Online time: Making the Most of it.

Sarah Hawk

I feel a bit like I’m losing the battle with time at the moment. If an hour always takes an hour, why is it that some hours I get so much done and others, nothing?

A few years ago the most difficult time related decision that I had to make was whether it made more sense to go to bed at 5am or just ride it out and stay up all night. Then 15 months ago things changed irrevocably. I had twins. Being a full-time stay at home mum and a part-time worker should in theory take up 1.5 lives, but I’m managing to fit them into just the one. It takes some very careful planning and more coffee than any person should drink, but it is doable. Just.

What does all this have to do with our SitePoint Forums community? Well I’ve become aware over the last few weeks that there are a few things that some of you could do that would save both your time and the time of those people that you’re hoping to get answers from.

Search
Before you post your question, do a quick search in the appropriate forum. Often your question has already been asked and answered before.

SitePoint forumsCheck the ‘stickies’
Almost all of the forums and sub-forums have ‘sticky’ threads which are always at the top. They contain information that is useful and covers some of the more generally asked questions. They are a great source of information and are often worth a read even if you don’t have a specific question. The staff are currently in the process of checking to make sure that all the information in the sticky threads is current and useful.

Thread titles
One of the most common time wasting activities that I see in the forums is so simple that we often just don’t think of it. Give your threads meaningful titles. “Please help a newbie” or “Why doesn’t this work?” might make sense to you, but to someone scanning down a list of threads, those titles don’t give much information so are likely to get overlooked. A PHP expert is much more likely to open a thread entitled “Problem with function in array (PHP)” than a thread called “I’m stuck”.

Report posts
This one might not save you any time, but it will certainly save us time (and make the forums a better place!) If you see a post that concerns you for any reason, whether it be spam, abusive, fluff – or anything else unusual for that matter – click the “Report Post” icon and let an advisor know. Your complaint is confidential and no one will get in trouble unless they deserve it! Note that we are currently in the process of speeding up the reporting process so if it seems a little slow – bear with us. And the irony of that comment in a post about saving time is not lost on me…

While we’re on the subject of time, the guys in HQ have been making the most of theirs lately and have just released almost all of our titles in two new formats which ought to make those of you with eReaders happy. You can now pick up our books in Mobi and ePub formats. To make things even sweeter, we are currently running a sale which will get you 5 shiny new eBooks for less than $30. Nice!

Hot Topics This Week
This week the Google Geeks are talking about the dilemma of C Class IPs.

If you have any favourite new features in jQuery 1.4 you should stop in at the Javascript forum and tell us what they are.

Over in Business and Legal Issues the discussion has turned to online partnerships and the best way to go about them. Do you have an experience that you can share?

It’s Easter already (where is the year going???) so we’re celebrating that in General Chat with a round of showing off. Let’s see your best painted easter egg. It’s fair to say that mine isn’t going to win any prizes.

And last one for this week. If you’re looking for some good stock image sites, the topic is being discussed in the Graphics forum this week.

Feature image by Chris Roberts from Digital Precision

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