How to Get the Most Out of the Users' Mailing List

Here are some suggestions for getting the fastest, most helpful solutions to your problems from the community. Be respectful of the fact that people responding to questions on the user's list are volunteering their time to answer your question! Demanding immediate answers or not showing evidence of attempting to diagnose your problem and/or see if it's been discussed elsewhere before posting does not demonstrate respect.

Even if you skip the rest of this page, try to imagine the roles are reversed. That is, you're the expert and someone from the community is asking an equivalent question. Would you, as the person answering the question, have enough information to say anything helpful? Or is the question so vague that there's nothing you can say? Far too often questions are asked that are, essentially, "It doesn't work, how can I fix it?".

By taking the time to write good questions, you'll accomplish several things. The most important from your point of view is that extra 15 minutes you take making your question as clear and complete as you can will almost assuredly get you an answer quicker. It'll take much more than that 15 minutes for someone to notice it, read it and scratch their heads and ask for clarification, you to provide that clarification and then someone to respond with useful suggestions.

Some general guidelines

*First and foremost: Try to find the answer before posting. There's no faster way to get the answer to your question than finding it's already been answered. Some of the places to look are:

  • The Official Solr Documentation:
    • In particular, check the Solr Reference Guide for the version of Solr you are using, or check the the GitHub repository of the next version of the guide for the latest updates.
  • The Solr Community Wiki: (you are here already)
  • Search the users' list archives. Try Official Apache Archives, more recent Apache Lists or the facetable navigation version from Sematext: *And, of course, web searches (Google, DuckDuckGo, or other favorite web search engine).
    *Be aware of all the advice in the extremely well written: "How to ask questions the smart way"
    • NOTE: this document provides generic advice about asking questions, please do not attempt to contact any email address listed on that doc with your Solr questions.)
      *State the problem you're experiencing in the subject line. This allows readers with knowledge of that topic to focus in on it, or skip it if they're clueless.
      *Details matter. If you ask/state something very vague and simple like "indexing doesn't work", it usually won't be possible for anyone to figure out exactly what's gone wrong and help you.
      *Provide as much relevant context as you can. Remember that your readers have no context for your post. They haven't seen what you have (or haven't) tried. And they most certainly can't see any output. Provide this information. See below for specifics. The points below apply to all.
      *Let your readers know what you've found at the various pages in Admin UI for your collection/core at http://localhost:8983/. Note your local installation's URL may differ. Particularly helpful links on that page, besides the page itself, are "analysis" and "schema browser". Take some time to get familiar with the admin page, it'll provide you a wealth of information.
      *Find your SOLR log file. This will be located in our servlet container's log directory. You really, really, really, really need to find this directory.
      *One surprising thing is that often, by making the extra effort to write a clear and concise statement of the problem, the relevant context, and your attempted solutions, you'll find the solution.
      *Proofread your post, imagining that you are the expert reading it. Is there enough information that you would know what to recommend as a next step?
      *Give back by trying to answer questions that you *do* have knowledge of. You're not only helping the poster, you're allowing those with knowledge of other areas to help with other problems. As a bonus, it's one of the fastest way to learn. If you have an idea but aren't certain, just say so. People on the SOLR list are pretty gentle about correcting misconceptions; they appreciate the fact that you're making the effort to help.
      *Please write as clearly and grammatically as you can. This makes it easier to understand your problem. That said, don't worry if English isn't your first language, just do your best.

Information useful for indexing problems

  • If you haven't already, please read the general guidelines above.
  • The definitions from your schema file for the relevant fields, or from your config file.
  • Sample data that you're trying to index.
  • The commands you used to try to index.
  • Any output or errors you received.
  • Any log file information that looks relevant.

Other useful information you'd need if you were trying to diagnose this problem if someone else had submitted it.

Information useful for searching problems

  • If you haven't already, please read the general guidelines above.
  • Sample data that you you've indexed that you think should satisfy the search that's behaving unexpectedly.
  • What you do expect, and why.
  • Sample requests with all query params if you're not getting the results you expect, especially the output you get by adding echoParams=all&debugQuery=on to the URL you fire at SOLR.
  • The definitions from your schema file for the relevant fields, and the requestHandler configuration from your solrconfig.xml
  • Any log information that looks relevant.

Other useful information you'd need if you were trying to diagnose this problem if someone *else had submitted it.

Useful tools

  • First and foremost, the SOLR admin page and links thereon.
  • Luke (google Lucene Luke). This allows you to look at your index in detail.
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