Help chat

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Please read this before you ask for help on the #olpc-help channel.

Things to try before chatting

Try to find the answer yourself

Before asking your question, it's a good idea to find out whether someone else has answered it already. OLPC volunteers are very busy and appreciate any sleuthing you can do on your own to help them out.

  1. Have you searched this wiki? There is a Google search and a Wiki search box on the left.
  2. Have you searched the forums?
  3. Have you searched Google? (Our search engine of choice.)

Try to track down the problem

So you haven't been able to find answers online - now it's time to figure out how to describe the problem so that other people can help you. Some things to think about, for starters:

  • What were you doing when the problem occurred? (The more detailed, the better - what were you trying to do, what program or build are you running, what button did you just click?)
  • Are there any error messages or blinking lights? What are they? (Try searching for the text of your error messages on Google and the wiki.)
  • Has the problem always existed? (Were you able to charge your battery or run a program before and it just stopped working now, or have you not been able to do it at all?)
  • Where did you look for answers? What did you find? Have others seemed to have this problem before?
  • What have you tried to fix it?
  • What kind of computer/Linux/programming/XO experience do you have? (This is helpful for others to know how detailed to make their answers.)
  • Do you have any guesses or ideas as to what the problem or solution might be?

Beginning to chat

  • Make your nick easy to type. The web chat will automatically give you a default nick, but names like "mollyc" or "tigerboy" are easier for others to type (and remember) than "Blue-Tan-56".
  • Introduce yourself and ask your question. If you're here for help, ask for it - don't ask whether you can ask a question, just ask it. If you stay quiet, most people will assume you've come to listen and learn. Don't be afraid to be the first to speak.
  • Address people by name. If you're trying to get the attention of someone specific in the chatroom, including their nick (their chat login/username) will usually highlight your message in their window, making it easier for them to notice you. This applies to both getting and giving help. (ex. "wikipedia:foo: Thanks for helping me with wikipedia:bar."

While you're chatting

  • Be nice. Be polite. Be helpful. Even if you're frustrated, the people in the chatroom probably didn't cause your problem - they're trying to help you.
  • Listen. Try to understand what others are saying and where they're coming from.
  • Stay on topic. #olpc-help is a place for people to ask for help with their XO or other OLPC-related things. It's not the best place to ask how to fix your bike or talk about your dog.
  • Keep it clean, please. Our community of chatters includes young XO users and their families. Profanity and vulgarity are the fastest ways to get booted from the room.
  • Use proper English. Please don't use "words" like "thx", "u", "ppl", and "kewl" - they drive many of our volunteers nuts. This includes l337speak and odd usages of CaPiTaL lEtTeRS as well as SHOUTING IN ALL CAPS!!!!!1111
  • Be patient! Many volunteers in the help chatroom are multitasking - it may take a while for them to respond. Currently, most chatters seem to be based in North America; if it's 5am EST, there may not be many people awake. If you don't get any responses, try coming back at a different time when there are more people. Don't keep repeating your question into empty air.
  • Don't share personal details unless you feel comfortable doing so. Generally, the chatrooms are a pretty safe place, but normal internet security stuff still applies.