How to get help
Whether you are trying to solve a problem yourself, or whether you are asking for someone else's help, it is best to first collect as many relevant details as possible. These will include the following:
- The operating system and version you are using (i.e. Ubuntu 10.10).
- The version of Net Responsibility (NR) you are using.
- Any error messages you think may be related to your problem, even if they don't make sense to you.
- Specific details of any problems you had in trying to follow instructions (i.e. from the forum, documentation, etc.). For instance, where in the process did you run into the problem? What were you trying to do? What happened as a result? Save a copy of any text output or error message you received. Or if something doesn't make sense, note exactly what it was that you didn't understand and any related questions that would help to clarify things for you.
- Any other information that you feel might be relevant.
Depending on the kind of problem you're facing, it may be able to be solved by:
- You! :-) (via Google or another search engine, or the NR documentation)
- Other end-users (via the forum or mailing lists).
- NR developers (via the forum, mailing lists, or issue tracker).
- Nobody, at present. (Developing the software takes a lot of time and energy, and there are limitations in regards to what NR can do and what platforms it can run on. However, knowing about these types of problems people are facing helps us to know how we can improve NR in the future.)
Even if you think you don't know much about computers, or programming, or the particular problem you are facing, you would be surprised at the number of problems that you will be able to solve yourself. Take the time to make a reasonable effort to find information on your own before asking for help. A good place to start is the NR documentation (where you're at now), and the NR forum is also a good place to browse for ideas. If you are new to the computer system you are using, there are often helpful guides and tutorials online that can be accessed by a simple search with Google, Bing, or your favorite search engine. Using part or all of an error message to do an online search can also bring up some potential solutions.
If you have tried figuring things out yourself and are coming up short, then it is time to ask others for help. If you do ask us or other users for help, please be patient and respectful. We know it can be frustrating to have unresolved problems with software you are counting on, but remember that anyone who is helping you is volunteering their time and may not be able to reply as quickly as you would like. We will do our best to help you, and also appreciate any help you can give towards improving NR.
We have made an attempt to include basic information for both NR users and their accountability partners in our documentation (where you're at now). This includes an introduction to the program for those who are considering it, instructions on installing and configuring NR, understanding NR's reports, a FAQ section, and other useful information. When you have a question or problem, you should always check here first. If there's information you feel would be helpful to include in the documentation, or parts of it you feel are incorrect or confusing, please add a bug report or feature request to the issue tracker's website section or simply send us an email.
The NR forum contains various categories, including "General Discussion," "Installation and Configuration," "Accountability Partners," and "Development". You can browse through the threads in each of these categories to see if anyone has had a similar question or problem, whether it is an ongoing issue, or whether a solution was discovered. If you log in to the website (with the username and password you created when you registered as an NR user), you can post a reply to an existing topic or start a new topic in order to ask others for help. If you do request help, make sure you include all the relevant details about your problem. Note: If you have a definite bug to report or want to submit a feature request, please see the "Issue tracker" section below for the best way to handle these.
If you prefer to use email to ask for help, you can contact the NR developers at their mailing list address: email@example.com. If you do request help in this way, make sure you include all the relevant details about your problem. Also, when replying to an email on this list, please observe the following guidelines:
- All your replies should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Remove everything from the email you're replying to, except for parts that you're answering or responding to in particular.
- Your response should be placed right after the part you're referring to.
- Don't change the subject. (This helps keep all related messages in the same 'thread' for later reference.)
For a brief how-to (with a few helpful screenshots) on how to add a new issue to the issue tracker, see the Use of Issue Tracker guide.
If your problem turns out to be a problem with the NR software itself (the NR developers can help you to identify this), then this is considered a bug. The best way to work towards getting this bug fixed is to enter it in the NR issue tracker. Please try to be as specific as possible, and include the version of your NR installation and what platform/system and version (i.e. Ubuntu 10.10) you're running. If you manage to install the software, but not to get it running properly, please try to run it with this command, and paste the output in your bug report (Ubuntu users need to add sudo before the command) :
If there are features you'd like to see in Net Responsibility, please let us know. We're constantly working toward implementing and stabilizing more features and your requests are valuable. Some of you might have experience with other accountability software, or simply have some stunning ideas that we could've never come up with on our own. Think outside the box.
Please remember that it may take time for us to implement a requested feature, and if you want it more quickly, you may be interested in working on it yourself. Even then, please add it as a feature request in the NR issue tracker. (You may want to first scan through the other feature requests to make sure the same or something similar has not already been added.) Try to be as specific as possible: What do you want to see implemented? What is the difference from what you're seeing now and what you would like to see? Are you able to illustrate the end product? Do you have a proposal of how to get there?
If you wish to report bugs or submit feature requests related to the NR website (including the documentation), you can do this in this section of NR's issue tracker.
When you try to access the issue tracker, your browser may display a security warning. You can safely ignore this and grant a permanent security exception. For more info, see this FAQ entry.
Anyone can go to the issue tracker and view the various bug reports, feature requests and other information there. However, in order to create a new issue (bug report, feature request, etc.), you will need to sign in with your NR user login information. The first time you do this, you may need to give some basic additional information in order to gain access. Also, even if you're already logged in to the general NR website itself, you may still need to log in to the issue tracker area of the website.