How to ask questions effectively on blenderartists.org support forum

New to the forum? Welcome
Here is a quick tutorial to help you ask questions on blenderartists.org support forum. The way you communicate has a big impact on how fast you get answers and most importantly, how clear and helpful those answers are.

Quickest way to get an answer is to find one that is already posted. Try Google search with syntaxkeywords site:blenderartists.org

and you can find earlier posts that might answer your question. Use search tools to limit the time period.

No luck? Think what you want to ask and select correct category for your question on the support forum. Quickly check recent threads in that category so that you’re not about to ask a question someone else just asked.
Continue to prepare your starting post. Take your time to present your questions clearly, because you want the first reply to be helpful instead of the 15th one. Here is an example (click on the image to see it full size):


The best thing you can do to get fast and clear answers is to include a .blend file in the starting post. That way others have the means to find out what causes the problems and produce visuals when they answer. If you have one, prepare it for upload. Here’s how:


More detailed instructions on how to

Preach it brother JA12!!

Probably the most important part is the title of the thread. Remember, you are advertising for eyeballs, but not just any eyeballs. You want to find people who have had and solved a similar problem, and can point out what you can do to solve it. There are literally hundreds of new posts in the forums every day. Titles like “Help me!” or “Newbie Problem” don’t give people any idea of whether they can do anything for you without first opening the post.

If I had to chose between a post titled “Rigify makes bottom half of character scrunch up” vs “Noob rigger needs advice” I’d pick the scrunched up character thread in a heartbeat, because I’ve had that problem and figured out what was wrong, and I know exactly what to tell that poor guy to solve his problem right quick. So I’ll take five minutes, read the post, answer the question, and feel good that I’ve paid forward some of the invaluable advice the old timers gave me when I was new here. Also, posting an answer in a thread that other people can find easily by looking at a good title is an additional benefit.

The second most important is to find the right support forum. For example, I don’t use Blender to make games, so I routinely skip posts in any of the Game Engine Forums. I don’t have the relevant experience or interest. So if you have a modeling or rigging problem, and you post it in a Game Engine forum because you intend to make a game, I’ll never even look at it.

Hehe, thank you.
Although I did a lot of work to prevent preaching to the point it’s no longer helpful (too long). I first started to write and produce visuals where I told all the steps, examples and reasons how and why to do it. The text part was so long that even I didn’t want to read it, not to mention going through all the visuals I planned to include.
I then gave it a rethink and also asked others for suggestions and came up with that style. Images I posted are 6th iteration, where everything is reduced to include the main point only, and visual appearance is adjusted to that.
I hope it’s not too long but still sends the right messages and reaches the right people.

Hopefully people read this! I don’t know why, but I’ve been irritated lately seeing so many threads moved because they aren’t in the right section or are duplicates of threads from the day before!!!

I think I’ll be linking to this quite often. Awesome work!

Might make more sense to put it where poor posts are mistakenly posted, like Blender and CG Discussion. If they have scrolled all the way down to the support forums, at least they are looking for an appropriate place to post.

Thanks guys. Suggestions and feedback are always welcomed.
I’m not sure how to get the message across effectively (of course it’s mostly out of my hands too at this point), but I’m humbled that the “tutorial” is even considered to be of sticky quality.

There is one concern about this suggestion (pointed out by another member), which is that having this as sticky on the wrong subforum might have an opposite effect. Seeing the title on top might make users think it’s the right one for questions.

Many don’t check what’s in sticky threads and in case of this tutorial, it doesn’t point out clearly enough where support questions go if this were on another subforum. I prepared an image and also wrote how and why to select the correct subforum, but it was one of the first things I took out. That is because I tried to pack the main points tightly enough so that even people with a very little patience would read it. (I still think it’s too long for that, but the line has to be drawn somewhere).

Title can be changed and I can change the tutorial if requested. Although I’d like to default against adding things without taking something out, unless there is a good reason for it.

This MUST be stickied!

I think it’s time we had a Forums: Support: Read This Before Posting Your Question section. Posts like this and others could go in there to make it clear it’s in everyone’s interest to follow these suggestions.

Are you saying no smiles? Oh my! What will we do? I say we lash them with a whip. This place is like high school.:smiley: There is is my first smiley.

Yes. I don’t mind a smiley here and there, but since clarity is the key when asking questions, I thought it would be best to put a forbidden sign over the smilies. That is for those who don’t know when it’s appropriate to use one and limit the amount to one/expression.

That is related to writing style/language/formatting part of the tutorial I wanted to include but took that out too. This is an international forum and I think there is nothing wrong in using plain english when the purpose is to be as clear as possible.
It’s not about being a grammar nazi. If english is not your first language, use correct english to the extent of your ability to get your message across. If english is your native language, do the decent thing and use your language correctly so that those less fortunate can understand what you’re saying without an extra effort (and without learning bad english in the process).
In either case, use visuals for pointing out crucial parts of your message. Using more words and emphasizing part of it is nothing compared to the effectiveness of clear visuals.

When asking questions on the support forum, the purpose usually is to ask others to spend their time and try to help, without receiving money in return. It’s not only what you say that communicates things to whoever reads it but also how you say it, affecting their decision if they’re going to spend their time answering you or not.
Get that part horribly wrong and they might happily spend that time telling you exactly what kind of a moron you are, instead of answering your questions. Examples

[TABLE=“width: 500, align: left”]

Written text
What it tells to the reader

My m8 told me about bledner & its awsum <3 lol
This person needs professional help that has nothing to do with 3D.

I’m trying to move the cube but everything else moves with it :smiley: I’ve tried to find what causes this for an hour now :smiley:
Since you’re laughing, it’s clearly not that important. I’ll go check another thread.

I’m using an image TEXTURE that I’ve connected to diffuse SHADER but I want to use ANOTHER one as a bump MAP.
You’re using uppercase to emphasize normal words, and even the wrong ones. If you were to talk to me like that face to face, I would punch you.

I’m using an “image texture” that I’ve connected to diffuse shader but I want to use ANOTHER one as a “bump map”.
You’re using all means you can find to emphasize half of what you’re saying. If you were to talk to me like that face to face, I would stab you.

I’m using an image texture that I’ve connected to diffuse shader but I want to use another one as a bump map. How do I do this?
Oh. This is a very common question and I already have links to visuals in my browser history. You’re getting your answer within next 10 seconds.

[/TABLE]

That’s very usefull so people wanting help will understand how to maximise their chances in getting help.

But unfortunately i don’t think it will do much good if that thread is staying in the tutorial board, because with time and new tutorial being posted, the thread will fall in 2nd page, then 3rd page etc… and the people that should see it the most will then miss it.

I think this thread should be a sticky in every of the support boards on Blenderartist, this way the people asking questions will be able to check it easily.

This should be a sticky for the support forums :yes: :slight_smile: (I’m not asking a question so I can use smileys right? :stuck_out_tongue: (oh darn, I am…))

I reported Sanctuary’s post to the moderators and asked if they would consider informing people to ask questions better on the support forum. This tutorial doesn’t need to be the one that does that, but I think some guidance is needed in some form or another. I hope they assess the situation and options.

Sorry ctdabomb, I reported yours too because you’re using too many smilies. The penalty for that is virtual spanking :stuck_out_tongue:

I join above posters and endorse the stickyness of this thread

I would appreciate if people dropped some more feedback. If the tutorial helped you in communicating your questions better (or worse?) on the support forum, I would like to hear from you.
All feedback is great, but I’m especially interested in negative feedback. The tutorial is intentionally compressed and I would like to know if something needs to be changed.

I’m also thinking of showing what kind of visuals to post but that doesn’t feel right. It’s a forum about visual arts so I shouldn’t need to do that, and it might sound condescending.
.blend file is often more important than images that support the text part anyway, and the file shouldn’t be omitted with or without the images… I don’t know.

Something i think would be very useful is to expand the “attach the blend” part.

I can’t count the amount of time someone new was saying that the attach function wasn’t working for them for some reason (could be too low postcount, browser settings not compatible with the attach scripts, or whatever else can happen) and was totally lost in how to provide a blend for their problems.

And so elaborating a bit more about http://www.pasteall.org/blend/ and how it works (as from what i got in PM it is not as intuitive to use for people not used to it as i thought) would certainly help a lot of those new users.

Thank you for the suggestions. I’ll add these as separate posts and link in the original. I already had most of the images prepared for these instructions anyway, might as well include them.

All uploaded files are handled as attachments

  • Attached files show up as a list of files in your post, or
  • you can choose to show them as inline attachments, which show up within the text
  • Removing inline attachment doesn’t remove it from your attachments list. You can only do that from the attachment manager.

Uploading and attaching a .blend file:


If for some reason you can’t upload your .blend to the forum, you could alternatively use pasteall.org to upload your file and then link to that file in your post.

Uploading a .blend file to pasteall.org: