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Two mailing lists handle general questions about FreeBSD, <literal>FreeBSD-questions</literal> and <literal>FreeBSD-hackers</literal>. In some cases, it is not really clear which group you should ask. The following criteria should help for 99% of all questions, however:
If the question is of a general nature, ask <literal>FreeBSD-questions</literal>. Examples might be questions about installing FreeBSD or the use of a particular <trademark class="registered">UNIX</trademark> utility.
If you think the question relates to a bug, but you are not sure, or you do not know how to look for it, send the message to <literal>FreeBSD-questions</literal>.
If the question relates to a bug, and you are <emphasis>sure</emphasis> that it is a bug (for example, you can pinpoint the place in the code where it happens, and you maybe have a fix), then send the message to <literal>FreeBSD-hackers</literal>.
If the question relates to enhancements to FreeBSD, and you can make suggestions about how to implement them, then send the message to <literal>FreeBSD-hackers</literal>.
There are also a number of other <link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/eresources-mail.html">specialized mailing lists</link>, which caters to more specific interests. The criteria above still apply, and it is in your interest to stick to them, since you are more likely to get good results that way.
Before Submitting a Question
You can (and should) do some things yourself before asking a question on one of the mailing lists:
Try solving the problem on your own. If you post a question which shows that you have tried to solve the problem, your question will generally attract more positive attention from people reading it. Trying to solve the problem yourself will also enhance your understanding of FreeBSD, and will eventually let you use your knowledge to help others by answering questions posted to the mailing lists.
Read the manual pages, and the FreeBSD documentation (either installed in <filename>/usr/doc</filename> or accessible via WWW at <uri xlink:href=""></uri>), especially the <link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/index.html">handbook</link> and the <link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/faq/index.html">FAQ</link>.
Browse and/or search the archives for the mailing list, to see if your question or a similar one has been asked (and possibly answered) on the list. You can browse and/or search the mailing list archives at <uri xlink:href=""></uri> and <uri xlink:href=""></uri> respectively. This can be done at other WWW sites as well, for example at <uri xlink:href=""></uri>.
Use a search engine such as <link xlink:href="">Google</link> or <link xlink:href="">Yahoo</link> to find answers to your question.
How to Submit a Question
When submitting a question to FreeBSD-questions, consider the following points:
Remember that nobody gets paid for answering a FreeBSD question. They do it of their own free will. You can influence this free will positively by submitting a well-formulated question supplying as much relevant information as possible. You can influence this free will negatively by submitting an incomplete, illegible, or rude question. It is perfectly possible to send a message to FreeBSD-questions and not get an answer even if you follow these rules. It is much more possible to not get an answer if you do not. In the rest of this document, we will look at how to get the most out of your question to FreeBSD-questions.
Not everybody who answers FreeBSD questions reads every message: they look at the subject line and decide whether it interests them. Clearly, it is in your interest to specify a subject. <quote>FreeBSD problem</quote> or <quote>Help</quote> are not enough. If you provide no subject at all, many people will not bother reading it. If your subject is not specific enough, the people who can answer it may not read it.
Format your message so that it is legible, and PLEASE DO NOT SHOUT!!!!!. We appreciate that a lot of people do not speak English as their first language, and we try to make allowances for that, but it is really painful to try to read a message written full of typos or without any line breaks.
Do not underestimate the effect that a poorly formatted mail message has, not just on the FreeBSD-questions mailing list. Your mail message is all people see of you, and if it is poorly formatted, one line per paragraph, badly spelt, or full of errors, it will give people a poor impression of you.
A lot of badly formatted messages come from <link xlink:href="">bad mailers or badly configured mailers</link>. The following mailers are known to send out badly formatted messages without you finding out about them:
<trademark class="registered">Eudora</trademark>
<trademark class="registered">Microsoft</trademark> Exchange
<trademark class="registered">Microsoft</trademark> <trademark class="registered">Outlook</trademark>
Try not to use <acronym>MIME</acronym>: a lot of people use mailers which do not get on very well with <acronym>MIME</acronym>.
Make sure your time and time zone are set correctly. This may seem a little silly, since your message still gets there, but many of the people you are trying to reach get several hundred messages a day. They frequently sort the incoming messages by subject and by date, and if your message does not come before the first answer, they may assume they missed it and not bother to look.
Do not include unrelated questions in the same message. Firstly, a long message tends to scare people off, and secondly, it is more difficult to get all the people who can answer all the questions to read the message.
Specify as much information as possible. This is a difficult area, and we need to expand on what information you need to submit, but here is a start:
In nearly every case, it is important to know the version of FreeBSD you are running. This is particularly the case for FreeBSD-CURRENT, where you should also specify the date of the sources, though of course you should not be sending questions about -CURRENT to FreeBSD-questions.
With any problem which <emphasis>could</emphasis> be hardware related, tell us about your hardware. In case of doubt, assume it is possible that it is hardware. What kind of CPU are you using? How fast? What motherboard? How much memory? What peripherals?
There is a judgement call here, of course, but the output of the <citerefentry><refentrytitle>dmesg</refentrytitle><manvolnum>8</manvolnum></citerefentry> command can frequently be very useful, since it tells not just what hardware you are running, but what version of FreeBSD as well.
If you get error messages, do not say <quote>I get error messages</quote>, say (for example) <quote>I get the error message 'No route to host'</quote>.


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Source string comment
(itstool) path: listitem/para
Source string location
String age
a year ago
Source string age
a year ago
Translation file
articles/freebsd-questions.pot, string 46