Forum Guidelines

The Zotero Forums receive tens of thousands of posts per year. Zotero developers, and a number of Zotero experts who volunteer their time, read every post. To allow them to respond quickly, efficiently, and accurately, and to maintain a friendly and helpful atmosphere, please follow the guidelines outlined below.

Existing thread or new thread?

In general, please start a new thread for your issue. It is much better to start a new thread rather than posting to a thread with a potentially unrelated issue. The Zotero developers or volunteers on the forums can point you to a relevant thread if one exists.

If you like, you can take a quick glance at the most recent posts in the forums and do a quick search to see if someone has posted about the same issue. Don't spend more than a couple minutes searching — the forums receive a very high volume of posts, and people will be happy to point you to a relevant thread if one exists.

If you do find an existing thread, read the entire discussion — not just the thread title — to make sure it's relevant, that a solution or workaround hasn't already been provided, and that additional feedback is still necessary. You should also check the date of the last comment to make sure it's not referring to a very old issue that's no longer applicable.

If you're not sure if your issue is exactly the same, it's better to start a new thread, and someone will point you to an existing discussion if appropriate. (You can include links to other possibly relevant threads in your post.)

Syncing issues and word processor plugin issues generally require individual troubleshooting and should almost always go in new threads.

Don't create redundant threads

Don't post on the same issue to more than one thread. Developers and many community members read every post, and posting in more than one place makes things harder both for the people who respond to you and for other people trying to find information on the same issue.

This also applies if you have an existing thread on an issue: don't create a new one for the same problem, even if you've been waiting for a response. If you have additional related comments, just post them to the same thread.

If you want to change something in your original post, you can simply edit it.

Provide enough information

See Reporting Problems for instructions for what to include in your post.


We try our best to keep the atmosphere in the forums helpful and friendly. You can help us by observing the following advice:

  • Post when you're calm. In many cases, the reason for posting to the forums is that you experienced some kind of frustration: something isn't working, you are unable to figure out how to do something, or maybe you believe you've lost your work. Take some time to calm down before posting. The forums are not a place to vent frustration or anger.
  • Respect others. Don't be rude or demand immediate attention. Zotero developers have many people to help, and Zotero community members are volunteering their time and expertise to help others.
  • Don't tag specific people for general questions. Zotero developers read all threads, and community volunteers choose the questions they want to spend time on. Multiple people are able to answer most questions.
  • AVOID ALL-CAPS. Don't write in all capital letters. It is interpreted by many as yelling and makes your post less readable. The same goes for using lots of bold or italics, or using multiple exclamation marks to stress your points.
  • Keep an open mind. Different people use Zotero in different ways. Not everybody shares your priorities, sometimes you're the only person experiencing a particular problem, or maybe you just didn't discover the best way to perform a task. Avoid generalizing statements like “it's obvious that without this feature, Zotero is useless for anybody”.

Most importantly, remember that you and whoever responds to you typically share the same goal: resolving your issue as quickly as possible.

Be patient

Zotero developers and many dedicated community members read every post.

While many forum posts are answered within minutes, others may not be answered for hours or days. In other cases — particularly for feature requests — developers may wait to see if other people chime in in support of an idea before responding, or there may just not be anything useful to add at this time.

If you don't receive a response right away, give it time. If you're having a serious issue and think your post may have slipped through the cracks, post a polite follow-up to the same thread asking if anyone has had a chance to look into your issue. Don't create a new thread for the same issue, as it will likely just be deleted.

Note that your thread might be closed with a link to another thread, even one in which the issue hasn't been resolved. This ensures that any discussion that might lead to a solution happens in one place. It does not mean that your request isn't being taken seriously. You should follow the new thread for updates.

Be responsive

After posting to the forums, be sure to follow up. You'll automatically receive an email notification the first time someone replies to a thread you've posted to, but you won't receive additional notifications until you visit the thread again, so it's a good idea to click through to the thread to ensure that you're notified the next time someone responds. (You can also subscribe to the forums using a feed reader.) If a suggested solution solves your issue, post a comment to the thread to let others know. If it doesn't, confirm that you've tried what was suggested, and explain what happened when you did so.

Note that you may receive a short reply to your question, such as a simple “yes” or “no”, or a link to a previous relevant discussion. Don't interpret this as a dismissal of your question. The people lending user support deal with a large volume of posts and often don't have time to write extensive replies. If you aren't satisfied with an answer, ask for further elaboration.

If you resolve a problem on your own, post an update to the thread, and say what you did to fix it. Other people may be having the same issue and may benefit from your experience, or you may be able to provide the developers with additional information to fix the problem.

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