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Best way/s to ask for advice in a new thread(long, boring,prob. annoying to newbies).

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not_ally

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This sounds cranky, but it really isn’t. It is specifically *not* posted in response to anything here currently, rather, it summarizes notes from my soaping journal a while ago that I thought I might post at a time where there was no ongoing discussions/examples of any of these things, so I did not inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings. I have asked *so* many questions here myself I think I have some useful insights about how to do it :)

Re line: try to phrase a short one that still summarizes your question. Eg; “What should I do” [question continued in post] is a problem b/c sometimes someone might *know* the exact answer and have been willing to offer it, but is too busy to click on the post because the re line tells them nothing, so they will never know that you had it in the first place. I ran out of space myself on this one (I know, it is all crammed up), so I get how hard it is.

Formulas/process: Asking general questions about a soap which has gone wrong very rarely provides enough details to respond thoughtfully on what might have happened. If you have one, always provide as much information as you can on how you made it.

At minimum, a recipe, including amounts/percentages of oils/lye/water/anything else. The best thing here is to cut and paste the recipe from whatever calculator you are using. If you think there might be something else relevant (additives, ambient soaping conditions), that is good too, espec. since that won’t show up in the calc printout. Also a picture, if the problem has a visual aspect.

Following on this, what process is at issue? Ie; HP or CP? O/w some helpful soaper might spend a bunch of time typing up info which is not helpful to you. Usually it is possible to guess from the post (even if unstated) but more info is better than less in that regard.

Make it easy to read. Proof read, avoid run on sentences and paragraphs (w/long ones, break them up into easily readable chunks), no caps, italics, bold, etc. unless you really, really mean it (“YOU DON’T HAVE TO SHOUT AT ME, I WILL GET IT AT NORMAL FONT SIZE!”). For me making things easy for others to read is v. important, but I am a cranky so-and-so in this respect, I admit.

I know that I am really bad about writing run-on sentences myself, so I try not to be (even it if requires going back and editing later), and also to be careful in being explicit/making my responses easy to read/understand. Even more so w/questions, where I am asking for peoples’ help and want to make it as easy for them to give it to me as I can, since they are doing me a favor.

If posts are too hard to read/figure out (unless I can tell there is an actual language issue, ie; non-native English speaker, then I will work harder) I sometimes just skip replying, even if I think I might have useful information. I don’t like it when posts make my brain/eyes hurt.

Politeness/come back w/results. V. occasionally – this really does not happen a lot here, people are pretty polite – I see a post that asks for a good deal of information, generates careful, well-thought out responses, and then the OP never comes back to say “thanks, y’all”, “so, this is what ended up happening”, or anything else. Until the next time they start a thread, on something new/different, and the same thing happens.

These people tend to be repeat offenders, they are not really interested in being forum members, just getting good advice as fast as they can and with as little effort possible (to themselves) as they can. That is well and good, but if I remember their names I am not v. motivated to respond.

Sorry if this turned into a rant-like thing, I promise I did not mean it to be.

ETA: See, the editing thing, I did warn. I don't want to discourage posts from newer people, the opposite, they are what keeps the board alive. I just want them to get as many responses as possible.
 
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Obsidian

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Another thing that really helps is to answer all questions that board members ask. I've seen posts where multiple people ask the OP a simple question like what is your recipe or how hot did you soap only to have it not answered, sometimes for multiple pages.

This is one thing that will turn me away from a thread faster then anything else. If the OP can't be bothered to answer questions, then why should we be bothered to help?
 

kchaystack

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This is a great start. I keep meaning to sit down and go thru the first several pages on the beginners forum and collate all the questions and write up a FAQ, with links to specific posts with the best answer(s).

Of course work and life seem to have other plans for me. But some day darn it, some day.
 

not_ally

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Phew, I am relieved, I was afraid that it would seem rant-y. Also that someone would go through and carefully edit all my mistakes to teach me a lesson. I saw a bunch of them myself just now, but am so tired of editing the darn thing that unless they make something hard to understand I have decided to give up :smile:
 

not_ally

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OMG, Sea, is that an actual post? I have to say, despite my OP, that is so funny I am kind of glad to read it :)
 

galaxyMLP

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Or the one where the subject line was : ?????

I think it was changed/edited. That was a little while ago. The actual post was good if I recall correctly.
 
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TwystedPryncess

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I love the 'please reply with a' thank you' post. I hope in any I have posted I have not neglected to do this. If I have please let me know. I am huge on appreciation, though, for one thing, and two, it is a way for the poster to communicate that they are paying attention to the replies. (I did let one of my threads go for a bit cause ya'll were having fun with it. I'll post here that to see that was more gratitude than the answers themselves, btw.)
 

navigator9

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Not ranty at all. Very clear and informative. And if I'm guilty of too many run on sentences, (which I may be guilty of, since I tend to write like I talk), feel free to give me an elbow or something!

smilie_brutal_407.gif
 

Deedles

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I agree completely! As a newbie to soaping, but not to forums, I try to search the site for answers before I ask. The sticky at the top about how to search was very useful. I know how aggravating it can be to see the same question that was just answered a few posts away.

As a newbie, I don't want to complain but there is a few things that make understanding things a little more work. One is the language. I realize I have a whole other language to learn! I've printed out the list of anagrams and other info. I keep it within sight and use it often. I know I'll eventually get it but in the meantime I sometimes misunderstand and ask really stupid questions! I'm sure others newbies will agree, sometimes I get so excited to learn it all that everything I'm thinking about just spills out without a filter!

However, I see lots of posts by non-newbies with what I can only describe as texting abbreviations, such a v for very for an example. On first read it's hard to tell if it means very or versus. There are others, I just can't bring them to mind right now. This is a pet peeve of mine across the whole internet, not just here.

As I said, this isn't a complaint, just urging you all to have a little patience with a newbie! I greatly appreciate the time you all take to share your vast knowledge.
 

not_ally

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I love the 'please reply with a' thank you' post. I hope in any I have posted I have not neglected to do this.
Pryncess, I know that I have done this myself once or twice. I still have guilt about a "Why LS rather than CP/HP?" post that I never got back to b/c I became distracted with other things.

But the times that I have done that, I hope that people here know me well enough to forgive me. A poster who only shows up to post threads asking for help and then decamps w/o further responses does not have that leeway. You and I are not that person.

Nav, I don't think I ever remember you writing a run-on sentence, I think you are pretty safe from elbowing, unlike me :)

Deedles, I also do not remember ever reading one of your posts and thinking that you ever asked something stupid or ticked the box on any of the issues I mentioned. I have always liked your posts. I know that there are a lot of soaping abbreviations used here, but so many people think in soaping language that it becomes automatic, please never hesitate to ask.

Also, I am one of the offenders regarding using regular abbrevations (v. for very, b/c for because, w/r/t for with respect to, etc.) because I am used to doing it other contexts where they are more common, immediately understood, and again, become automatic. I will try not to do it here. I had to go back and remove a b/c from this post!
 
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not_ally

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There really is *no* stupid question, in the soap world or in real life. I went to school for a fair amount of time, and think I irritated my fellow students b/c I would always, always, worry away at something I did not understand until I did. And then would come up w/some kind of conclusion that only provided joy to me and the professor, everyone else was asleep at that point :)
 

TwystedPryncess

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I often can come across as kind of dumb on very simple things because my brain refuses to follow simple directions a lot of the time. It wants to run right past them and twist things and turn them and ask 'but what if we did it this way' questions. I kind of dislike being programmed that way at that level, but I am me. All twisted up. Haha. So in new things, I can aggravate my mentors. (One reason I just read about soaping for months before I picked up anything.)
 

Belizeanswirl

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I've lurked for a very long time before I decided to actually join. What I enjoy the most,are the threads from when this forum first started, everyone was a newbie at some point.
 
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