View Full Version : Forum Posting Guidelines

11-13-2011, 08:45 AM
The best way to get help in this forum is to ask your questions in a way that makes it easiest for us to give you help. Consider the following to be a series of informal guidelines for posting questions.

Before you post:

Before you ask questions of others, it is respectful to put forth some effort in solving the issue yourself. It is generally faster for you (if your question has already been answered) and it keeps down the number of redundant or simple questions the forums receive. To this end, you should do the following before asking a question:

1: There are many good sources of information on OpenGL available on the web. You should check these before posting.

There are reference pages (https://www.khronos.org/registry/OpenGL-Refpages/) available covering the OpenGL API.
The OpenGL Wiki (https://www.khronos.org/opengl/wiki/Main_Page) is a good source of information. Pages of interest include the FAQ (https://www.khronos.org/opengl/wiki/FAQ), Common Problems (https://www.khronos.org/opengl/wiki/Common_Mistakes), and Getting Started (https://www.khronos.org/opengl/wiki/Getting_Started) pages.

2: Google is your friend. Or Bing, if you prefer. Or whatever searching service you prefer; it doesn’t matter. It would be best for all involved if your question could not be answered via a simple search based on the terms you’re interested in.

3: Search the forum. The OpenGL forums have an extensive search function, and the forums have been around for years. It is very possible that your question has been asked and answered before. Make use of those search abilities before posting (but don’t post in the thread you find unless it is a recent thread).

4: This forum is an OpenGL forum, not a general coding forum. So try to focus your question(s) on OpenGL matters. Questions should be about the OpenGL API, issues around the API (WGL/GLX matters), shaders, or something directly related to those things. Questions generally about graphics matters related to OpenGL are fine. General graphics questions are also acceptable, though OpenGL should be involved at some point.

5: This is an OpenGL forum, not an OpenGL ES or WebGL forum. While ES is a similar specification to desktop OpenGL, it is not exactly the same. Forum users are more likely to be able to answer desktop OpenGL questions than ES questions. You can certainly ask questions about these things, but if you do, please state up-front that you are asking questions about ES or WebGL. Also, you are more likely to get ES (https://forums.khronos.org/forumdisplay.php/70-OpenGL-ES) or WebGL (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/webgl) help by asking on the Khronos forums dedicated to those subjects or on Stack Overflow.

6: Is your question about a homework assignment? If so, remember that the purpose of homework is to help you learn. It does you no good to be told the answer to a homework assignment. Also, this is cheating, which is generally frowned upon in academic institutions.

Posting Guidelines:

1: Use a clear thread title. A good thread title should be a very short summary of the problem. For example, if your problem seems to be with textures, then the word “texture” should be somewhere in the title. Titles probably should be 8 words or less, though more can be used when necessary.

There is also no need to use words like “please help” or “urgent” in your thread title. By posting in the forum, you are already asking for help; simply state what the problem is. And people will generally not quickly flock to your thread just because you claim that it is urgent.

2: Put your question in the correct forum area. There is a text description for what each forum area is for, so this should not be particularly difficult.

The platform-specific forums are not for users working on a particular platform. They are for issues related specifically to that platform. So you should not ask a question in the Windows forum just because you are developing a Windows application. Only ask there if you are having issues setting up an OpenGL window on Windows. If you are using FreeGLUT or a similar toolkit that abstracts platform dependent issues, then you probably should not be posting in a platform-specific forum.

The most vexing issue is probably the difference between the “Beginners” forum and the “Advanced” forum. The distinction is not simple, and generally you’ll get help in either one. A good rule of thumb is that if you don’t feel comfortable with OpenGL as a whole yet, then your question probably should go to “Beginners”.

3: Do not post the same thread in multiple forum areas. This is called "cross-posting," and is not necessary for you to get help. If you make a post in the wrong forum area, only post again in the right one if people have not already started to comment on your current one. Also, lack of comments is not a sign that you have posted in the wrong area, so there is no need to post in “Advanced” if you didn't get a response in “Beginners”.

4: Clearly state your problem in your text. Make sure to include all relevant details. If you have only written single paragraph, that’s probably not enough detail. A single sentence is completely out of the question. While overdoing the detail is possible, it’s better to put too much detail in than not enough detail.

Never just say “it doesn’t work;” that is almost never helpful, nor is writing a single sentence and posting a block of code. What you don’t want to do is engage in dueling dialog, where the first responder asks for clarification, you provide an additional detail, they ask for more clarification, and so on.

To this end, your post should include:

What the problem you’re having is.
What the results you expect to see are.
What you are actually seeing, and how it differs from what you expect to see.

Use pictures if it makes it easier to understand the issues around the problem. The more relevant information you provide (to a point), the more likely the forum users are to be able to solve your problem.

5: Supply all relevant information about your setup and system. This includes:

State your OS, graphics card, and driver version. At a minimum, include the results of glGetString for GL_VENDOR, GL_VERSION, and GL_RENDERER.
State up front whether you are using shaders (if you don’t know, then you aren’t). If so, state what kind of shaders you are using (glslang, Cg, ARB assembly, etc), as well as version information about which version of shaders you are using.
State if you are writing to core OpenGL 3.2 or above.
State whether you are using a toolkit like GLUT, GLFW, etc. Also, stop using GLUT; use FreeGLUT instead.
State if you are using a language other than C/C++. We can certainly work with other languages, but it's important to know up front what you are refering to.

6: Do not post in old threads. If your search on this site unearthed a thread with a similar question to yours, but that thread hasn’t been posted in for more than 6 months, resist the urge to post in that thread, no matter how appropriate it may seem. Simply make a new thread; it will decrease confusion for readers of the thread. If you need to refer back to the old one, post a link in your description.

7: Do not request private help. Specifically, do not ask a question openly in the forum, then provide your email address and tell people to mail you the answer.

The purpose of a discussion forum is to discuss things openly. This allows everyone to share in the discussion as well as allowing everyone to share in the results. By asking for private help, you are taking away from the forum without giving back. As you might imagine, this is quite impolite.

Something similar goes for private messages. Do not post a thread and then private message forum members as a way of advertising it.

8: Do not simply post a link to your question on another website/forum/etc. Post the entirety of your question here. It is fine to post links to images or code, but the actual explanation of your issue should be in the post itself.

Formatting your post:

Proper formatting is always a good idea. If someone can’t read your post, they can’t answer your question.

1: Avoid net-speak and use reasonable English. Common mistakes include:

Using “u” instead of “you”, or similar improper contractions.
Not capitalizing the word “I” or the first letter of sentences.
The use of multiple exclamation points or question marks at the end of a sentence.
The use of ellipsis marks (...) instead of periods.

2: Paragraphs should have an empty line between them. Also, paragraphs should usually consist of more than one sentence. Putting each sentence on a paragraph is not necessary and makes the post difficult to read.

3: Word wrapping is automatic. You do not need to manually word wrap by pressing <enter> at the end of a line.

Posting source code:

It is perfectly fine to post source code. The important question is which code and how much to post. Knowing which code is relevant is not exactly easy when you don’t know how things work and what exactly is wrong. It’s a catch-22: if you post too much code, most people won’t bother sifting through it to find your problem. But if you don’t post enough code, then they’ll have to ask you to post more since the problem doesn’t appear to be in what you posted. You will have to use your own judgement to decide which source to post.

If you do post code, make sure to properly format it. Always use code tags. These tags look like this:
code goes here [/CODE ], except without the space between the ‘e’ and the ‘]’ of the tags. Properly formatted code looks like this:

void some_func()

Make sure that the source code is properly tab indented. You don’t need to use any particular indentation style, but you need to have some kind of indentation to make it easier to read. Just copy and paste it directly from your source files. Also, when pasting, make sure that extra line spaces don't come out in the pasted code. Sometimes, you get effects like this:

void some_func()




Use the preview button to check to see if the code came out correctly.

Users will generally assume your code is either C or C++. If it is not, then you should say so in the text preceding the source code.

If you are having trouble with shaders, post them as well. Make sure that the version of the shader language in question is clearly stated, either in the shader code with a #version statement or somewhere in your text.

Special thanks to Alfonse and all the other users who were instrumental in building these guidelines.

10-09-2014, 10:51 PM
Hi, Just got back for several months of absence here. I really appreciate these forum guidelines for me to review all the necessary options and rules you have before browsing and posting on many interesting topics on this site. Thanks for your help by sharing a few points here. I'm so glad to be back! :)

10-29-2014, 07:01 PM
Hello, I'm new on this forum. :) The best forum on computer programming! :D