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Often times the easiest way to find the answer to a question is by inspecting the OP's blendfile.

I personally try and ask for a .blend in a way which describes a few possible causes (in case it turns out one of them is the cause, then the need for a .blend is avoided), or just saying something like:

There are many possible reasons this could be happening. The easiest way for us to determine the cause is by inspecting your file.

or sometimes:

Is it possible you could upload your .blend?

Acknowledging that some users might not be able to share their file.
Is this a good idea? Or does it create to much noise?

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  • $\begingroup$ From my own experience i can tell that in the majority of all cases i could find answers much faster when i had the chance to look at an example blend file. So in the sense of "Help us to let us help you" i believe that a user can be asked to put some effort into creating a simple demo blend file to show the issue. And often while creating the demo the solution steps in automatically. In that case a user could post the problem and the answer in one step :) $\endgroup$ – Gaia Clary Sep 18 '14 at 12:34
  • $\begingroup$ I don't really see the point of this question. We've been doing this since the site launched. Could hardly be considered noise if you are discussing the question at hand. $\endgroup$ – iKlsR Sep 21 '14 at 9:19
  • $\begingroup$ @iKlsR Yeah.. I didn't really phrase it right. I've seen some users asking for a .blend with (imo) overly short comments like "upload blend.", and I felt that we ought to be at least a little bit more polite.. But maybe that's just me making mountains out of molehills. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Oct 1 '14 at 22:00
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Blender is a visual tool and explaining errors/undefined behaviour might be tricky especially for new users, so sharing a file is often the best means to communicate what the problem could be. Us experienced users can usually immediate spot what is off rather than reading two paragraphs of text and then assuming what the problem might be so I don't think calling for a file could be called noise.

If op for some reason cannot or doesn't want to share their file, simply ask them for a test blend that reproduces said error. I also don't think that we need to be extra formal, they are here for help after all and should make the effort to communicate what they want, a simple "could you upload your file" should suffice in most instances.

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