It really depends on the context.
I've often seen it used with sarcastic intent, where what the poster is saying is "this is really obvious you dunderhead" but is trying to be polite on the surface.
For example, if one saw a post that said:
"I've been skiing for only two years and my teacher is the only teacher who can teach anything, she blows the doors off all you CWAJGA jerks!",
one might be tempted to reply,
"Perhaps you might try skiing a few years more, and taking instruction and advice from some of the masters here. Hope this helps."
(not that anyone would ever post anything so farcical)
In my case, I was over in a Home Theater geek forum where someone who had owned a Replay (Personal Video Recorder - one of the Hard Disk TV records that pause live tv, automatically record your favorite shows, let you watch one show while recording another show or wind back live tv, yada yada yada...) started a thread by "sweetly" asking, (paraphrase follows)
"I've had this for 1 1/2 years and I think I know how it works, but I'm confused about what it did when I tried this feature for the first time. I don't think that's how it should work; can anybody help me understand it?"
Well about 10 people jumped in to help him understand it. They wrote serious, intelligent posts that were quite accurate, and explained this person's misconceptions about his system.
The original poster then came back on, got very testy, accused everyone who tried to help him of being off-topic and having poor reading comprehension. What chutzpah!
So I dove it, and actually wrote a quite informative post, trying to explain the same concepts as everyone else had, but perhaps with some different terminology and from a different angle. Since as we all know here at EpicSki, there are different teaching methods for different people's learning styles, right?
Anyhow, after all this, I did mention that he had turned on all the other people who had helped him, and I did reiterate that their answers to him were correct. If he still didn't understand it, he should re-read his manual. Then I added "Hope this helps". (Actually "Hopefully this helps" just so it wasn't the standard form of the internet cliche).
In this usage, I intended the HTH to carry the aforementioned context.
Anyone still reading this, who wants to see the post in question, can go to <a href="http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum13/HTML/004921.html
" target="newpage">the thread<a> here at the Audio Visual Forum avsforum.com in the "Replay TV" area. Or if you're interested in these gadgets (PVR, HDTV, etc.) avsforum is a great place to get info.
Replay is how we got all those episodes of "Skiers World" and all the World Cup races automatically recorded of OLN this past season, so we always had some Ski TV to watch.
[This message has been edited by MarkXS (edited June 08, 2001).]</FONT>