The biggest mistake newbies make is an unintentional lack of tact caused by excitement at having found a bunch of people who share their interest in electronics.
How to avoid this and increase your chances of getting help on Electronics_101 list:
1. Say please, and thank you. If people feel like you are demanding help, and not likely to be appreciative, they are a lot less likely to help.
2. Don't ask for people to email you off-list with an answer. Asking for an answer off-list is kind of arrogant. You are asking someone to not share their answer, for their help to go only to you. Or you are saying that you expect someone else to take the time to answer your question for free, but that you aren't willing to take the time to come back to the list and look for answers.
3a. Use a subject line that makes sense. Many of us have been here for a long time and are on many lists, and may scan subject lines and only read those that either interest us or cover something we think we can help with. Subject lines like "Help me", or "Strange thing" aren't likely to get as many people reading your message.
3b. Don't hijack another thread to ask your own unrelated question. It's rude, and will likely result in a lot fewer people responding. And please do NOT start a new thread by replying to another message. Even if you change the subject line completely and trim all the original messages off, there is information in the hidden header that Yahoogroups detects and then lists it as if it were part of that thread.
To start a new thread, start a new message to the list address. firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Be specific with your questions, and show us you've done your own work. Don't ask us to teach you everything there is to know about the subject, entire books have been written about even narrow fields in electronics. "How do I use a transistor" is way too broad.
5. Use Google first. Search the internet, look in the Links section of this list and search the archives of this list, too.
6. Don't ask us to do your homework for you. Many of us have gone through school and can pretty quickly figure out when it's just a homework question. Hey, if we weren't that smart, you wouldn't be asking us for help.
7a. And from the other side of the coin, when someone new joins the list please keep in mind that English is a second language to most of the world. Please write things out, many of us will ignore messages written in "texting language". Example: "i nd hlp 4 my projct, r u abl 2 hlp?" And as the joke goes, England and America are "separated by a common language". A recent study indicates that people are convinced they can read accurately the emotions behind an email about 90% of the time, when in fact they are only 50% accurate.
7b. Also recalling that English is a second language for many list members, refrain from taunting or making fun of anyone's potentially awkward grammar.
8a. When uploading an image into the Files section, please use JPG or GIF or PNG. Do -not- use BMP, the file size is a lot larger and it takes up space unnecessarily. DOC files are subject to viruses and require separate software that not everyone can afford or wishes to download, or may not be able to install (such as on a library computer) so TXT or RTF is preferred. Files uploaded without a description will be deleted.
8b. Crop your images. We want to see that picture of your homemade solder oven controller, we don't need to see your whole kitchen. It bloats the file sizes.
9. When posting a schematic or picture in order to ask questions about it, do -not- put the question in the image! Put the question in a post. It is difficult to quote and respond if the question is in a GIF or JPG. Files without a proper description may be deleted at any time.
10. If there is a schematic, datasheet, program, etc. that is on a website, don't post it to the Files or Photos section. Instead, post a link in the Links section.
11. Please trim your replies! Cut out what isn't necessary in the quoted text. Leaving it in makes it much harder for people on Digest to read messages. And many people have limited internet access, and it may cost them for every minute they are online. If you have properly trimmed quoted text and taken care that your reply is clear, no one should care if you top post, bottom post, or interleave post.
12. If you want everyone to bottom post, or top post, or send replies to you via telepathy, then you'll just have to live without it because the subject is Off Topic. We're all tired of hearing about why your method is the best and how everyone should switch to it immediately.
13. Do NOT forward virus warnings, feel-good stories, political screeds, or chain letters. There are lists for all of those things, and if we want them then we'll sign up on those lists. I may set you on Moderated status, or ban you if you continue.
14. Do not post invitations to join social networking sites. We're all tired of getting them on multiple lists. If you have to ask us to be your friend, we probably aren't.