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Increase the visibility for guidance on posting a well formed question

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Super User
Super User
Posts: 7,401

Increase the visibility for guidance on posting a well formed question

Can we improve the guidance for people posting questions on here.  It seems like every question nowadays either has no test data, or test data attached as files, or images, or just some bits without any structural information.  This makes the question twice as hard to answer as we then have to do work getting the data ready to use, and also have to guess what structure the data is in which can dramatically change the code provided.

 

This Stop Right there bit at the bottom gets ignored all the time.  Maybe a pop up box which in big letters asks if XYZ has been provided, then another are you sure.

PROC Star
Posts: 288

Re: Increase the visibility for guidance on posting a well formed question

That would be great, but I suspect easier said than done. One thing that might facilitate providing data would be to point people to the following macro, which converts a SAS data set into the data step with datalines syntax that will replicate the data:

 

http://blogs.sas.com/content/sastraining/2016/03/11/jedi-sas-tricks-data-to-data-step-macro/

 

In some cases the data will be too large to include in the post, but if they've created a small enough test set, this would allow them a way to paste in their data in a way that would allow responders to use in formulating solutions. 

Super User
Posts: 6,936

Re: Increase the visibility for guidance on posting a well formed question

I'm constantly pointing posters to a similar resource, but the reaction is, er, improvable.

Sometimes I come close to calling names.

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Maxims of Maximally Efficient SAS Programmers
Super User
Posts: 6,936

Re: Increase the visibility for guidance on posting a well formed question

And now I'm really close to calling someone an ********* *****:

https://communities.sas.com/t5/Base-SAS-Programming/flag-is-not-working-if-i-check-the-differnce-bet...

 

I guess the forum should only allow png/jpg (for screenshots) attachments. No sas7bdat, no zip, no Excel. Period. Logs and programs need to be posted with the proper editors.

Maybe that would get through.

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Maxims of Maximally Efficient SAS Programmers
SAS Super FREQ
Posts: 3,476

Re: Increase the visibility for guidance on posting a well formed question

@KurtBremser I certainly understand your frustration. Sometimes the best response I can manage is "Good luck solving your problem," which lets the community know that I am bowing out and moving on to other, less frustrating, threads.
Super User
Super User
Posts: 7,401

Re: Increase the visibility for guidance on posting a well formed question

Yes, Reeza has made a topic about the macro and how to use it at:

https://communities.sas.com/t5/SAS-Communities-Library/How-to-create-a-data-step-version-of-your-dat...

 

(Fallen into my own complaint there haven't I by not posting all the information!).

 

Maybe just a box that appears when Post is clicked.

Community Manager
Posts: 348

Re: Increase the visibility for guidance on posting a well formed question

Thanks for this suggestion. We are looking into ways to help guide the formation of a good question, and we'll keep you updated on our ideas/progress.

 

Related to the different attachment types, we have to allow all of those because the communities are used for a variety of reasons and those file types are useful/helpful in some cases. I know it can be frustrating dealing with incomplete/complicated posts. Sometimes it might be best to cut your losses and move on to a post where you can provide helpful responses without too much fuss.

 

Thanks for a good discussion, all!

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