you finally decide to bump the post, please try to do so by posting more information! After all, if nobody answered, that's probably because nobody did know an answer. You had 24 hours to do your own research in the mean time - show us that you used them, and give us new things to think about. If nothing else, work harder to TellTheDetails.

If your question hasn't been answered in a timely fashion, ask yourself: Is there something about the way I've presented my question that gives the impression that I'm unwilling to ShowSomeEffort when asking it? Many people will skip by questions if the orignial poster didn't take the time to UseAMeaningfulSubjectLine. Many still will start reading your post and then get tired and leave without answering it if you didn't care enough to UseRealWords when typing it.

Here are some other common reasons why posts go unanswered:

  • No one who read the question understands what the poster is asking. "How green my wife compile chickens Win XP Pro sux0rs?" (If you *did* understand that, you can probably come up with your own example ;)

  • The poster is asking something very general, which can't be answered in a simple post; they should read a book instead. "Please explaining me OOPS thank you". No one had the energy to try to explain it all.

  • The poster is asking something that requires a lot of additional information to answer, and no one has the energy to ask them the needed questions. "I wrote a 96,000-line program. Why does it get the wrong answer?"

  • The poster is asking something trivially Googleable. "Where can I download Java?"

  • The poster is asking something that's been asked hundreds of times before. The BigMooseSaloon does have a flexible search facility which can help you find similar questions before you post. Furthermore, it might have been asked so often that it has FAQ status and is covered in the very pages you're looking at right now - which are searchable as well!

  • The poster is asking something very specialized, for which no one here knows the answer. "I'm using BobNFS on my Windows for Workgroups machine, with a modified version of the Kaffee JVM. Why can Runtime.exec() execute batch files located on my HP server, but not my AIX server, except on Tuesdays?"

  • Very rarely, the poster is asking something that truly has no answer. "When will Kathy and Bert get their own TV show?"

Also take a look on our other tips on HowToAskQuestionsOnJavaRanch!


See also

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