How to ask for help

Ron Brown /
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Some observations on asking for help.

Many of the contributors to this forum seem to be willing to help when someone has a problem. It is the responsibility of the person with the problem to make it as easy as possible for this to happen. I am suggesting "how to ask the question" and "how to respond" to sugestions on how to fix the problem.

First, the moped: No one is familiar with all mopeds, however, most problems are generic, so do us a favor. Tell us the year, make, model and type of engine, 2/4 cycle. If the question relates to some specific area like electrical or lubrication, tell us if your ped uses a battery or oil injection. This is an example, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Next, some history: How did this problem develop? Is this a ped you just bought that you can't get running? Is it a ped that was running fine then just quit? Is it a problem that has been gradually getting worse until you had to ask for help?

Next, describe the problem: Be as specific as possible. Sometimes, "It won't start", is as specific as you can be. This question will result in a post from Fred called something like "basic tune up" telling you to clean and check everything that may have something to do with the problem.

You can avoid this with some simple observations. Pull the plug, if it is wet, you are most likely getting some gas. Lay it on the cylinder head and crank the engine. Do you see a good, fat spark? Tell us these things in your post.

If the engine fires, or runs at all, describe how it runs as accurately as you can. Does it idle but not accellerate? Does it accelerate but not idle? Is it missing at "high" speed? You most likely get the idea by now. The better you describe the problem, the more likely you are to get a good answer.

What have you done so far: Describe what you have done to try to fix the problem, if anythng. And evrything you have seen which might be significant. None of us like to waste time answering a non-question.

How to respond to those who are trying to help: Some of the responses you get may be stupid, some may make you look stupid, but hey, thats the breaks. Typically, the better the question, the better the answer. Respond, in the forum, to the sugestions. Do not email the poster directly unless about something unrelated to the problem. Other readers of this forum are learning from your problems. Make sure you have followed the sugestions and report your observations as accurately as possible. This really helps.

Most important!: Do not just disappear! If the problem is solved, post the news. Other readers, and the people trying to help, need to know. Even if you decide to give up and use the ped as a boat anchor, or lawn ornament, tell us that. We can't sleep until we know!

Simon, if you get around to making fred's "basic tune up" a permanent fixture, can you use something like this to tell people how to ask for help?


This single post is part of a larger thread. Start from the top or view this post in context.
Subject Written By Posted
  How to ask for helpTopic by: Ron Brown Ron Brown 02/18/01 12:16PM
  Re: How to ask for helpRe: Scott Scott 02/18/01 03:26PM
  Re: How to ask for helpRe: cheryl cheryl 02/19/01 02:24PM
  Re: How to ask for helpRe: Ron Brown Ron Brown 02/19/01 02:58PM
  Re: How to ask for helpRe: dan dan 03/02/01 02:05AM

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