Date for the next update? I don’t know, can’t tell.

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Much as I (we) understand the need for getting the bug fix to you as early as possible, the fact is that I am a humble messenger passing on the information about your problem to the product team, and getting an answer back for you. And I will not always have an answer for you. Here’s why.

In an ideal world, the bug fix would sneak your way into your software the next time you opened it and an equally sneaky message would inform you about the transgression.

In the world as it exists today, things don’t just work that way. Product teams usually have to co-ordinate a lot of things and make sure things are perfect before they announce a release date. And things could go terribly wrong at the last minute prompting a change of plans.

This is the reason why the product management team is the only team that has to make that call and announcement. People like me can broadcast it only after that is done. Think of it like a nuclear deal signed by the head of your country. The journalists probably have a clue about the details but they are not authorized to reveal it until the deal is done.

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4 Golden Rules for asking questions on forums

OK, you posted your question on a user to user forum and it went into a black hole.  And then you assumed, mostly incorrectly, that your question was dumb and unworthy of a response. Before you condemn yourself to eternal damnation, it might be worth following these four golden rules.

Rule #1: Do your homework

Philosophers worth their latest Nirvana will tell you that the way you go about seeking answers is sometimes more important than the answer itself.

OK, I made that up but it does make a lot of sense huh?

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Query answered already?

If you are Johnny come lately, chances are that your question has been done to death on the forum to an extent that it gives everyone the hives to answer it all over again. Look for the Search box. Use it.

You Google for everything from the person your favorite actor is dating to the possibility of human beings being aliens. Maybe it is a good idea to entrust Google with your problem too.

Your title, matters.

It is amazing how our actual behavior is completely in dissonance with, well, our actual behavior. Most of us never travel beyond the headlines of a newspaper, and yet, assume that titles such as  Adobe Problem, Help!, Adobe CS5 will have people rushing to answer us with floral scented candles.

Go back, rephrase that title, and get the pheromones oozing out of it.

The details, you devil!

What’s the software; which version? What Operating System; which version? Anything that changed on the computer before it got all wonky? Provide as much ammo as possible.

The more you give the more you get – this couldn’t be truer for forums. But avoid writing a soap opera.

Rule #2:  Don’t multi-post

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Heard of the law of diminishing returns? If you got Rule #1 right, you are not going to be ignored. And if you are, just go back with a second appeal – on the same post.   Some communities can be very unforgiving of people that post the same question multiple times. Death by Ostracization is not unheard of.

Rule #3:  It takes time to answer. Wait.

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The submit button is not the equivalent of your confirming the order with a waiter. You have done your bit; now wait. People on a forum will help you when they have the time for it. It might take a couple of hours; maybe a day. They are doing it for free remember? And in most cases, all that they are getting for their head banging is your not-so-guaranteed thank you.

If people that work for free to answer your question can stay composed, so can you. They have other problems too + your problem.

Rule #4: Are you at the right place?

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If you have the latest version of the software and need a solution urgently, you should probably be picking up the phone or chatting with a customer service representative. Caveat: Ensure that you have followed Rule#1 before you do that.

Long wait times? Did you check if the company has a Twitter handle or Facebook account? Did you try using the callback option? Did you try chat support?