Here are some general suggestions that I’ve found will help you get the most out of Sage MAS Community Forums (MAS90 MAS200 MAS500). Feel free to add on to this list.
If you’ve never participated here before – welcome! This is a GREAT way to meet other users (a very frequent request) as well as share in the knowledge (the keyword here is share).
1. Fill out your profile completely.
This allows other users to email you directly if they have information that may not be postable publicly. Often this could be workarounds that are unofficial or maybe some company specific advice that isn’t for everyone’s eyes.
Add your contact information into your standard signature. You can do this by clicking “My Profile” in the upper left corner (when you’re logged in) and then editing the Signature to include your name, company, email and phone.
It has been my experience that including this information does not invite spam, sales calls or other unwanted solicitations. What including the informaiton DOES is allow other users to contact you for private discussion… And this is exactly what the community exists for.
2. If you find the answer yourself to a question you’ve posted – come back and update your message.
Many of us use the community as a knowledgebase of sorts. Having a question that begins with “Do you know why I’m getting error xxxxx when I run on a Dell Laptop” and then is followed by “Never mind I figured it out” is frustrating for users to stumble upon.
What happens is someone else has the exact same question. It’s usually a Saturday/Sunday when offices are closed (but Sage Community is open) — they log onto the site and find the message, a note that it was solved – but NO indication of HOW it was solved.
Please try to always post the resolution to any problem.
There are FAR more people who lurk (read but never post) on this forum. Many of these people will be searching for problems that they are experiencing and will greatly benefit from a complete solution.
3. Don’t abuse the help
Almost all of the people here are running businesses (either as end users or consultants).
They volunteer their time here. Realize that this volunteer time generally doesn’t include testing out error conditions that may impact your company. If you need more extensive help – take it offline and work out an arrangement (or better yet discuss the issue with your Sage Reseller who setup the software).
Many people have phone numbers in their signatures. This is not a free phone support line. I don’t mind helping anyone whose in a bind – and neither do most other consultants or users. This doesn’t mean that you have a new free help line.
4. There’s probably no cure for you being on version 1.20 of MAS 90 or 200 and refusing to upgrade
Sage MAS 90 and 200 are at version 4.3 (as of this writing). If you’re looking for assistance on a very old version – please don’t be upset when the advice is to upgrade. There have been so many operating system advancements (and Sage advancements) that knowing why version 1.2 conflicts with Vista is probably not supportable in the community.
5. Give more than you get – and ask for nothing in return
If you run across a problem that you think the community can benefit from. Post it.
If you have an observation or suggestion post it.
The best Community members are those who regularly post items even when their own system is not in crisis mode.
6. Don’t confuse “Community” with employee
Just because Sage employees and consultants and end users frequent this area – that doesn’t mean they are here 24 x 7 looking for messages.
The Community forums are a tool – – they are not meant to be another full time employee for anyone.They are not a replacement for your support plan.
Don’t expect that this community will replace your support resource internally – because it won’t.
Use the community as a tool.
7. Search before you post
Before you post a problem – search to see if someone else has experienced the issue. My experience is that as Community grows a huge number of issues have been previously asked and answered.
If you post a question and don’t get an answer – you either have not posted it clearly or the problem is one that nobody has seen before.
8. Use the Kudos and Solutions Buttons
The Community Software allows you to send Kudos (thanks) and acknowledge working solutions via buttons on the right side of the screen. The more you use them , the better it will be for the next person. This lets other users know who is helpful in the forum and flags questions as resolved.
9. Tag your posts – be clear in your posts
Always include as much information as possisble in your posts. That will usually get you the most relevant suggestions to solve your problem.
At a minimum include the version number, service update number, circumstances surrounding the issue (new install, upgrade), things you’ve done that didn’t fix it, other odd issues (new applications installed, system crashes, virusses you’re trying to clean).
The Community allows you to enter in tags that can help others searching the messages. Use these tags wherever possible – they’ll help others when they get the same error and try searching.
An example of tagging would be:
If I posted a message “Error 48 line 12345 program POWZBA while updating Return of Goods in version 4.2 SP 20”
I might tag that:
“line 12345”, “powzba”,”sp 20″,”4.20″,”mas90″,”return of goods”, “error 48”
10. Avoid the temptation to rant
It’s easy to fall into the trap of posting all sorts of tyrades against Microsoft, Sage, Intuit, your reseller.
In general you’re better off waiting a day before posting something that does nothing but complain. Instead post the problem and your suggested workaround. People take to that type of message far better than something that offers no solution.
These communities are a great resource. Hope these tips help.