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What's the best way to ask a question?

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PayPal Employee

What's the best way to ask a question?

Welcome to the PayPal Community Help Forums!

 

The moderation team reads quite a few threads as part of interacting with the Community, and over thousands of posts, we've noticed a few guidelines that anyone can follow to help their post receive a response.  This article will help your voice and your question be heard.  Before we dig into those, let's cover a few basics about the Community and how it works.

 

First, the PayPal Community Help Forum is a venue for members to assist other members, and is not an avenue to reach customer service.  If you require immediate assistance, assistance directly from PayPal, or account specific information, please contact Customer Service.   Another community member is not an employee and is providing assistance to you as a fellow customer.  PayPal employees will post in the Community from time to time, but they will always be marked as an employee.  This is noted by the PayPal icon  next to their user ID:

 

 

Courteous and respectful posting is expected of all participants.  Please remember that all community members are here voluntarily.  If another member has taken the time to ask a question, answer a question, or provide new information, they are doing so on their own time and are looking to you as a fellow community member to respond appropriately.  Posts that do not meet the courteous and respectful criteria may be removed by the moderation team.

 

With all of that being said, what can you do to help receive a response?  Here's some great tips, with explanations on the individual sections below.

 

  • Ask questions in the board that fits best
  • Check out available resources before posting
  • Start a new topic for your question
  • Good titles make a difference
  • Separate feedback from questions
  • Provide as much information as possible
  • Stay positive!

Questions are best placed in any of the boards listed in the Ask the Community category.  For example, if my question is about a payment I'm sending, I would want to place my question in the About Payments board.  We've added descriptions to each of the boards, and included a floating topic in each board, to help you decide where your question fits best.  Still not sure?  Give it your best shot - chances are, your selection will be correct.  Smiley Happy

 

  • Check out available resources before posting

It's always a good idea to check out the Tips from Moderators and Tips from Members sections before starting a new topic.  These boards have some great information and are targeted towards questions the Community sees on a regular basis. 

 

We also recommend searching the Community and the Help Center before posting to see if your question has been asked before by someone else.  If you do post in a thread where your question has already been asked, we also recommend reviewing the thread for the answer before posting.  Asking the same question that was already answered seldom garners much of a response.

 

  • Start a new topic for your question

I know it's tempting to append a question to an ongoing thread that may not be related to your question, especially if you see that the previous poster received excellent advice from someone else.  Unfortunately, these types of questions are usually ignored by the original participants, as they have likely moved on to other subjects and other questions.

 

On the same note, it's not a good idea to revive a really old topic, as the Community has moved past that particular thread.  Unless your question is very closely related to the topic you want to post in, it's best to start a new topic for your question.  You'll have better visibility for your unique question and other readers will know you haven't been answered.

 

In some instances, you may see the moderation staff create an ongoing thread for a particular issue or error message.  Please feel free to review and post in those threads if your question is related to the topic!

 

  • Good titles make a difference

I can't stress enough about how a title for a post can make it or break it.  Titling is a fine art in and of itself, but to boil it down to what's truly important?  Keep it meaningful, keep it short, and keep it productive.  If you're considering a title that is the opposite of any of these, please reconsider; long, critical, and/or meaningless titles tend to drive away others who would want to help you.

 

  • Separate feedback from questions

A few weeks ago I was working on a programming issue for my home computer, and, stumped by an error I kept running into, I spent a few minutes complaining about the issue and why it was so frustrating.  That's natural - everyone expects a bit of venting when something frustrates us or we become flustered when dealing with an issue.  I know I did! Smiley Happy

 

The Community understands you're going to vent a bit if the same thing has happened with PayPal.  If your post primarily focuses on criticism or a complaint, however, consider posting that part separately in the My Feedback for PayPal board instead.  Then, go back and take out just the question part and post it separately in the appropriate Ask the Community section.

 

Why would we recommend this?  Our experience has been that posts that focus on feedback, only receive feedback.  Posts that focus on questions, receive answers.  As such, the moderation team also moves posts that focus on feedback to the My Feedback for PayPal board to help keep the Ask the Community section productive.

 

  • Provide as much information as possible

When posting your question, be as specific as possible.  What sort of problem are you encountering?  What are you trying to do?  What result would you like?  What steps did you take that resulted in the error?  If you are receiving an error message, what is the error message?  What solutions have you tried and what happened?  These are some of the most important points to include, but the key is being specific about details - just, please don't include any personally identifiable information in your post.  Remember, Community members can't see your account, so they won't be able to use that information to help you. 

 

  • Stay positive!

The last tip I can provide is one of the most basic, yet the best: keep posts positive when asking a question.  Questions that are riddled with profanity, are rude, discourteous, or disrespectful, are usually left alone by other Community members.  Keeping your post positive keeps the door open for the help you want!

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