Why including a Link is Critical
To be read along with the Posting Guidelines, this point is important enough for a page of it's own.
Why post a link?
As one of our top contributors so eloquently put it, the reasons why we always suggest posting a link are simple:
We hope this clears up the reason why we ask for links. It constitutes the "rules of engagement" for asking advice.
- 90% of the time the error is outside of what is posted.
- Posting code usually garbles the actual code, which makes it impossible to debug. A simple thing like a missing semicolon on a line will cause code to fail.
- It is impossible to use the standard tools of debuggers, like Firebug without running it through an actual site.
- The rules of the game (Google's TOU) state that "The API may be used only for services that are generally accessible to consumers without charge." and as such, a link proves that you're playing along nicely.
- A lot of posted code contains things like "mysite.com" links to xml files, etc. There is no point in being secretive. If you want to be secretive, don't ask for free advice.
- Most of us don't like reading posted code. It's a waste of time and we have better things to do. If you want free help from an expert, I suggest making it easy for those people to help you.
or to put it another way...
Every morning (several time zones later than some) when I read the new posts and replies, I'm amazed at how much volunteer time, thought, and helpful spirit is wasted by the skilled and brilliant experts in this group, just coaxing people to make it easier or even possible to get some help.
People get quite creative in justifying their linkless posts, but I have to say, Sorry, your excuses don't cut it.
- Security? Post a stripped-down version with no trade secret or national security stuff.
- Question too general or abstract? We don't really see many like that; most such queries would be more clear, and more readily answered, if you show us what you've tried, and give some evidence that you've explored the documentation and the excellent examples and tutorials for solutions.
- Page not ready for prime time? You're talking to developers here; we all have pages under construction and revision; sharing our problems and solutions in-process is something we like to do.
- Page is private? Then either you're violating the API Terms of Service, or you've paid for special help direct from Google.
- Embarrassed that you can't solve a problem? The best teachers remind their students that mistakes are their friends. Reading and understanding the documentation will bring many questions to mind. But learning comes from trying, not just from comprehending an idea; trying will bring mistakes as a matter of course. This list is VERY friendly for learning. No shame for simple mistakes, and huge insight for bigger problems.
The experienced members of this list need something to work with if you want their help. Why act so rude and entitled towards volunteers helping you learn a free programming environment?