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How to help others to help you.

Started by jenkinhill, July 03, 2012, 23:58:11 PM

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This was first posted by Forest in the VM1.1 forum. It is just as relevant on this board, after a couple of edits.

Why has nobody answered my question?

If you find that other community members are NOT ANSWERING your question(s), you may want to consider this:

  • Maybe it's a weekend?
  • If you don't state which versions of VirtueMart & Joomla you use then you are far less likely to get a reply. So ALWAYS mention the version numbers. See

  • This is a peer support forum. Nobody, not even VirtueMart "staff",  is paid to answer questions here, you are relying on other VirtueMart users to give up some of their own free time to provide a possible solution or comment.

  • Did you give a detailed description of your issue, and did you give it in clear English?
    Most forum users will ignore a question they cannot understand

    • The more details you can provide and the more time you take to carefully review your problem, the more likely you are to get a fast and correct response.
    • Posting your question in English will help get a faster response as well, since this is the primary common language on this site. You can use Google Translate, to translate your language to English, if you don't write English well.
    • Consider whether providing a screenshot or site URL is of benefit or even necessary for community users to help you troubleshoot or understand your issue.

  • Do not ask more than one question in a forum message. If you use a title like "Three questions about VM" then you are very likely to be ignored. Other members will not spend time on multiple questions, especially as they may only know the answer to one of the queries.
  • Did you wait long enough for a reply? Don't "Bump" your message unnecessarily. If you have not been responded to in 24-72 hours, this does not mean you should BUMP your message (add comments like "bump", "hello?", "anyone", etc). When I get to reviewing unread threads, I'm scanning for threads having "0" response (people who have not been helped). But if you've bumped your message before I or another member gets to reviewing new unread messages, then it appears though you may have been helped! (responses 1, or 2). I may not enter your thread at all due to this. So give it time, and after 4-5 days, you may decide to bump it. Or better, search the forum more rigorously! Also remember that members are in different time zones, so it could be a minimum of (say) 18hrs before any member even views your question.
    Impatient bump messages may be removed.
  • Are you asking a question that is already answered on this Forum on in the Virtuemart Documentation? Many questions have been answered, and typically many times over. CSS / Layout issues, checkout issues, itemid issues, SSL, and many more have several threads / answers. DO NOT EXPECT other community members to take their free time answering you because you have not taken your own time to SEARCH THE FORUM / DOCUMENTATION carefully, rigorously before making your post. The best rule of thumb is to ASSUME the question has already been asked, or the problem has already been encountered, and someone (or many) has already posted about it. Likely you have not stumbled onto something entirely new.
  • Did you post your question in the right section, or thread, or forum? You're best bet of getting the right answer quickly is to make sure you have posted your question in the right place!

    • After carefully searching the forum, you'll likely find a thread that already exists which is pertinent to your question.
      Posting your question in this relevant thread, rather than creating a new one, will help you get results faster.
    • Likewise, if you are using another component, or hack, etc and have questions with it's operation, find existing threads from the developer or even visit the developer's website to look for a forum on their site.
    • Additionally, determine whether your question is Virtuemart related or Joomla related. If your questions or concerns are directly with the Virtuemart component, modules, or plugins your at the right place. However, adding content pages, Joomla menus, editors, and many others will be Joomla questions, best asked and searched for here:

  • Did you name your new thread appropriately? When I scan new posts, I'm looking at names of threads 1st. Typically I don't bother with threads I cannot provide help on for lack of knowledge, and likewise, am apt to respond to a thread who's title is relevant to subjects I can help on.

    • Did you make sure your new thread's name has a good summary of your problem?
    • Avoid non-descriptive words like "I have a problem", "Need Help", "Can I do this?", etc. What does that tell anyone? Of course you likely need help or have a question.
    • Avoid using this title to display urgency, such as "Urgent", "Please HELP me!!!". Doesn't everyone want their questions to be a priority?

  • Are you asking for a specific functionality or addition only related to the current project you are working on? If you are asking a question about added functionality currently not supported by Virtuemart, and most users would not need/use the functionality, then you are asking for someone to give their time to program for you. Before you ask:

    • Check the Virtuemart Extensions Directory:
    • Check the Joomla Extensions Directory:
    • Search this forum for a  solution another member has posted for your use!
    • Or post the request in the Commercial Projects section, and be willing to pay a VM programmer to complete the customization request.

  • Did you Private Message? Some forum members may take your PM, but this is NOT THE PREFERRED METHOD. Your message may be ignored unless you've  had previous dialog which required you to PM. Many problems and solutions handled via PM could and should have been made available to the public, as the issue may relate to and help other users (like you!) later. Unless you have very good cause, as a general rule I recommend you stay away from troubling older members via PM. Likewise, another member may have the solution you need!, and PM does not allow them to know you need help.

  • Lastly, if all above fails, this usually means no one is able to help you at this time. Please remember, Virtuemart is a COMMUNITY driven, FREE product which depends on the contribution of people, like you. If you can't find help here, you may want to consider:

    • Alternative methods to what you're looking to achieve in design or functionality
    • Researching CSS, PHP, HTML, Javacsript, and/or AJAX and attempt the change yourself
    • Hiring a programmer to achieve the task(s)

    If you are successful in your venture, PLEASE SHARE it with us here by helping others who are having problems.
Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK

Retired from forum life November 2023

Please mention your VirtueMart, Joomla and PHP versions when asking a question in this forum