Getting help online
There are two more steps you can take before formulating a question to the TeX world at large.
First, (if you are seeking a particular package or program), start by looking on your own system: you might already have what you seek — the better TeX distributions provide a wide range of supporting material. The CTAN Catalogue can also identify packages that might help: you can search it, or you can browse it “by topic”. Each catalogue entry has a brief description of the package, and links to known documentation on the net. In fact, a large proportion of CTAN package directories now include documentation, so it's often worth looking at the catalogue entry for a package you're considering using (where possible, each package link in the main body of these FAQs has a link to the relevant catalogue entry).
Failing that, look to see if anyone has solved the problem before; places where people ask are:
comp.text.tex, whose “historical posts” are accessible via
Google groups, and
2. the mailing list
texhax via its archive,
which holds a very long history of the list. A long shot would be to search
the archives of the mailing list's ancient posts on CTAN, which go back to the days when
it was a digest: in those days, a question asked in one issue would only ever be answered
in the next one.
If the “back question” searches fail, you must ask the world at large.
So, how do you like to ask questions? — the three available mechanisms are:
1. Mailing lists: there are various specialist mailing lists, but
the place for “general” (La)TeX queries is the
mailing list. Mail to email@example.com to ask a question,
but it's probably better to subscribe to the list
first — not everyone will answer to you as well as to the list.
2. Newsgroup: to ask a question on
can use your own news client (if you have one), or use the
+ new post button on
StackExchange has a scheme for voting on the quality of answers (and hence of those who offer support). This arrangement is supposed to enable you to rank any answers that are posted.
StackExchange offers hints about "good behaviour", which any user should at least scan before asking for help there. (The hints' principal aim is to maximise the chance that you get useful advice from the first answer; for example, it suggests that you supply a minimal example of your problem, just as these FAQs do. There are people on the site who can be abrasive to those asking questions, who seem not to be following the guidelines for good behaviour)
Do not try mailing the LaTeX project team, the maintainers of the TeX Live or MiKTeX distributions or the maintainers of these FAQs for help; while all these addresses reach experienced (La)TeX users, no small group can possibly have expertise in every area of usage so that the “big” lists and forums are a far better bet.
Source: Getting help online