Fedora Channel FAQ
The Fedora Channel FAQ, or how to maximize the support you receive from IRC. Users should check the resources here to enable a more enjoyable experience in #fedora.
There is a very good chance that the problem you are experiencing has been resolved in the latest Fedora release. For users of older Fedora versions that are End of Life, please consider upgrading to a newer version. You can get community support for older versions at #Fedora-EOL.
Keep to Fedora-provided packages
Please use the packages Fedora provides. Deviating from these can render your system unstable or introduce bugs. You should exercise caution before adding software from third-parties, especially unpackaged software. Please let people who are trying to help you know when you have added such packages.
Chat in your native language
There are also support channels in languages other than English available. These channels are named as #fedora-cc, where "cc" is the country code. There are also other Fedora channels used by specific groups within Fedora. For more information about other channels and languages, please visit the communication page.
It is also very important to understand that using excessive punctuation isn't necessary as well. If you ask a question and use 10 ?'s after it doesn't automatically mean everyone is going to jump up and start answering your question just because you feel it to be so very urgent. The best way to handle things is to type your sentences/questions just as if you would in real life on paper or something similar. Excessive punctuation only draws attention to you as being in a hurry and sometimes it's even considered rude. One exclamation point(!) or one question mark(?) is plenty of punctuation to get your point across. Using the enter key or "lol" as punctuation should also be avoided.
Always look for your own answers first.
Showing others you are actively trying to solve your own problem(s) increases the chances someone will be willing to help you out and decreases any irritation you may receive or inadvertently transfer to others. There are may places to look for help prior to going to the Fedora channel, such as Google, FedoraOS, FedoraSolved, CommonBugs and FedoraForum. Many of the basic questions that are asked in the Fedora channel can be answered from those sites.
Be observant of information given to others and yourself, people do not like to repeat themselves when you can just as easily scroll up and re-read what was typed to others or yourself. Also, do not use "leet talk" such as "1d107" or heavily abbreviated words such as "hlp plz" or similar forms of "communication". This does not help you and will most likely turn off any potential help you might otherwise receive.
Keep a History
Keep a logical and accurate history of the troubleshooting efforts you've already attempted and in what order (i.e. don't repeat steps that have proven fruitless). Keep a notepad next to your computer or open a text editor:
- To help you remember complex tasks you've completed.
- For keeping detailed troubleshooting records
- To create your own succinct text help files.
Memory retention is far greater when we combine the physical act of writing with the visual stimulus of seeing what we have written; (i.e. Self-Programming). Periodically, review what you've written to refresh your memory. Use what you've learned to help others with the same problems. Helping others helps you remember as well, help pass knowledge on. This is more respectful of others time and your own. Showing respect for others time and effort is more likely to get you the help you are looking for. People want to help those who can get along with others and use common sense. Remember, people are donating their time, money, and other resources to help you.
The #fedora channel can sometimes move at a fast pace, especially on release day, so it's best to remain on-topic and avoid large pastes. If you need to paste information consisting of more than one line, please use fpaste. All off topic conversation should be directed to #fedora-social. The old adage 'you catch more flies with honey' could not be more true on the net. Here you are judged by what you type and by what your reactions are to what is typed to you. Don't accuse, bait or otherwise cause disturbances in help forums such as IRC; it's you that will be remembered negatively.
There is absolutely nothing worse than any type of away message that generates noise. Especially on a busy channel, where such a thing can result in instant banning. Generally, it's in your best interests to turn off all broadcasting "aways" that your IRC client may have. When using a new IRC client, before connecting to a server or going away, you should check to make sure that your away message settings are all set to silent. Especially since a few popular IRC clients come with away message broadcasting enabled by default. Now that I've told you all of this, I'm sure that I shouldn't even have to mention that switching your name based on your various periods of inactivity can also be rather annoying, especially when overused.
Constantly changing your nick to let us know what you are doing is just as annoying as using an away message. It is not necessary that we know that you are going to the bathroom by changing your nick to John-Doe-Bathroom or that you have wondered outside to check the mail by changing your nick to John-Doe-Postalbox. No matter what you do, nick changes you perform show directly into the channel and get very annoying to see constantly. If you are going to be away from the computer, simply use an away message that does not announce when you do /away Gone to the channels you are in. Pick a nick and stick with it for as long as you shall live. Or if you want to constantly change nicks, do it BEFORE you get into the channel or AFTER you leave the channel. Buffer space is quite precious and doesn't need to be filled with: John-Doe is away or John-Doe is now known as John-Doe-Bathroom.
On IRC, it's very important for users to be able to understand what you're saying, so, obviously, sp43k1ng with symbols and numbers in the place of letters is not a very good thing to do if you really want to be taken seriously. Using painfully bad grammar and ridiculous amounts of nothing but smiles generally go along with l33t speak and both practices are frowned on.
"Flaming" is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion. It's the kind of message that makes people respond, "Oh come on, tell us how you really feel." Tact is not its objective. Topics that lead to flame wars are discussions about other Distributions or Window Managers, this is not the channel for that type of discussion, it leads to arguments and unfairly monopolizes bandwidth from users that need legitimate help.
When asking for help, try to listen to one person at a time. Often, there are several ways to accomplish the same task. If you try accepting information from more than one person you may quickly become confused and experience errors, conflicting information or be unable to proceed. It is ok to try different methods but you should try to stick with one at a time so that you can understand each method's process, benefits and weaknesses. Also, when accepting advice, follow the instructions of the person giving it. Listen to them respectfully; don't go off on your own tangents typing commands that weren't asked for or giving incorrect responses. This is extremely frustrating, disrespectful and will most often lead to people no longer willing to help you with your issue.
When posing a question, your best bet is to paste all pertinent information on fpaste, dpaste, or phpfi. Then, give a brief synopsis of your problem in the channel with a link to your pasted errors and other information. Pay attention to the information your receive, if someone is abusive or unhelpful, simply ignore them and do not respond at all, or report them to the operators in #fedora-ops. Fighting or arguing with others (even if you believe you're right) will only make you look bad and unnecessarily complicate your issue. This is the internet, let it go.
Poll and be Banned
Bringing up topics in an IRC Channel which require personal opinions are highly discouraged as they tend to degenerate into flame wars. Such questions include "Which is a better desktop environment KDE or Gnome?", "Which audio player is better Audacious or Amarok?" users who initiate those types of questions are considered to be polling. In the #fedora channel people that continually pose those types of questions may be asked to leave the channel.
Avoid Open Ended or Over general questions
Avoid asking questions that are over-general. Questions such as "Does anyone use <insert software>?" or "Are their any <insert software> Gurus here?" or "Did they fix the bug in <insert software>?". Be specific in your question. Describe the exact bug/issue or provide links to bugs you are referring to. This will allow people who occasionally help in the channel to assist you and not dismiss your question as being too vague to assist with.
Support for US Embargoed Nations
If you from a nation that is embargoed from the US (see http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Embargoed_nations ), you should note to the channel that you are in one of those nations. Some helpers may choose to not provide you support for legal or ethical reasons. Others may choose to do so. While you are welcome to ask your questions in #fedora, you may get better support in a region specific channel. See http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Communicate#International for a list of such channels.
Typically there will be channel operators monitoring the channel and helping folks follow the guidelines. If however, you note some behavior that requires IMMEDIATE operator help, you can use the '@ops' command to alert any active operators to take a look at the channel. Please use this command only when there is a problem with behavior in the channel, not to seek support.
A special thanks goes to Opsec of FedoraOs.org for generating some of the information found on this page.