Guidelines and Suggestions
for Posting on
Web Development Forums

If you have any questions about these guidelines and suggestions, please feel free to use the contact page to ask us to explain. Also, if you would like to suggest another one, please do. These aren't in any particular order, but we've grouped similar points together, for the most part.

  1. Before posting please try searching for an answer with a search engine site, like Google, and with the forum's (bulletin board's) search feature. Sometimes you may not know the right keywords to find your answer or be unable to narrow your search down enough to get useful results — that's ok, it happens to everybody at one time or another.
  2. Validate your X/HTML and CSS before posting, but don't worry about non-CSS2.0 properties and the "warnings" that the CSS Validator gives.
  3. When posting code (on forums that support bbcode, aka "vB code") place it inside [code][/code] tags for readability. The X/HTML element(s) that the [code][/code] tags are replaced with tell the browser to preserve the white-space characters and not collapse them like normal. Scrollbars are also added if the height or width of the body of code exceeds a certain point.
  4. When posting HTML or XHTML code, it is often helpful to remove code that doesn't affect the problem, but please don't remove things, like the doctype, that are required for the code to validate. If you are using a server-side language, unless asked to do otherwise, please open the page in a browser and post the code you see in the "View Source" (or "Page Source"), so that the server-side code has been processed.
  5. When posting CSS, if a CSS rule contains more than two declarations, please put each declaration on its own line with 2 or 3 space indention. Doing so makes CSS rules a lot easier to read. For example use:
    h1,h2 {
      color: #000;
      margin: 0;
      padding: .5em;
    instead of
    h1,h2 { color: #000; margin: 0; padding: .5em; }
  6. Also when posting CSS code, don't forget to also post the X/HTML code being used with it. We can't know exactly what the CSS does without knowing what your (X/HTML) document's structure looks like.
  7. When posting JavaScript code, please use consistent, proper indentation. 2 or 3 space indentation per nesting level is best, but any width of consistent indentation is better than inconsistent indentation or none at all. Not only will this make it easier to help you, using proper indentation will make debugging your own code easier for you.
  8. Also when posting JavaScript code, especially code that is used with a form or uses the DOM, it's helpful and often necessary to post the X/HTML code being used with it.
  9. Please include the browser names (or abbreviated names) and version number(s) in which you have tested your code or in which you see the problem you are having.
  10. If you are writing code for only one browser, then say so. In other words, if your code won't be used in a public website where people are free to use whatever web browser they want, but for some internal (intranet) web page or web app, please tell us.
  11. Post a link to the page(s) in question whenever possible. For many questions it's a lot easier to just go to the page and look at it instead of copying and pasting code into local files to see what the page looks like. For another thing images on the page can make the page render differently, in more ways than you might think, than when you're looking at a local file without the images. There are two exceptions to this: (1) free hosts that automatically add advertisements to pages can trigger problems that won't be seen without the advertisements; (2) please don't post links to pages on sites with "adult content" without also posting an attention-getting warning (blinking or moving text doesn't count).
  12. When posting links (on forums that support bbcode, aka "vB code") place it inside [url][/url] tags so readers can just click the link instead of having to copy and paste it into their browser's address bar.
  13. Don't cross-post. Don't post an identical or almost identical thread in multiple forums.
  14. Don't just ask someone to write code for you. Please show some effort. When you get stuck people will usually be happy to help you. If you want someone to do all of the work for you, don't be surprised if no one is willing to do it for free.
  15. Use descriptive thread titles. Try to use keywords that explain the nature of your problem.
  16. Don't put words like "emergency", "urgent", and "ASAP" in thread titles. Here's a great list of topic subjects you should not post by freebsd of Dev Shed Forums that I've added to:
    • Help me
    • Hello
    • You must know the answer
    • Please help this female newbie
    • Something wrong
    • Come on PHP gurus
    • This one for you
    • Just wondering
    • This is too complicated for me
    • possible?
    • Very urgent
    • I have a question
    • Stupid question
    • Newbie needs help
    • pulling my hair out
    • this is driving me nuts
    • Help with code
    • A Hot Topic
  17. Don't use a thread title that just repeats the name of the forum/zone/area you are posting in.
  18. Be sure to have read these before starting a new thread (topic):
  19. When asking questions about how a page renders differently in a Mac or Linux browser, you are more likely to be helped if you provide screenshot(s).
  20. Don't place important text that is not repeated in the topic reply message body in topic reply titles.
  21. Don't change the font, text size, or text color for the majority of your reply to a topic. Use them for affect when needed, but don't use them too much or they may annoy those who might help you.
  22. Use proper capitalization and punctuation. Don't write in all lower-case or in all upper-case.
  23. Don't edit your posts to remove the contents. Doing that prevents anyone who finds the thread in the future from finding out what the solution was.
  24. When posting a reply to a thread, please do not quote the entire post you are replying to unless it is fairly short and it does not immediately precede your reply. Otherwise, please quote only excerpts from it.
  25. If you post a thread and then find a solution somewhere else, please post a reply to the thread with a link to the solution you found and/or an explanation of it.
Last update: 2010-07-13