If you’d like to get quick SQL Server help, the #SQLHelp hash tag is a fun way to get it.  My original “How to Use the #SQLHelp Hash Tag” post hit a couple of years ago, and it’s time for a followup.  Read that post first, and then come back here for some basic guidelines.

Don’t use #SQLHelp to promote your blog. Congratulations on writing an informative post, and we’re sure it’s got some useful information in it, but the #SQLHelp hash tag is for people who are asking questions.  Unless your blog post was written to answer a question currently live on #SQLHelp, please refrain from tweeting about your blog.

Do answer a #SQLHelp question with a product if that’s the solution. Vendors build products to solve pain points, and sometimes those pain points surface as #SQLHelp questions.  If the answer is a product – whether it’s a free one or a paid one – then feel free to mention it and provide a link.  If you’ve got personal experience with the product, that’s even better.  If you’re a vendor, you might wanna disclose that in your tweet.

Don’t demo #SQLHelp at conferences by saying, “Say hello, #SQLHelp!” Immediately, dozens of users around the world will reply to you, and the #SQLHelp hash tag will become unusable for half an hour or more.  Rather than saying Hello World, ask the audience to give you a question, and then post that question on #SQLHelp.

Do suggest that long discussions move to a Q&A web site. Sometimes questions need a lot more detail than we can get in 140 characters.  If you notice a discussion turning into a long back-and-forth conversation, helpfully suggest that the questioner read my tips on writing a good question and then create a post on whatever site you prefer.

Don’t post jobs to #SQLHelp. Use the #SQLJobs hash tag instead.

Do thank people who give you #SQLHelp. This is a group of volunteers who love to lend a helping hand.  It’s like getting consulting help for free around the clock.  High five ’em if they helped you get through your day easier.

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  1. I try not to ever post product links/suggestions to the group, instead I will address the person directly with that info.

    If they find the technology useful, I’ll let them say so on the #SQLHELP boards.

    I’m not saying that’s how it should be done, it’s just how I roll.

  2. Thanks for these additional guidelines, Brent. I have used #SQLHelp on several occasions – some answers and more questions – and the answers I have received have been quick, concise, and very accurate, not to mention from some of the biggest names in our industry. I am new, however, to the #SQLJobs hashtag, and will be sure to create a new column in my client to review that list as well. Thanks again Brent, for this post, and all that you do for the SQL community.

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  4. How about “Don’t post pleas for someone to DM you the e-mail address for a lost contact” and “Don’t post questions about Windows Home Server, your iPad, or Netflix streaming quality – just because the SQLHelp crowd is mostly comprised of computer dorks does not mean those questions are on topic.”

  5. Late comment, I know, but this post is still topical. In the fashion of stackoverflow
    , suggest using “sql help”, with the quotes and the space, and without the # symbol, for “meta” discussion about the use/abuse of #sqlhelp.

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