How to use the mailing lists

In this article I will explain how to effectively ask for help on ForgeRock mailing lists. Following these simple guidelines will help you to solve your problem much more quickly and will benefit others in the community.

Look up the documentation first

In case you have a question about a certain behavior, then the product documentation should be the first place to check. If the documentation is sparse or ambiguous on a given subject, please do file a documentation bug about it in our public JIRA.

Check if your question has been asked already

The mailing list has an official archive (and a non-official mirror), both of which should be searchable using your favorite search engine. When using Google you can use advanced search filters like “site:lists.forgerock.org” which can increase the number of useful hits.

Check debug logs for clues

OpenAM has very verbose debug logging, so be sure that you’ve checked it for additional clues. Please note that in case of OpenAM, the debug logs are under the debug folder and the log folder actually only contains audit logs. For more details on debug logs please see this wiki article, for other useful troubleshooting tips see my blog post.

Provide version details

When encountering a bug/issue it is very useful to have version details, as it makes quite a difference whether you are using a 3,5 year old version of the product or the latest nightly. With older versions it is more likely that you’ve ran into an issue that is already fixed, while with a more recent version of the product we can rule all those out and suspect a possible regression/new bug.

Provide error messages

You’ve ran into some odd behavior and see some error message in your browser? Provide the exact error message you’ve seen. If it is a generic error message (like Authentication failed), then assume that it won’t be useful and think about including additional details of the use-case.

Be clear in your e-mails

Think about the mailing list members as people who spend time on trying to help you, so the least you can do is try to be as clear as possible, so make sure

  • the problem statement is understandable and has the necessary level of detail
  • it is absolutely clear what isn’t working under what scenario.

When the problem is resolved, provide solution

So you just spent a good day looking at some odd problem? Be sure you share your freshly gained knowledge and provide the solution for the other members.

Help others if you can

The mailing list is a community effort, so don’t just ask for help, but help others if you can. It is a really good feeling to resolve someone’s problem, believe me. Plus you never know how many free beer offers you can get out of these. :)