Forum Etiquette: Being a Good Citizen

by Meemaw

Most of the forums I have visited have been filled with wonderful, caring, helpful people. I happen to think ours is the best! However, occasionally, someone will visit the forum who hasn't used the best judgment in his manners or choice of words. Since we are a kind of family, it's always a good idea to have a reminder of the proper way to treat your forum brothers and sisters.

In 2006, the Forum Usage Rules were posted. It is the first section on the page. You can read the entire post here:,2401.0.html

The main rules are listed as follows:

  1. SEARCH!
  2. Check the Wiki for answers to your questions.
  3. Post your question in the most appropriate place.
  4. Choose an appropriate subject line.
  5. Include as much information as you can when seeking help.
  6. Keep all HELP posts ON-TOPIC.
  7. Make sure you have read the parent post completely before posting a reply.
  8. Do not cross-post the same question to multiple places.
  9. Mark SOLVED.
  10. DO NOT discuss anything about the unstable directories on the forums.
  11. Refrain from discussing politics or religion.
  12. Refrain from using coarse/insulting/vulgar language.
  13. Report to Moderator
  14. No Distro Promotion.
  15. Keep all commentary civil, and be courteous at all times.
  16. Thank those who help you.
  17. Use mixed case.
  18. No advertising or spam.
  19. Do not 'astroturf' or pretend to be/represent somebody else.
  20. Use your own words.
  21. Do not discuss illegal activities.
  22. Do not make geographical assumptions.
  23. Have Patience
  24. Software Additions
  25. How To Keep Your System In Good Order

Failure to abide by these rules may result in an editing, negative moderation or deletion of your post. PCLinuxOS reserves the right to ban abusers from the site and possibly seek legal action against them. If you haven't visited that area of the forum, I recommend it.

Although that covers the main rules, and we are supposed to know how to act, the forum is still a place where one can remain somewhat anonymous. Many people take advantage of that to say things to people they wouldn't necessarily say if that person was standing in front of them.

What Not to Do

We don't discuss politics or religion, which I think is a good thing! Many of those discussions deteriorate into big fights where all sorts of feelings are hurt. (I personally don't discuss religion or politics with anyone else. I have my opinions and everyone else is welcome to have theirs as well). Occasionally a discussion in the Sandbox will venture in that direction, but a caution from a moderator usually slows things down. I'm sure there are political and religious forums for those kind of discussions. If there is a thread on some current event, and you disagree with someone's statement or opinion, just say that you disagree — don't shower them with insults just because they don't agree with you. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, whether you agree with it or not. You are free to give them your reasoning for your opinion, as long as doing so doesn't include insults or nasty language.

Also, please remember that there are people from all over the world on this forum, and not all of them speak English as their native language. Before you are so rude as to put them down for their spelling or written speech, please think what it would be like to have to post your problem in one of the sections of the forum provided for those who don't speak English. (I would love to be able to speak another language, but I don't, and I admire those who have the courage to post in the English sections even though their grammar or spelling has a few mistakes.) Remember too that some English words are not spelled the same in every country, and some words have different meanings in other places.

Crude or vulgar language is another thing not tolerated. Forum readers can be any age (I know my grandchildren love to come see what Meemaw is doing on the computer) so please don't post anything you wouldn't want your younger sister, children or grandchildren to read. I have a relative who posts with great frequency on another Linux forum. Occasionally he will encounter someone who's acting rude. His standard reply is to simply wish the person luck in the future. After that, he doesn't go back to the post. I was on the same forum three years ago and a poster was asking for help with a certain program. He explained what the name of the program was and what it was supposed to do and even what kind of error message he had gotten. I for one had never heard of the program, but I believed that someone who did would come along and help him pretty soon. Two days after the original post, he came back and spent many lines running down the members of that forum (including my relative) and telling them they 'sucked' and the forum 'sucked' because no one would help him with his program. I believed that he had a program that was not very well known and the right person hadn't shown up yet to help. However, he was extremely rude and impatient. So after that, if there was someone who did know about his program, they most likely wouldn't have helped him. You're going to say, wasn't the moderator there to say something as well? I'm sure he was. It's possible the post was deleted later, or the person was suspended from using the forum for a while, but I sure never went back to that post to find out.

We have wonderful mods!!! Their hard work goes unappreciated many times. They are always on hand to handle a situation like this, and, whether or not you agree with a particular course of action, they are doing it in the best interests of the forum. If one of your posts gets changed or deleted, and you don't understand why, the best course of action would be to pm a mod and ask. The worst thing you can do now is get all mad and say something nasty in the forums. A very polite pm will most likely get you the answer you want without making your situation any worse. Rude, argumentative or insulting posters can be suspended from forum access for a length of time or can be banned from the forum altogether.

Our mods are very good, but they aren't perfect! If, when reading a post, you feel it is not appropriate for the forum, you can always report it to a mod yourself. There is a link in every post called Report to Moderator. If you click this, it will direct the mod to the post you are questioning. They may have missed it.

Getting Help

I have had very few computer problems since I switched to Linux, but I could almost always find a solution simply by searching the forum, which is probably the reason that rule #1 is SEARCH! Luckily, my one and only problem when I first installed Linux was getting my wireless card to work. Before I even registered on this forum, I searched for my wireless card and the way to install and configure it. I found the information and got it up & running. Since then my driver has been added to the distro and works nearly every time. You can use your favorite website search function (I usually use Google) or search on the PCLinuxOS Forums or try the Wiki:

If you use a website search, make sure you find very specific terms. For example, my wireless card is a Linksys WMP54g. I would put in that information along with the word Linux and that should limit my results to those items about that card in reference to Linux.

And so it did:


Google also can be "configured" to search only Linux topics. Simply go to, and enter your search terms as you normally would in Google. This will avoid you having to put "linux" in your search criteria.


If you don't find the information you need, you should post. Pick the most logical section to post in and make your post clear and to the point. (Not long ago, I was having trouble configuring a drawing tablet on my desktop computer, and couldn't find enough information on our forum, so I posted in the Desktop Hardware section). Your thread title should reflect what kind of help you need. (Mine was 'I need help with a Wacom Bamboo'). I've seen many posts that just say 'Help!' or 'I'm going crazy!' and while we all understand your frustration, that sort of title may not be enough to attract someone who actually knows how to solve your problem. If you say that it's a Linksys WMP54g wireless card, for example, someone who can configure that card is more likely to see that post and answer. It will also be helpful if you give people some sort of idea of the type of computer you are using (desktop or laptop, cpu, ram, etc. Many of us have our computer specs in our signatures) and what version of PCLinuxOS you have. An additional hint is to post the particular error message you are getting (if you are getting one) or the exact behavior of your computer - if opening a troublesome program locks up the computer, add that to your post. Even a screenshot (if it's visual) may help more than you think.

The rule about cross-posting always made perfect sense to me but maybe not to others … if you can get help in one place, more help in two places is better, right? Wrong. First of all, you have to run back & forth from post to post, and make sure you say the same thing in both. That makes more work for you. Then, if you get help in both places, and try to implement both ideas, you may end up doing more harm than good to your system. (PCLinuxOS is easy to install, but I don't want to reinstall every week!) A better method would be to post in one place, so everything is together and in order. That way, if you should ever have to re-visit your solution (for a new computer, maybe) it's all in one spot and all possible solutions are right there. Also, when the solution is found and working, editing your post to 'solved' will help our future newcomers by indicating that there is a solution to that problem. In addition, saying 'Thank You' to the person who helped you is a good way to end your post.

If your post is actually meant to help the person who started the thread, post it. If you are wanting to post about another problem (even if it's similar) please start another thread. If you are wanting to say hello to someone, pm them or post it in the Sandbox and not in the help thread. Ideally, each thread should cover one problem. Staying on-topic helps others who may have the same problem - they won't have to plow through a bunch of 'Hiya, it snowed here' to get to the solution they are hunting for.

Above all (and this is in the rules) — be patient!!! Everyone in the forum is there because they want to be, but the majority of them work full time and have homes, families and other obligations. Your problem is important to be sure, but most of the forum members don't spend all day there … they are working or away from home and haven't gotten the opportunity to get to the forum to see your post. (Also remember that some people live on the other side of the world and are online when you are asleep.) As hard as it is, please try to wait for a reply or take a break. Do some more searching and come back to the forum the next day - your reply might be there.

Remember the guy who said they all 'sucked'? We're better people than that! The rules are there to make the forum helpful and enjoyable for all. Following these simple rules will help keep it that way.