Being a member of Embarcadero’s TeamB, as well as just being a benevolent kind of person, I frequent Embarcadero’s forums, reading posts that may have some value to me, answering some questions, and even posting questions myself.

TeamB is a volunteer support group; i.e. members of TeamB read posts and answer questions voluntarily. Lately I’ve decided to further qualify whether I will consider answering a question. If I’m going to make an effort to look into an issue, I feel it is reasonable for the question to have a certain level of information.

To have some kind of success at programming, developers should understand what is involved in resolving unexpected behaviour in their applications.  For example, if the application is being run with debugging, and the application throws an error, the IDE will usually stop near where the error occurred, therefore the developer could indicate this in their question.  In this situation a developer should at least provide some example code, and indicate where the error happens.

Even better would be to provide a call stack at the point of error. This is easy enough to do, by clicking View|Debug Windows|Call Stack or by pressing Ctrl-Alt-S. When the Call Stack Window has focus, pressing Ctrl-A and Ctrl-C puts the whole call stack on the clipboard, which could be then pasted into the question post.

Developers should also understand that it is easier for others to determine what the error is if an exact error message is supplied, so saying something like “my app crashed”, or “an error occurred” is likely to be completely useless statement.

Using some of the information I’ve indicated that should be provided (e.g. the exact error message), going to Google and typing in those terms may even turn up an answer before a question even needs to be posted on the forums.

Saying “I tried to do x, but I received an error” is far from helpful. If a developer wants to achieve something from programming, they should learn that some effort is required to find answers, otherwise they’re just wasting their time.