Wednesday 16 August 2006 @ 11:17 am

The second thing I would want every Crystal user to know would be the existance of Tek-Tips.com. This site should be in the ‘bookmarks’ of every Crystal Reports user.

Tek-Tips is a free site where technical professionals get to ask and answer each other’s technical questions. Now I know there there are lots of sites and newsgroups out there but Tek-Tips is special. It has over one million members and has over 100,000 posts per week. Forums exist for every imaginable hardware and software product. If you are a Crystal Reports user there are 4 forums dedicated just to Crystal Reports. The most active of these has 45,000 Crystal Reports users and is the most active Crystal Reports forum I have seen anywhere on the Internet. It is the one of the few places where I can go to learn new things about Crystal Reports.

And this site is popular for a reason. No spam, advertising or soliciting is allowed. Posts that break the rules are quickly flagged by the other members for deletion. Any post that is especially helpful is also flagged by users which gives some recognition for the person writing the answer. People with the most helpful posts get their names prominently displayed on the site. This recognition helps to motivate some of the posters, many of which spend hours helping other users and no-one gets paid for posting.

I should know. I spent months earning the rank of top Crystal expert on the site. I held that spot for 2 years until my growing family absorbed most of my downtime. I have slipped to the second slot.

The site is free but it is supported by add banners on each page and on some key word ads within the posts. You have the option of receiving Email notices and ads but this is not required.

One warning, though. There is an unwritten rule that says members are eventually expected to share your knowledge by answering other peoples questions. Members who ask lots of questions but never contribute run the risk being banned from the site. This usually happens without warning or notice and is an unrevokable ban. The site simply stops letting you log in and no one responds to your Email. I find this pretty harsh for breaking an unwritten rule. At the same time I think the guys who run the site have done so many things right that I find it hard to criticize them.

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