How to get the most help from the Forum
Many new users come here for help with an issue they are having with Node-RED. I hope no one will be offended if I offer some unsolicited advice that might help them get the help they need. Many members of this group are willing to volunteer to assist others, as long as it is recognized that their time is valuable and should be treated with respect. They will generally provide guidance and encouragement, but do not expect complete solutions or large amounts of working code.
These suggestions will apply in most cases and can help you get the most help with the least time and effort. The important things to do are:
- Search and read the Forum.
- Identify your hardware and software.
- Describe your issue.
- Give a working example.
- Answer questions.
In more detail:
- Search and read. If you are new to the Forum, your question may already have been answered. If not, developing a set of search terms will help you create a title for your post that will get the best response. As you post, Discourse will do its own search, which is sometimes effective. Reading a few posts will help you get a sense of how the Forum works and who are the most frequent and helpful participants.
Hardware and software. Give a complete description of the hardware and software you are using: hardware platform, OS (and version), Node-RED version, node.js version, and other software (e.g., InfluxDB, Grafana, Home Assistant), as well as any software container management, such as Docker, or virtual machine you may be using. Identify fully any contributed (non-core) nodes in your flow as
@scope/nodename. When Node-RED starts, the Node-RED and node.js versions are reported to the console, along with other useful information about your configuration. You may want want to include this output in your post.
- Issue. Describe what you want to accomplish, what you have tried, and in what way it has not worked. You may have a theory of what is wrong, but keep an open mind to different ideas. The Forum requires that you select a category for your post. Most will fall into the "general" category, but if another is more appropriate or specific, use it.
Example. Give a simple flow, using only core nodes if possible, that demonstrates your issue and could possibly be modified to resolve it. Generous use of
debugnodes will help show what the flow is doing, and giving them descriptive names makes it easier to interpret the debug window. If you think a particular node causes the issue, capture both its input and output. Requiring specific, unusual hardware or software will limit the number of people who can contribute. Post the flow as advised here. Screenshots from the editor can help a reader without immediate access to Node-RED, but they cannot substitute for the actual flow JSON. Similarly, text from
functionnodes should be posted between one or three back tics (`) so that the reader can copy it.
- Q & A. Start from the assumption that anyone who replies understands your problem and is making a serious effort to help. Consider suggestions carefully, test all proposed solutions, and respond reasonably promptly. Communication breakdowns will happen, but they can be overcome with patience. Your discussion may be valuable to other Forum members, so try to write clearly and completely enough that future readers can follow. Finally, if you resolve your issue, you should check the the "solution" checkbox as a courtesy to people participating in the discussion and to help others decide whether they want to read it.
This may seem like a lot to keep in mind, but the process will quickly become automatic. If I have misstated or omitted anything, please comment.