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Using Communities

1 Post authored by: Mark Walters Moderator
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You've run in to a problem with a BMC product and you're looking for help from other users of the same software. People with more experience who may have run into the same, or similar, problems in the past.  Before you click the Submit button, take a moment to put yourself behind the keyboard of another Communities user...


Does your question contains all the information you would want to see if you were being asked to help solve the same problem?  If it does, great, post away!  If not, perhaps a few minutes spent adding some more details may help save you time in the long run.  What could you do to help others recognise the problem and make it more likely that they will take the time to respond?


The table below lists some examples of the type of information you should think about including in your question.  Whilst adding any of these won't guarantee that your problem will be solved by the first reply, I'd very surprised if they didn't help improve the quality, number and speed of replies your post receives.


What to provide
Product name and version.Features and functionality change between versions.  Defects are identified and fixed and other people may have experienced similar problems on the same version.
Platform type and version.Some problems may be specific to the OS/platform you are running the product on.
Details of any error messages and where they are seen.The full text of an error may contain additional details that explain its cause.  The location of the error - the screen or a log file - may also be helpful.
What actions are being performed when the error occurs.To help the reader understand what you're doing and where in the software you are.
Does the problem happen every time the same actions are taken.It's helpful to know if the problem is intermittent and what may be different about the cases where it does/does not reproduce.
Do all or just some users encounter the problem.As above, it may be helpful to understand if just certain types of user experience the problem.
When did the problem start and what changed at around this time.Although not always obvious, there's usually some change related to the cause, even if it is simply that you have started using some area of the software for the first time or in a different way.
What have you already tried to resolve the problem and what was the result.Let us know what you've already tried so we don't suggest the same things and waste your time.  Details here may also highlight misunderstandings in how the product works or steps that have been missed.
Feature configuration details.Details of relevant settings can help pinpoint configuration errors or provide context to help understand the environment where the problem is seen.  As noted below though, remove or obfuscate sensitive settings such as passwords, user and host names.
Relevant logs.Sometimes logging from the product is the only way to really understand what's going on.  However, take time to review the logs before you post them to make sure sensitive information has been removed.  If the problem is sufficiently complex that logs are required you may want to consider contacting Support rather than continuing in the Communities.

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