Hi, New Guys – I offer this as hints and suggestions to maximize your enjoyment of this forum, and minimize criticism that may catch you off guard. These aren’t “rules” – it’s not my forum, I cannot set the rules. But after several years of observations, and having made new guy mistakes myself, here are my two cents.
Good things to do:
1) Complete your profile. You will help contributors to answer your questions. Please provide the year and model of your car, and at least the continent you live on. If you have several Benzes in your profile, specify which one you’re talking about. The proper answer to your question can vary widely based on this information.
2) Use the search tool; the advanced search is especially helpful. You are probably not the first person to experience the problem, and some true experts may already have answered it – sometimes, they have answered many times. Plus, if the answer is already there, you have it sooner!
3) If you have searched, but not found the answer, it helps if you say so. That keeps curmudgeons like me from saying “Welcome to the forum; the search tool is your friend,” and ending the response there. Even worse, it may avoid someone telling you to "STFF."
4) If you find a string that seems to deal with your problem, read all of it. It is astounding how many people will simply see someone say “please e-mail me (item XYZ),” then skip to the end of the string and say “please e-mail it to me too” – when the answer was already in the middle of the string because some kind soul wrote the whole answer out to avoid all the e-mail requests.
5) Be sure to research an issue before you send someone an e-mail or a private message (PM) on a topic. I must confess I grind my teeth when I have poured days into writing some fairly extensive posts such as the How-To Guide on Cell Phones (a sticky right at the top of the audio and electronics forum), only to have someone take up my limited PM space with “I just bought a (model, year) Mercedes – how do I put Bluetooth in it?” Bad form. Sure, if the post not clear, or you have a particularly difficult problem, PM is proper. But at least read what’s already there, first.
6) Instead of re-opening a 3 year old string that hasn’t had activity for 2 years, you’ll have better luck starting a new string.
7) This won’t apply to most, but it will apply to some, especially in the U.S. Use good English, and make an effort at proper punctuation. This is an international forum. Avoid run-on, stream-of-thought, unpunctuated garbage. Avoid “street talk” or some takeoff on what you believe is spoken in the ‘hood somewhere – you may think it’s cool, but it’s not. It’s just rude. For an example of this, see http://www.benzworld.org/forums/audi...-no-radio.html
. Some of our best and most knowledgeable contributors do not live in the U.S. – you may miss an excellent response because you did not make yourself understood, or because you showed so little respect for the language they won’t bother with you. Neither will I. Most folks who can afford a Mercedes in the U.S. are reasonably well educated. Best to show it.
8) Item 7 above is not directed at folks for whom English is not a primary language. Keep your questions coming, and try to be patient with us. We’ll keep trying until we understand.
Things to avoid:
1) Asking someone to do something you can easily do yourself. If something is in your owner’s manual or your COMAND manual, you shouldn’t have to ask here. If you don’t have your manuals, please say you don’t have them - we can often tell you where to get them electronically, or where to order a printed set. We'll probably also then answer your specific question. But please don't abuse it - that will avoid answers like “It’s in your owner’s manual; try reading it.”
2) Abusing contributors’ time. If you don’t know whether “Left” and “Right” with respect to fuse boxes means facing the car from the front, or sitting in it facing forward, don’t ask someone to go out and look at the boxes for you, just so you can find a particular fuse on the first try. There are only two boxes, and they aren’t hard to open – go look for yourself. By the way, it’s also covered in some owners manuals. That’s just one recent example. Asking someone to scan an entire manual and to e-mail it is just inconsiderate of the time it would take. If you’re just plain lazy and demand that someone do your work for you – remember, you’re not paying contributors to respond to your questions, and they owe you nothing. You can always take it to a dealer and pay him for his time.
3) Complaining about not getting an answer within an hour or so - or even a day or so. Again, it's an international forum. Your question may have been posted just as the expert who is going to answer it went to bed, and he will get up to a full day's work before checking the forum again. Remember, he doesn't work for you. On the other hand, if you don't get an answer for days, bump your question up, or just re-post it. Consider whether it was asked in the best forum for the subject matter.
4) Asking for radio codes!!! Providing them on the forum only aids thieves, and identifies the forum itself as an easy source to bypass the anti-theft features of our head units; this hurts not only owners whose cars become easier targets for theft, but the forum as well. There are many posts on this forum that tell you where and how to get the radio codes legitimately. We're happy to help with problems entering the code once you have it.
5) Criticizing a contributor for not doing something you could do easily in your part of the world, without considering the contributor’s circumstances. Some of us can just run by the dealer after work, to pick something up; folks in some parts of the world have to drive 500 miles to get to a dealer.
6) Responding to someone who has “tweaked” you a bit for committing a gaffe, such as those mentioned here, with “I thought the purpose of the forum was to share knowledge.” It is – but we must share knowledge responsibly. Defeating anti-theft measures, posting copyrighted material, and bypassing copyright protection are just some examples of irresponsible “sharing.” Some of those steps can get the forum into legal trouble, not to mention the violator.
7) Letting a harsh response get you down. Maybe you deserved it. Maybe the responder was just a jerk. Maybe you feel you're just not up to speed enough to participate. Rubbish. One thing I have seen time and again is the change in a new guy, first asking nothing but questions, but then beginning to answer others' questions, and then becoming very strong contributors themselves. It's a pleasure to see. Stay at it!
Those things said – Welcome to the forum, and have a great time!