CDOS README First Mini-FAQ

CDOS README First Mini-FAQ
What is the README_FIRST posting?
What is cdo? What is cdos?
Where is the cdos charter?
What do I post where?
What if a post has a topic that could be in more than one group?
What should I do before I post?
Where is the FAQ?
Where is the documentation?
What other FAQs are there?
What other resources are there?
What do you mean search engines?
How do I know any of this is good Oracle advice?
What information should I include with a post?
What information should I not include with a post?
How should I answer a question?
The newsgroup has a virus, I got spammed after posting!
Whoís in charge of this group?
Why are some people so rude in this group?
My post was a pointer to my commercial product that directly answered a poster's question! Why was I flamed?
But, I don't think it it 'unethical' to promote your own product. It is very difficult not to reply when you can't talk about your own product :).
Why should I bother with good English?
Now Iím scared! Why should I post at all?
Why donít I just ask Oracle support?
Does Oracle monitor this group?
Why don't Metalink links work on this document?
Why don't you spell behaviour correctly?
Why is this text so small?
Who wrote this?
When was this last updated?

To dbaoracle home page.
To cdos via google

What is the README_FIRST posting?

This is a post you read before posting on the comp.databases.oracle.server newsgroup. This post describes what the newsgroup is about and behavior expected from posters.


What is cdo? What is cdos?

cdo is short for comp.databases.oracle. cdos stands for comp.databases.oracle.server. This newsgroup is dedicated to server issues of the Oracle database, including administration and internals.


Where is the cdos charter?

The charter was published when the group was created. It is also archived here. comp.databases.oracle used to be a single group, but was replaced by a hierarchy because there were getting to be too many posts covering too wide of an area. You may see the original charter and voting by searching for this on google groups: charter comp.databases.oracle.server result pass group:news.*


What do I post where?

Read the charter. In a nutshell, commercial and job posts go to cdo.marketplace, database administration topics are on cdos, tools and applications are on cdo.tools, and other topics are on cdo.misc.


What if a post has a topic that could be in more than one group?

Many people read all the groups, so pick the one that fits the post best. Cross-posting and multi-posting are frowned upon. FAQ's that cover all the groups are about the only exception, and there isn't even agreement about that.


What should I do before I post?

You should be familiar with general netiquette, such as Netiquette Guidelines and The Beginners guide. You should know how to read the documentation and and how use search engines to research the question before posting. You should read the FAQ. You should read recent threads in the newsgroup to get an idea of how the group works. You should try to solve your problem before posting.

Where is the FAQ?

Orafaq is officially listed by the RTFM site. There are also other resources covering the Oracle database, including other FAQs, message boards and documentation.


Where is the documentation?

Oracle Docs or Tahiti (free registration no longer required). Some other sources may be found on various link pages.


What other FAQs are there?


The Cooperative FAQ
Ixora
OracleDBA.co.uk (Connor McDonald)
Ed Stevens' Presentations

Note that, as with any undated information on the internet, some information may be out of date. Always read with a critical eye and test assertions.

What other resources are there?



My Oracle Support (MOS) is an official support channel from Oracle Corporation. You will need a CSI (Customer Number) to register. Your CSI would be on your invoice from Oracle. Once you get on MOS, search for a document that explains how to use Oracle support, "Working Effectively With Global Customer Support" Note:166650.1. Nowadays there are two versions of support, http://support.oracle.com is a flash version, and http://supporthtml.oracle.com is written with the Oracle ADP (Application Development Framework).

Oracle Technology Network (also called Technet or OTN) is also officially supported by Oracle, but it has lots of techie input. Free registration is required, and there is a lot of valuable information there. You can download Oracle for free for non-production use from OTN. However, you need a CSI before you can get patches. Oracle Express can be downloaded free for production use, already patched, but with data size and hardware limitations.

Oracle Learning Library

Ask Tom
Tom Kyte's selected utilities page
Oracle Mix
Oracle forums
Oracle Wiki
Oracle User Groups
Toad World
Oak Table articles

oracle-l mailing list archives
Oracle Newsfeed
Oracle News Aggregator
Dude's Aggregator
Oracle Community
Morgan's Library
PSOUG
Oracle-Base

Centrex Consulting Papers
Christian Antognini Papers
Gints Plivna Papers
Tim Gorman scripts
Steven Feuerstein
dbasupport.com
Julian Dyke
Connor Mcdonald
Mladen Gogala
OraPub tools
Chris Lawson
Shutdown Abort

LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook all have active Oracle resources of varying quality. They evolve so fast, not much more could be said here.

Blogs (necessarily incomplete):
  • Oracle Blogs
  • Tom Kyte
  • Tanel Poder
  • Charles Hooper
  • Tim Hall
  • David Aldridge
  • Alberto Dell'Era
  • Mark Rittman
  • Niall Litchfield
  • Pete Finnigan
  • Pete-S
  • Doug Burns
  • Jeff Hunter
  • Connor McDonald
  • Brian Peasland
  • Kevin Meade
  • Eddie Awad
  • Richard Foote
  • Tanel Poder
  • Optimizer Development Group
  • Greg Rahn
  • Noons
  • Martin Widlake
  • Oracle Infogram
  • Pythian Group Blogs
  • Dude Blog
  • Jared Still
  • Randolph Geist
  • Hemant K. Chitale
  • Dion Cho
  • Andrey S. Nikolaev
  • Ronald Rood
  • ADHD Robyn
  • Craig Shallahamer
  • Christian Antognini
  • Karl Arao
  • Cary Millsap
  • Kellyn PotíVin
  • Flavio Casetta
  • Alex Fatkulin
  • Joel Goodman
  • Iggy Fernandez
  • Aman Sharma
  • Frits Hoogland
  • Christian Bilien
  • Guy Harrison

    What do you mean search engines?

    A search engine is used to find information on the internet. There are many such engines such as Alta Vista and Google. Google in particular may be used to search usenet news groups, including cdos. You are expected to have searched cdos for an answer to your question before posting.


    How do I know any of this is good Oracle advice?

    You can't. However you can and should learn to evaluate whether any advice is both good and appropriate for your situation. You need to be able to critically evaluate any advice and test it. This is limited by the amount of testing you can do and your level of understanding. Testing assertions about Oracle is a skill that can be increased with practice, with the practical side effect of making it easier and faster to ask intelligent questions, as well as dealing with Oracle support. Actually using Oracle to make such tests is one of the better paths to understanding. However, it does not work in a vacuum, you need to understand the basic concepts too. Different people have different strengths in the various methods of learning, but there is no escaping putting a significant amount of effort into studying the concepts manual and the documents explaining any particular tool. The official documents and metalink notes do have errors and oversimplifications, so even those need to be examined with a critical eye. Any document found on the internet may have any amount of errors. Some peer review takes place in the resources mentioned above, but even so, a "trust but verify" attitude is better than blindly following advice. Jonathan Lewis has a good example about that.

    As to what is appropriate to your situation, only you can really evaluate that. Many sites have tension between what is technically correct and managerially expedient. Sometimes that matters more than other times, being able to reconcile divergent viewpoints is certainly a desirable skill. It often helps to be able to express things in terms of "best practices" and "proper risk/return analysis."


    What information should I include with a post?

    Always post the exact version of Oracle (ie, 10.2.0.2), patches, the operating system (ie, Windows XP, hp-ux 11.23), Oracle edition (ie, personal, standard, enterprise, XE), and the hardware. Beyond that, it depends on exactly what you are posting about. If you have a SQL question, for example, you should post exactly what youíve tried already, and what you are trying to accomplish. A question about why a statement is performing poorly should include an Explain Plan (Randolf Geist has an excellent description of what to post, MOS has a How to Log a Good Performance Service Request [ID 210014.1] that has many things you can check). If you are getting an error, post the full error number and text. Use google to see what others have done right and wrong. See what information Oracle requires for support calls. The more relevant information you give up front, the easier it is for people to help. Use upper and lower case good English and explain the issue clearly. Use a clear and specific Subject: line, preferably one that is unique - remember, some people will be searching for subject lines, and search engines will include unrelated posts if the subject is the same as yours. Keep to a single topic per post.

    If you are going to make stuff up, be sure and explain it is hypothetical. It is common for seemingly small details to make a big difference, and you are likely to miss them unless you post exactly what you've seen.

    Some SQL questions are best illustrated with a test case, including DDL and data. Include a description of what you are trying to demonstrate, it may not be as obvious to you as to others. If it is easy to replicate or experiment with, people are more willing to help. See the Practice section of the Posting Guidelines on orafaq for more examples.

    If people respond to your posts with questions, answer them. They aren't likely rhetorical, but rather being asked to narrow down what may be a large range of answers.

    When following up a post, clip out extraneous information, but remember that people may see your post before the original post, so leave in enough information to give context to your answer - trim and bottom post. That means you remove unneeded comments and post your reply at the end of the section to which you are responding. This makes sure the post is like a conversation - you forget the useless parts and you respond in a context. How To Ask Questions The Smart Way.

    If you resolve your problem outside of cdos, please post a followup with the resolution. If someone in cdos helped solve your problem, thank them!


    What information should I not include with a post?

    Donít give out passwords (beyond published defaults), CSI numbers (Oracle support ID), IP addresses, fully qualified hostnames, post anything you wouldnít want published on the front page of your parentís newspaper, or copyrighted material, HTML code (unless it is directly relevant), industrial secrets, libel, emails, spam, off-topic, cascades, political or religious diatribes, violations of a countries computer laws, information covered under non-disclosure agreements etc. If you are posting from a company computer, be sure you understand the company rules, too. If you are a student, donít expect answers to your homework, although you might get hints to help you work through it. Your boss or teacher (or a future boss or teacher, or potential subordinate) may be following this group. Be careful with jokes, aspersions of race or national origin, political correctness, trolls and other obviously flammable objects. Be careful with reposting, it can take a while for a post to propagate (Here is a site that shows posts with celerity). If no one responds to your post, think about why that might be, as though you were seeing it for the first time. Maybe you need to rephrase it, post it in a better place, or maybe no one actually has an answer. Avoid subject lines like "Urgent!" since it's only urgent to you, and usenet is not instantaneous. Avoid abbreviations. Avoid asking people to email you because you can't get back to the group. Don't post a one line followup to a large post without trimming.

    As far as HTML code, be aware of the settings of your posting software so you donít post in HTML. It is more-or-less ok to post links, as long as you realize some people read newsgroups with line-mode oriented (non-GUI) newsreaders, so post some text explaining it (not the text after an a href=, but rather plain text).


    How should I post an answer?

    Andrew Clark wrote a good How to be a good guru.


    The newsgroup has a virus, I got spammed after posting!

    Newsgroups are public databases, anybody can write a spider to harvest addresses in a From: header or in the body of text. To avoid this problem, set your From: address to something that does not exist, preferably that can be manually decoded by humans to your real address, perhaps adding nospam after the @ sign, such as john_doe@nospam.yourisp.com. Some people prefer to put a decodeable version in the signature, such as j o h n _ d o e a t y o u r I s p d o t c o m. If your preferred posting method does not allow changing your From: address, get another address from one of the free services. Remember, if you are posting from a site like google, you will need this address for canceling posts and other administrative tasks, so you might consider getting spam-blocking software to go with it. Some people consider posts with real identifying and contact information to be more worth responding to.


    Whoís in charge of this group?

    No one is in charge, it is unmoderated. The group depends on the community of posters to be cooperative. This mechanism is self-correcting: someone does or says something wrong, one or more persons responds with corrections. Over time, this results in both a useful body of knowledge and a set of behavioral norms. The mechanism is not perfect: like Darwinism, there will be evolutionary dead-ends, unexpected adaptations to random side-effects, and perhaps useful paths never explored. But itís definitely useful, some think more useful than paid support.


    Why are some people so rude in this group?

    Most people are helpful most of the time. Some people read a _lot_ of posts, and feel that since other posters are expected to have lurked in the group before posting, the other posters are being rude first. Some of the questions that will provoke a rude response have been asked frequently, and simply show that the poster hasn't done the expected amount of research. Personally, I think a polite followup would be better for the group, but there are no police here other than self-appointed. One of the reasons for this post is to help avoid these sorts of problems by explaining the rules up front to newbies.

    Many posters are in high-pressure situations, sometimes this will leak into posts. Some people pay by the minute to download posts, and get especially upset with extraneous posts and crossposting. Some people read the group instead of sleeping, and may be grouchy. If you are tempted to rudely reply to a post, stop and think about it for a while. Think how you can solve problems rather than make them worse.

    There is the ocassional troll, and what to do about that is up for debate. In general, ignore them.


    My post was a pointer to my commercial product that directly answered a poster's question! Why was I flamed?

    Commercial posts go in cdo.marketplace. There are people who actively contribute to the group, then make a post like yours, so thatís a little easier to overlook, but still controversial. If it were up to me, Iíd say it was ok, but most disagree. Solve the problem by posting something with useful content.

    But, I don't think it it 'unethical' to promote your own product. It is very difficult not to reply when you can't talk about your own product :)

    It's a fine line. Change the phrasing a bit and you _can_ talk about your own product. For example, the response could be something like:
    --------------
    There are a number of tools designed to do this. A list can be found at http://www.databaseanswers.com/modelling_tools.htm
    /johndoe
    --
    btw: One tool, XYZ for Databases, is available from the organization with which I work. Contact me offline or get more information at http://www.xyzfordatabases.com
    --------------
    In this group, we have become hyper-sensitive about self-promotion and spam. We have had a few people who have been absurdly persistant.

    The above might get an "it's spam" reaction which could be easily ignored as it provides alternatives up front AND puts the 'advertisment' after the signature as a footnote.

    Probably most important when being accused of spam here is apologize and don't argue. Thank you!


    Why should I bother with good English?

    The two main reasons are to get your point across properly, and so that you wonít be embarrassed in the future when someone notices your post in an archive. You just canít know what will come back to haunt you. Some people assume you are not serious about Oracle if you post in chat-room style, some just find it too time-consuming to parse, some assume you haven't put a lot of time into researching the question beforehand. EM-speak, such as using "u" instead of "you" is particularly frowned upon.


    Now Iím scared! Why should I post at all?

    The questions and answers benefit everyone. Even the most basic question can help somebody. Just be sure youíre not jumping on a horse thatís already been beaten to death.


    Why donít I just ask Oracle support?

    Good question. You paid for it, right? They benefit from feedback from customers. Support is best used by informed customers. That means, the research you should do is the same whether you are asking here or official support. In fact, many questions may be answered in the course of assembling a proper question to post. That is why in order to submit an SR you must answer all those questions... and why support may first answer you with suggestions of documentation to read if you haven't specified what you've checked. If you don't have Oracle support, you should get it. My recommendation is to always be fully supported for production environments. If you don't have a production environment, the cheapest way may be to buy a single-user Collaboration Suite license, although it appears they have infrastructure in place for license audits.
    Support Blog


    Does Oracle monitor this group?

    Some Oracle employees follow this group, and ocassionally even delurk. It's their livelihood we're talking about, after all. They have their own rules about employees posting, and the corporation must be concerned with any liability that may arise.


    Why don't MOS links work on this document?

    Sometimes you need to login, then click on the link again to actually get to the document. Support was also pushing people to use flash technology, one used to be able to avoid by the old style metalink at http://metalink2.oracle.com, but now that points to the flash version. I haven't yet seen how to make the supporthtml links work consistently, but that is a new framework and hopefully it will settle down.


    Why don't you spell behaviour correctly?

    Spelling flames are considered rude. This is a worldwide group.

    Why is this text so small?

    Use the text size or zoom function under ďviewĒ in your browser to size the text to your liking. Donít you wish all websites did that?


    Who wrote this?

    This README was written by Joel Garry abstracting from many posts to cdos, originally in an effort to codify behavioral norms for cdos. There is no guarantee that anything on this page is suitable for any particular purpose. All rights reserved to the authors of the various parts of this document. Some mixing of packets may have occurred during transport. Copyright 2003-2012. The editors reserve all rights to modify content and appearance of this document. Linkage to this document encouraged.
    The "promote your product" answer and some of the "followup" was written by Hans Forbrich.
    Send additions, corrections, arguments to me (no spam, please).

    When was this last updated?

    February 18, 2012

    To dbaoracle home page.
    To cdos via google