Many larger OSS projects maintain IRC channels to discuss their usage or development. When I get stuck on using a project, having tried and failed to find information on the web, one of the ways I try to figure out what to do is to go into the IRC channel and ask.
But my questions are invariably completely ignored by the people in the channel. If there was silence when I entered, there will still be silence. If there is an ongoing conversation, it carries on unperturbed. I leave the channel open for a few hours, hoping that maybe someone will eventually engage me, but nothing happens.
So I worry that I'm being rude in some way I don't understand, or breaking some unspoken rule and being ignored for it. I try to make my questions polite, to the point, and grammatical, and try to indicate that I've tried the obvious solutions and why they didn't work. I understand that I'm obviously a complete stranger to the people on the channel, but I'm not sure how to fix this. Should I just lurk in the channel, saying nothing, for a week? That seems absurd too.
A typical message I send might be "Hello all - I've been trying to get Foo to work, but I keep on getting a BarException. I tried resetting the Quux, but this doesn't seem to do anything. Does anyone have a suggestion on what I could try?"