Tips for Getting Started on GeoNet (general and Alaska User Group specific)

12-17-2014 06:30 PM

Tips for Getting Started on GeoNet (general and Alaska User Group specific)

GeoNet is Esri’s replacement for the older forums, but also includes a location for custom “groups” that can be created for sharing tips, Q&A, and general points of (GIS) interest for those that “join”, participate or following a group. The GeoNet site as a whole can be pretty intimidating, and a full set of help can be found here on GeoNet Help, but below are some simple steps to get started, get help, and to participate in the Alaska User Group page [tips could be adapted for other groups and “spaces” as well].

Finding help:

First, if you have an issue/error and are looking to see if it’s already been asked and answered, it is sometimes easiest (in my opinion) to use your browser's search bar. (I may modify my opinion of this now, since the "type your question" box is now much more prominent and responsive to intelii-sense searching)  Many of the links that will be returned will be on GeoNet already, but StackExchange is also a popular and reliable site for answers (as well as other sites).  Search hint: include the word ArcGIS, a version number, an error number, if available (and not the generic 9999) and part of the error message in quotes.  Simplify the search string (including dropping version) if not enough valid/related results are returned.

  • To ask a question (a question is a "Discussion" with the question box checked) :

    • Most Group and/or Places will have a place to"Type your Question". Try not to ask a question in a "Status Update" slot. (Tips to ask the question in the right box are below the .may want to skim thru those first). As you type, GeoNet will search and attempt to find similar, previously asked questions.  If you don't find what you want, click "Ask it"
    • You must be logged in to ask new question, however, the "type a question" search works without being logged in.  If you had an Esri “global account” in the past, that should still work. If not, easy to set up new account.
    • Find a group or place that is related to your question. Asking the question in the correct group/space is important to make sure the correct users see the question. Having it in the wrong space could delay responses, or get overlooked all together. Finding the right space can be a bit intimidating at first, but several sources to help:
      • First, it helps to know the difference between a “group” and a “place”:
        • Groups are user created and are independent of any other group or space.
        • Spaces are admin (mainly esri) created and form a hierarchy.
      • An (unofficial) visual look (12/7/14) of the Esri places‌  This PDF file gives a quick graphical look at many of the esri places in a hierarchical look....shows how complex, but also helps puts it into perspective.
      • An official GeoNet Community Structure table GeoNet Community Structure
      • The “Forums Migration Strategy” ArcGIS Discussion Forums Migration Strategy   - If you know where you used to ask the question in the old forums, this might help you figure out where to put them now.
      • NOTE:  the above do not contain “groups”.   One way to find groups is to select “Places” on the geoNet header, then type “groups” in the search box   OR
    • Try to provide a title that describes the issues, not just "Help please".
    • Put enough information in the body to give other users something to work with, otherwise the first response will probably be "can you provide..."  Include the software you are using (ArcMap, ArcCatalog, Server, Online, Web-Application-Builder (WAB - specify online version or developer version), ArcCollector, ArcSDE, Flex API, JaveScript API, Python, etc), version, software/hardware if applicable, and as much info as you can to describe the problem,  If in a group/place other than the Alaska GIS Users page, but would like to make sure it is included/mentioned on the page, can use the "@mention"  feature like Alaska GIS Users
    • Specify if you want to ask in a specific group only, to specific people, or to the entire community (may get more responses this way)

    • Add tags that are appropriate for your question (box at the end).  If it has something that would be of interest to Alaska users, include tags "alaska" and/or "aaug" ...these already exist and should auto-populate as you type.  typically there a tags for all the esri products, APIs, platforms, etc.  Do not create new ones if there is something that already exists.  Having tags helps others find your message when searching, and also filters for "custom streams" as mention in the next section.
    • Follow up on your question:
      • Be responsive to those that reply to your question, and of course, be polite and professional (no flaming)
      • If a response is helpful, but maybe didn't quite answer the question, mark Helpful|Yes  
        This can be done on other user's Q&A too, since sometimes many "helpful"s are the closest to an "answered" a question will get.
      • If answered, make sure to mark the correct response, and not your thank you response.
        This brings the answer to the top and marks the question as answered, making it easier for others to find.

Joining vs. Following (must be logged in):

  • ...need to look up definitiion between the two...will add later
  • To Join a group: select "Places" under the GeoNet header.  Locate a group you would like to join. Use pulldown by the gear symbol and select Join Group.
  • To Follow a group (multiple places to do this, and multiple options on how to follow):
    • If you join, you are automatically changed to "Following in ~1"
    • Follow the same procedure as above, but select Follow.  This can also be done for Places.
    • Can also go to the Group/Place page and follow there.
    • "Following in ~1" means is will show up in your default "Connections Stream".  You can also create custom "streams" and assign different groups/places to different "streams" to provide your own pre-filtering.    Every new "Follow In" check box will +/- the number.
    • You can also follow in you InBox which will send you an email within your GeoNet profile, and email to the email you have list in your profile.  This may be nice for some high priority topics for you, but can get overwhelming pretty fast if you do this for all...can always go and uncheck.
  • To Follow a thread/question/discussion etc:
    • If you start or respond to any of these, you are automatically following ~1.  you can add additional following options if you want.
    • If you find a thread you would like to follow, you can always view and choose to follow
  • To Follow a person's GeoNet threads/activities:
    • typically, if you hover over the user's avatar or name, a thumbnail of their profile will pop-up and you can choose to follow from there.
    • You can follow from their full profile page
    • You can only direct mail (in GeoNet) those that you follow and that follow you.

Other Actions:

  • There are many other options and actions that we can provide (or not) on the Alaska GIS Users page. The graphic shows what is available. The GeoNet Help describes these, so I will not give details here (at this time).

Hopefully this is enough to get users started.  Browsing the site is available without a login.  Feel free to comment or offer suggestions.  This is not a replacement for the full help, but may help users get started.  Thanks.
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