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Best practices for using this Answers site

Finding the right answer should be easy. Together we can build and maintain a well organized, growing knowledge base by practicing a bit of good Question and Answer hygiene.

Below are 12 tips for using Answers in a way that will help the whole FlexSim community get maximum value from the site, and keep our content organized, efficient, and intuitive. These tips are adapted from this Devada article. Devada makes AnswerHub, which powers this site.

  1. Search existing questions before asking. Use the advanced search functionality to look for a question you may have before asking it. You may find your question has already been asked and answered. This saves you and other community members time and effort. Please also search our online user manual. Your answer may be in FlexSim's documentation.
  2. Post a model that demonstrates your question. The best case is to make a simple model that demonstrates the question or issue. If the model is sensitive, you can post a private question.
  3. Make your question titles descriptive. Making a question's title descriptive makes it much easier for other people searching the site to find what they need. Question titles like Problem with conveyor are not very helpful when searching, whereas titles like Item gets stuck at photo eye when using area restriction are much more helpful. The question title should not be too verbose, but it should describe the problem well.
  4. Post content in the right space. When creating content, it's important to select the appropriate space for it to be posted. Choosing the right space for your content will not only keep the community organized, it's also more likely to be viewed and responded to by the right community members. Need help with some aspect of FlexSim or your simulation? It goes into the Software & Simulation Questions space. Starting a discussion that doesn't have a specific answer? General Discussion is the space it should go in. Don't post an article to ask a question - do that with a question. Don't use a question to request a feature - that should be posted as an idea.
  5. Mark correct answers as accepted. It's important to accept a correct answer to a question, especially the questions that you asked. This will make finding the right answer much easier for other members and let the community know that your problem has been solved. Let others know what answers helped you solve questions by upvoting or liking correct answers to show community support.
  6. Share your knowledge by answering questions. See a question you know the answer to? Submit an answer with text, images, links, videos, and more to support your answer and to help fellow community members.
  7. Use comments and replies. Only post an answer when you're actually answering a question. You can use comments, or directly reply to others' comments to provide support, additional information or ask for further explanations when necessary.
  8. Ask experts directly. Want a reliable answer quickly? You can ask an expert directly after creating a question and the expert will be notified. Use the 'at' symbol @ and start typing someone's name, and they will be notified that they were referenced in a post. Be sure to use the autocomplete as you type their name, or you may type it incorrectly and the user will not be notified. A properly formatted @mention automatically becomes a link. If it's not a link (like this: @Ben Wilson!), try again.
  9. Avoid overdoing @mentions. Don't make the mistake of @mentioning more people than is necessary to try to draw attention to your question:Your question is just as important as any other question. The community will help you to the best of our ability regardless, so there is no need to spam multiple users in hopes of bumping up your priority. If anything, annoying active members on the community you will only hurt your cause.
  10. Monitor reputation points and the leader-board. See how you rank in your community with reputation points. Reputation reflects engagement levels like questions asked, answers submitted, upvotes, and more.
  11. Become an expert yourself. Have an area of expertise? By providing knowledgeable answers you can be recognized as a topic expert. The system identifies these users based on the number of accepted answers you provide within a topic. Additionally, you can self-identify areas of expertise in your profile settings. Topic experts receive an elevated role in the community and get notified when content is posted within their area of expertise.
  12. Follow topics of interest. Want to continue learning about a specific topic in your community? Follow a topic and receive activity updates in your inbox instantly, daily, or on a weekly basis. Change notification frequency and other settings within your profile.
  13. Visit the community often. The more we contribute to the community, the more valuable it becomes for everyone. Have an article you want to share? Post it. Want to share an idea and generate a discussion among other FlexSim users? Answers is a great place to facilitate "ideation" and collaboration.

Additional pointers for using answers.flexsim.com:

  1. Use the latest version of your internet browser. Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and other modern browsers should be fully compatible with this Answers site. For the safest, fastest, and most compatible browsing experience, please keep your browser version up-to-date with its latest release. Internet Explorer is an older browser and is not supported.
  2. Preparation We expect you to have some foundation of FlexSim knowledge and experience before asking a question. If you're new to FlexSim, before asking questions here, please take the time to go through the in-software tutorials.
  3. Topics - when you create a post, whether it's a question, article, or idea, you must tag your post with at least 1 topic (and up to 5 topics) to help identify the main issues of your post. As you add topics, autocomplete will suggest preexisting topics. Please select a preexisting topic if it is a good match, rather than creating a new, slightly different spelling of an existing topic. Also, please try to keep new topics to only 1 or 2 words.
  4. Ask one question at a time. When composing a new question, limit yourself to a single question. Don't include multiple questions in one post. Each question deserves its own place. When you separate multiple questions into individual posts, it's more likely that more users will participate in your questions, getting you more answer options more quickly, often from multiple individuals. It also makes each post smaller and easier to digest, encouraging more participation.
  5. Follow-up questions. Sometimes it's tempting to ask a follow-up question as a comment to an answer, or even more inappropriately, as a new answer to your first question. New questions that can stand alone should be posted as brand new questions. Only clarifying questions should be asked that expand on the original question/answer/comment that is being discussed. This keeps each question post laser-focused on the top question, and each answer directly pertaining to the main question.
  6. An answer should really be an answer. Each answer should directly address the top question in a post. An answer is never a 'thank you', a comment, or another question. Those each have their place (usually as a comment), but none of them should be posted as an answer. A question can have multiple answers. The question asker (or 'OP' - original poster) should 'accept' the answer that worked best for them. Users can up-vote answers that are helpful, or down-vote those that are not. The top answers will bubble up to the top.
  7. Conversations go in comments - If you need to clarify a part of someone's question ("what version of the software are you using?"), add a comment to that question. If you want to respond to someone's answer ("thank you!" or "that didn't work for me because..."), add a comment to that answer. Need to respond to someone else's comment? Reply specifically to that comment.
  8. Simple and specific questions are best. Simplify your question by creating a sample model that shows the issue, rather than posting a large model (perhaps containing proprietary information) where only one small part of it pertains to the question. Use images to show what is going on and what should be happening. Animated GIFs are even better (example).
  9. Public questions are best. They add to the public knowledge base. They will get community participation, and thus get more answers, faster responses, and broader participation. They can help others in the future. Whenever possible, simplify your question for a general audience.
  10. Private questions are for private information. If you have a question pertaining to your specific license, make it a private question. Only FlexSim US can see the contents of private questions. Anyone you or a moderator invites to a private question with a @ callout will also be able to view the question. The @ callout doesn't actually work yet to invite 3rd parties to a private question. We're working with AnswerHub to figure out how to make this happen, since it would be a fantastic feature. Until then private questions are strictly between the OP (original poster) and FlexSim US.

Post attachments:

  1. Attachments types - If you find that you can't upload a particular file type, simply compress it to .zip and upload that way. Make a note of that in your post so that we can consider allowing your file type.
  2. Attachment sizes - We've tried to be quite generous with total allowable upload sizes. If you find that your attachment(s) are too big to upload, first try compressing to .zip. If that still doesn't get your attachments small enough to post, you may be able to use a 3rd party file hosting service such as Dropbox or SugarSync, and include a link to your uploaded file in your post. Make a note of that in your post so that we can consider increasing the file size limit if this becomes a common problem.
  3. Attachment count - Again, we've tried to be quite generous with the total number of attachments that can be added to a post, primarily because images count against your attachment count. Let us know if you're trying to make a post but run into the max attachment limit.
  1. Simple search

    A search that uses one or more words, separated by spaces.

    For example: Enter transporter resource to perform a search for transporter, resource, or transporter resource.

  2. Refined search

    You can refine your search by adding different symbols (+, -, [, or ]) to your search.

    For example:

    • Entering transporter +resource in the search bar returns results that include transporter and resource, but resource is a required term.
    • Entering transporter -resource in the search bar returns results that include the term transporter, but excludes any that contain the term resource.
    • Entering [transporter] in the search bar returns only results that are tagged with the transporter topic.
    • Entering [transporter] [resource] in the search bar returns only results that are tagged with the transporter and resource topics.
  3. Google search

    This Answers community includes Google Custom Search to easily enable the use of Google's powerful search engine across all FlexSim web sites, including this Answers community, our old, archived community, our online user manual, and more. Please see this question and answer for details.

If you have any questions, comments, or tips of your own that you'd like to share, please start a discussion in the comments below. We can update the article above with the best suggestions or illuminate anything that might be confusing.

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I would like to suggest adding or pinning the best practices to the top of the main page at answers.flexsim.com. I just saw this article for the first time after using the answers website for a few weeks, but would have benefited from reading it on my first visit.

4 Likes 4 ·

I'd like to second @Jon Abbott's comment. This is the first time I've seen this post, and it would be very helpful if it could "stick" to the top of the list, or if it could be linked on the side bar.

2 Likes 2 ·

@Jon Abbott, @Cameron Pluim, @Jörg Vogel,

Thanks for the suggestion.

@Paul Toone was kind enough to make this happen. Let us know if you have any feedback.

2 Likes 2 ·

Thanks for the actual variant. The first attempt was a bit strong. Now it is unobtrusive. I like it.

0 Likes 0 ·

I just saw that it was added - thanks for the rapid turnaround!

0 Likes 0 ·

I think this knowledge forum is good for users, reselling agents and developers. And many questions are recorded in this forum.

I think this means the current manual has not enough contents for the users and agents to study and understand how to use flexsim.

These questions and answer examples should be the contents to be filled in the current manual for usage examples at the proper page.

I think all users and agents should get how to use flexsim very well through MANUAL and should be able to get almost them in ONE source.

If so, the users should read and study the manual and then search the needed in this site. Searching and finding the needed solution in many questions and answers is time-consuming.

'Manual is basic and this forum is an application' is not proper, I think. If so, manual is not needed almost.

I hope the current manual will be updated by adding the example and detail explanation and knowledge from this forum.

0 Likes 0 ·

Different users try to find answers to their questions in different ways. The more information we have in more locations will help all users find information more readily.

This site is not a replacement for the user manual. We will continue to update the user manual to document the software appropriately.

We have moved away from our previous Technical Support mechanism of private questions and answers to a forum that is more public so that answers to questions can be preserved and seen by more than just the original questioner.

This information was being generated for years in our private Support system, and now this wealth of information is becoming publicly available and searchable.

That doesn't take away from the existing usage and maintenance of the user manual. It just makes more information available to more users in more ways so that each user can find answers to their questions faster in a way that suits their workflow.

@Jörg Vogel

2 Likes 2 ·

See my comment to a similar concern.

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We actually are in the process of overhauling the user manual. We have a technical writer working on it full time right now, but it is a big job - the 16.0.1 user manual is almost 1300 printed pages! One focus of the rewrite is to include more examples and tutorials.

Also, one of the intents of posting the latest user manual here on Answers is so that it will be easily searched and commented upon. We hope that useful feedback and comments made to user manual pages can help to improve the manual over time, and be incorporated into future user manual revisions where appropriate.

We hope to get the latest user manual posted here to Answers this week. The version currently posted is 7.7.

0 Likes 0 ·

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Contributors

ben.wilson contributed to this article jordan.johnson contributed to this article matthew.gillespie contributed to this article tanner.p contributed to this article paul.t contributed to this article anthony.johnson contributed to this article

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