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New 'READ BEFORE POSTING' for HTML and CSS forums


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Hi,

 

For the CSS Help forum, Cssfreakie wrote a good set of instructions for newbies who want to design a website: http://www.phpfreaks.com/forums/index.php?topic=327775.0. However, items #3, 4, 5 and 6 do not cause rendering problems. They could well create problems for the next web master of that site, but not rendering problems that people come here with. Also, people post questions here with the same annoying omissions and habits for those who help out, that I've seen on other forums I participate in (since 1998). Omissions/habits that are not covered by Cssfreakie's instructions.

 

I would therefore suggest to give his/her sticky the title 'CSS CHECKLIST: 6 basic rules for the newbie webmaster', and to post the following sticky with the title 'READ BEFORE POSTING':

 

<message>

Before you post a question, please take note of these instructions:

 

1. If possible and applicable, put the object on the web so we can see it live. If not possible but still applicable, post the whole code in one code block from <!doctype ..> to </html>, stripped of all irrelevant matters. Replace any relative urls with absolute urls, also in the head and in the style block.

2. Enclose any code you post in code tags (the button over the form with the #).

3. See if your code is basically sound by running it through the W3 Validator: http://validator.w3.org/.

4. Don't over-ask. We will help you with all your problems, but we won't (re)design a webpage for free. If you have multiple problems and a crash course in html/css (http://htmldog.com) doesn't solve the problem, start multiple threads.

5. Try to write proper English in proper sentences. Use your/a spelling checker (http://8help.osu.edu/2143.html/) or Google's translation service (http://translate.google.com/) if necessary. Use capital letters and punctuation marks where called for -- lest we think that you will be a sloppy coder as well, hardly worth helping.

6. Give a clear description of your problem, also in the title (not: Help!). Do not use exclamation marks or all capital letters in your title!

7. No phony problems just to advertise your website! Your message will be removed!

8. As a matter of common courtesy, please report back how suggestions worked out.

 

Welcome to the forum!

</message>

 

My name does not have to go under it. My aim is just to make this forum a greater joy for those who (would like to) help out. And newbie webmaster will have to follow strict (coding) rules anyway, it they are to become successful.

 

The above message could also be posted on the HTML Help forum; that does not contain any before-posting instructions at all.

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For #2 I would advice to use normalize.css as per html5boilerplate. I have always found reset.css to be a bulldozer solution (but a necessary evil until normalize.css appeared).

 

For #3 I really favor http://paulirish.com/2008/conditional-stylesheets-vs-css-hacks-answer-neither/ although not everyone seems to agree.

 

My 2 cents.

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Ignace,

 

Thanks for the reply, but I would like to focus this thread on whether people like the new 'Read before posting' that I'm proposing. What the contents of '6 basic rules for the newbie webmaster' should be deserves a separate thread. 

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Looks okay... except points 5 and 6. You're always going to get horrible spellers and badly titled topics. Mainly due to (like you sort of mentioned) a proportion of PHPF being international as well as an age range from somewhere between 12 and 60+. The younger generation are always going to write 'u' or 'r'. Or they'll throw a huge wall of text at you because they've never heard of paragraphs.

 

I'd also put in something to do with thinking hard about where this problem belongs. Is it really related to the topic of the board or should it go elsewhere. But again, people sometimes just don't give a rats ass.

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Ignace,

 

Thanks for the reply, but I would like to focus this thread on whether people like the new 'Read before posting' that I'm proposing. What the contents of '6 basic rules for the newbie webmaster' should be deserves a separate thread. 

 

I know, I just wanted to pester cssfreakie when he reads this :P

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Looks okay... except points 5 and 6. You're always going to get horrible spellers and badly titled topics.

I have the illusion that with these points it will get significantly less, even though I must say -- or should have said to begin with -- that it is not as bad on PHP forums as it is on general HTML forums. (So I'm deleting the exclamation mark in the final draft.)

 

I'd also put in something to do with thinking hard about where this problem belongs. Is it really related to the topic of the board or should it go elsewhere. But again, people sometimes just don't give a rats ass.

Good point. I'll include that.

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I have the illusion that with these points it will get significantly less, even though I must say -- or should have said to begin with -- that it is not as bad on PHP forums as it is on general HTML forums. (So I'm deleting the exclamation mark in the final draft.)

 

People are just under the assumption that a title of "HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" stands out more and people will be more inclined to click into it. Sadly that's not the case, unless I'm keen for a laugh at the contents of the topic contained within. :P

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although the list I ones provided (not from 1998 but with the same history  ;) ) was not claimed or aimed to be extensive (in fact i stated the opposite) nor were the points all aimed at just rendering problems. They also include some advice  aimed at (bad) stuff I saw (see) here pretty often. Like the use of tables for the sole purpose of making a template. Although that might not be the problem someone has, if I see it or any other bad practices, I tell them. And since those stick out, it saves time mentioning that stuff over and over again. And like  most others I rather tell more ones I spot something (odd) than just solve the problem.  (same is for the php forum, to prevent sql injections or other nasty stuff)

 

And so, I like the idea to give a small guide how to post a question as you proposed... (although quite some points are already stated in the forum guidelines) besides a short checklist of better practices on the subject.

 

Now I know there is and always will be a debate on what is best. conditional comments vs css hacks vs conditional IE classes? full resets.css or more minimalistic ones. But ones you played around with it and practised enough, you will indeed notice that a full reset.css might be overkill, so you make your own or use one that suits your needs. But to start of as a newbie a full reset  forces to set styles to pretty much everything so it makes you learn the whole thing (for my point of view).

 

So in a nutshell yes a good Idea to have 2 things,

- a guideline for posting for as far as it is not already mentioned in the general guidelines.

- A checklist of 'some' better practices since 300 a.d.  :examine:  (meant for newbies and anyone that blames IE for there own incompetence and lack of reading)

 

 

 

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@CssFreakie:

Glad you like the overall idea. You're saying: "a guideline for posting () as far as it is not already mentioned in the general guidelines", but the bad posts are generally from people who are in a hurry and/or who don't like reading. Those people are even less likely to read the general guidelines. That's why I'm proposing this sticky, which is much shorter.

 

Regarding the title, that could also be in normal letters. Matters are not as bad here, and if need be we can always put a line directly over the message forum, directing newcomers to it.

 

I can imagine you'd want to confer with your co-moderators. Just let me know what I should do further. 

 

[side note 1: the 'ones' in e.g. 'the list I ones provided' and 'But ones you played around with it' should be 'once'.

Side note 2: only now do I see the male gender sign under your name. No more 'his/her' from me.  8)]

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I can imagine you'd want to confer with your co-moderators. Just let me know what I should do further. 

Frank, If you got a final version you want to post, maybe post that, so mods can have a look at it and decide on it. As a guru i don't have the magical power to transform your topic into a sticky. So for the time being I would grab a beer and wait until mods/admins picked it up.

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  • 1 month later...

As far as I can see points #1 and #3 are the only things that are really that specific to css/html. Everything else is covered somewhat in our guidelines.

 

I don't think it's really necessary to sticky a new thread containing two points specific to a particular board. Maybe we can just include these points within cssfreakie's sticky?

 

If you would like to make suggestions on the guidelines I'm all ears.

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Hey Thorpe,

 

Thanks for the reply, also in the other thread. You wrote: "If you would like to make suggestions on the guidelines I'm all ears." Well, they are way, and I mean *way* too long for them to be read by the average thread starter before posting. (I even wonder whether my proposed message would be short enough.) That's why I thought it was a good idea to put the essential matters in a sticky with the title READ BEFORE POSTING. I've seen that make a dramatic difference.

 

What we could do is refer to the guidelines for further information. They would then have to be rewritten so that they contain further information if necessary, and (only) contain those further instructions that are not often ignored or that do not matter that much.

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Truth be known however, 99% of the people who struggle to post a decent question do so because they can't be bothered. Do you really think these same people bother reading stickies, guidelines or looking in the manual before they post? No.

 

They are generally after a quick fix. Little do they know however that if they made more effort to resolve the issue themselves or to be more descriptive and helpful when posting there own questions there issues would likely be resolved a hell of allot quicker.

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You're right concerning the latter, but people would read stickies before guidelines on another page. Especially if the guidelines are four times as long and are linked to from somewhere at the top of the page, in a row of other links. As an alternative for the sticky above the thread listing, you could put this line directly above the message entry form:

 

If you are new here or haven't read the most important etiquette rules lately, please do so before posting.

 

If you would deem it necessary, in bold print. Again: this is not about me. I don't care if my name goes under it or not. I will be just as happy if you would put 'The moderators' or 'The management' under it.

 

I will rest my case now.

 

 

 

 

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