[5] Netiquette when posting to comp.lang.c++
(Part of C++ FAQ Lite, Copyright © 1991-2000, Marshall Cline, cline@parashift.com)

FAQs in section [5]:

[5.1] What does IMHO mean? (or IMO, IMNSHO, FWIW, OTOH, etc.)?

Here's a partial list of acronyms in alphabetical order:

BTW my SO says, "FWIW IMNSHO 'KUTGW' is rare; OTOH it may be helpful to somebody."

For more acronyms please see www.astro.umd.edu/~marshall/abbrev.html.

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[5.2] How do I get comp.lang.c++ to do my homework problem for me?

Shame on you!

Please do not post your homework questions to comp.lang.c++.

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[5.3] What should I do if I see someone else posting a homework problem?

When a slackard asks comp.lang.c++ to do their homework for them, answering their question is the worst thing for them. Please don't do it! Instead you can use the following table of "frequently asked homework assignments" to give them a hint/pointer:

If someone asks... ...then here's a brief answer:
How do I do Equation Parsing in C++? Use a stack of operators to convert infix to postfix, then a stack of operands to evaluate the postfix expression.
How do I do Shortest Path in C++? Look up Dijkstra's algorithm and backtracking.
How do I do Sorting in C++? Look up heapsort, quicksort, merge sort, internal and external sorting.
How do I do Minimum Spanning Trees in C++? Look up Kruskal and/or Prim's algorithm.
How do I do Combinations and/or Permutations in C++? See your algorithms book.
How do I do <some small essay problem; obviously contrived for a school assignment; too well defined to to be from the real world> in C++? Do it yourself. If you get stuck, ask a specific question.

[If anyone has other suggestions that should go into this table, please let me know; thanks; (cline@parashift.com)].

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[5.4] How can I find out about general netiquette so I don't embarrass myself?

Key guidelines:

Many more general netiquette questions are answered in the newsgroup news.announce.newusers. This newsgroup contains many must-read articles for new users.

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[5.5] What do I do if someone else posts a question that's already in the FAQ?

Please don't answer a question that's already in the FAQ. Instead politely but firmly point the questioner to the FAQ using the following template:

Subject: It's in the FAQ (was: Original_Subject_Goes_Here)

Original_Question_Goes_Here [...]

This issue is covered in the C++ FAQ.
You can get the FAQ at:

Please read the FAQ.

If you're willing to help in this effort, consider yourself "deputized" to point people to the FAQ using something like the above template. With your help, hopefully we can improve the signal-to-noise ratio on comp.lang.c++ and thereby preserve it as a valuable resource.

Note #1: Please don't give them the location of the appropriate FAQ. E.g., don't say, "Look at FAQ [10.3]" or "Look in section [10]". It's the old give-them-a-fish vs. teach-them-to-fish problem.

Note #2: Please be polite. I'm hoping we can avoid "RTFM" or "RTFFAQ" euphemisms (or worse!).

Thanks for any help you can give in this matter.

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[5.6] What makes a good Subject: line?

Be descriptive:

Mention your compiler/version if you think it's relevant.

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[5.7] How do I post a question about code that doesn't work correctly?

Key guidelines:

  1. Post compile'able code: avoid ellipses, such as void f() { ... }
  2. Post complete code: put in all necessary #includes and declarations of needed types and functions
  3. Post minimal code: just enough to demonstrate the problem; skip I/O and calls to libraries if possible
  4. Post one compilation unit: if possible, combine Foo.h into Foo.cpp
  5. Post the tools you used: compiler name, version number, operating system, etc
  6. Post the tool options you used: libraries, exact compiler and linker options, etc
  7. Post the exact messages you received; differentiate between compiler, linker, and runtime messages

As always, make sure your question isn't already in the FAQ. Use the subject index to check.

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[5.8] Which newsgroup should I post my questions?

Only post to comp.lang.c++ if your question is about the C++ language itself. For example, C++ code design, syntax, style, rules, bugs, etc. Operating-specific questions (e.g., about Windows NT / 95 / 3.x, UNIX, etc.) should go to an operating-system-specific newsgroup (see below), not to comp.lang.c++.

Here are some other potentially relevant newsgroups:

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[5.9] How do I get the FAQs for a particular newsgroup?

Let me count the ways...

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions lists) are available 24-hours a day via:

Please, PLEASE do not send e-mail to me!

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Revised Jul 10, 2000