Article: "Hi jackasses, RTFM and stop wasting our time trying to help you children learn."

Discussion in 'Java' started by Danno, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. Danno

    Danno Guest

    Just saw this interesting opinion article about how abusive Linux snobs
    are to Linux newbies who want to give the OS a chance. I hope no one
    here ventures into that much rudeness when it comes to java. Almost
    everyone here from Roedy, Patricia, Oliver, Hawtin, Chris are pretty
    decent to newbies here and get them the answer they need. As a founder
    of my local jug, I try to make it important to let beginners in, and
    don't "over-tech" them as much when they need answers.

    Article link: Linux Snobs - Real Barriers to Entry
    http://www.reallylinux.com/docs/snobsoped.shtml
     
    Danno, Apr 19, 2006
    #1
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  2. On 2006-04-19, Danno penned:
    > Just saw this interesting opinion article about how abusive Linux
    > snobs are to Linux newbies who want to give the OS a chance. I hope
    > no one here ventures into that much rudeness when it comes to java.
    > Almost everyone here from Roedy, Patricia, Oliver, Hawtin, Chris are
    > pretty decent to newbies here and get them the answer they need. As
    > a founder of my local jug, I try to make it important to let
    > beginners in, and don't "over-tech" them as much when they need
    > answers.
    >
    > Article link: Linux Snobs - Real Barriers to Entry
    > http://www.reallylinux.com/docs/snobsoped.shtml


    I don't think there's any call to be mean to people, but I find it
    highly grating when someone shows up on a newsgroup (mailing list, web
    board) and demands answers when they clearly have made zero effort
    themselves.

    If someone makes a polite request, I'm much more interested in helping
    them.

    I think this might be in part a cultural thing. I've noticed that a
    lot of the posts that come off as incredibly rude or demanding seem to
    be written by people for whom English is not the first language, and
    who don't seem to live in the Americas or Western Europe. That group
    also seems to favor using textspeak abbreviations ('u' for 'you', '2'
    for 'to', etc), which seems to drive a lot of people up the wall,
    fairly or not.

    --
    monique

    Ask smart questions, get good answers:
    http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
     
    Monique Y. Mudama, Apr 19, 2006
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. On 2006-04-19, Monique Y. Mudama penned:
    >
    > I don't think there's any call to be mean to people, but I find it
    > highly grating when someone shows up on a newsgroup (mailing list,
    > web board) and demands answers when they clearly have made zero
    > effort themselves.
    >


    Since one of the links from the article criticizes the link in my sig:

    Look, you can do whatever you want to do. It's just that if you
    follow the suggestions that in the "smart questions" document, you are
    *far* more likely to get an answer (or even better, answer the
    question yourself, in the meantime learning a lot that will serve you
    well in the future). A person can rant and rave about how it's
    unfair, but in the end, that's not going to help them get an answer.
    Following the instructions in the "smart questions" document *will*.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with the "teach a man to fish"
    approach.

    Also, there seems to be an underlying assumption in all of these
    articles that we *should* want more users. Why? A lot of linux users
    worry that linux will pander to the inexperienced user and become just
    as (insert whatever negative here) as windows. There are always a
    handful of experienced users in any discussion group who will bend
    over backwards to help a newbie, provided that the newbie shows
    initiative and the willingness to absorb some knowledge, not just get
    the job done. Is that so wrong? When I'm donating my own spare time,
    don't I have the right to decide who I should help and who I can
    ignore? (I'll admit that's different from actively insulting people.)
    If anything, I find that if someone irrationally insults a newbie,
    someone else appears to try to help the newbie, even if they hadn't
    participated in the discussion beforehand.

    I also think there is a big difference between helping someone use an
    operating system and helping someone use a language. People use
    operating systems all the time without fundamentally understanding
    what's going on. They're users. But if you're asking about a
    programming language, that's different.

    It's the difference between the expectations one would have from a
    homeowner vs. a builder or architect.

    --
    monique

    Ask smart questions, get good answers:
    http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
     
    Monique Y. Mudama, Apr 19, 2006
    #3
  4. Danno

    Roedy Green Guest

    On 19 Apr 2006 09:04:01 -0700, "Danno" <>
    wrote, quoted or indirectly quoted someone who said :

    >
    >Article link: Linux Snobs - Real Barriers to Entry
    >http://www.reallylinux.com/docs/snobsoped.shtml


    We had a very knowledgeable guy in our PC club. If ever asked a
    question he would go on for at least 30 minutes. The questioner had in
    mind most of the time a couple of sentences for a reply. I used to
    host the Q&A session and tended to that mode myself, looking on my
    answers more as entertainment for everyone than specific help for the
    questioner.

    You have to remember we are neotenous apes, and much of our
    conversation has an undertone of dominance hierarchy. As we are
    expounding technically, we are also displaying like a prairie chicken
    or dominating. Knowledge of some esoteric realm is a great way for an
    otherwise low status ape to impress his fellows. Much question
    answering is a form of hazing.

    It is a bit silly when a novice asks to learn esoteric knowledge and
    is told he is stupid for not knowing it already. He is clearly working
    to rectify the situation.

    It is a very old game. Knights used to laugh at their squires when
    they did not know the complete set of venery rules (brace of
    pheasants). See http://mindprod.com/jgloss/collectivenouns.html
    --
    Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
    http://mindprod.com Java custom programming, consulting and coaching.
     
    Roedy Green, Apr 19, 2006
    #4
  5. Danno

    Oliver Wong Guest

    "Danno" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Just saw this interesting opinion article about how abusive Linux snobs
    > are to Linux newbies who want to give the OS a chance.


    One of my more memorable experience with "Linux snobs" was when I had
    asked help for a networking driver. I had downloaded a driver off the
    internet, put it on a floppy diskette, loaded it onto the linux machine, and
    then checked out the readme. It said to compile the drivers using "gcc"
    followed by 3 lines worth of command line arguments (at around 80 characters
    per line, that's 240 characters worth of command line arguments).

    So I type in the command exactly like I see it (except I ignored the
    newlines, and uses spaces instead), only to have gcc tell me that one of the
    flags I provided (e.g. "-foo") was no longer supported. There was no
    suggestion of what flag I should use instead, and simply omitting the flag
    yielded even more cryptic and dangerous sounding error messages.

    So I during that period (a couple of years ago, while I still had the
    exact command line I entered, and the exact error messages I got), whenever
    I found out someone was an "experienced" Linux user, I'd ask them if they
    knew how to solve my problem. One of the answers I got was "If you're too
    stupid to use a compiler, you shouldn't be using Linux."

    Now here's the real shocker: this wasn't in an online newsgroup or
    mailing list. He had said this to me, in person, to my face. We were both
    computer science students at the same university, attending the same class.
    In fact, he was my partner for a project in which we were writing a RPG in
    Java. I had designed the finite state machine interfaces that he had to
    implement to allow for the transition between my "overworld map" engine to
    his "monster battle" engine. We got the highest grade possible for the
    project (an A). Either he was saying that for all compilers, I was too
    stupid to use them (and thus too stupid to use Linux); or he was saying that
    if there exists a compiler for which I am too stupid to use, I would also be
    too stupid for Linux. Both interpretations didn't make sense to me.

    I was stunned by his response, so our conversation had ended there. The
    next days, we'd continue to meet up and work on the project, but we never
    brought up the topic of Linux again.

    >
    > Article link: Linux Snobs - Real Barriers to Entry
    > http://www.reallylinux.com/docs/snobsoped.shtml


    This article links to a blog entry in which someone claims that people
    who say "RTFM" do so because they don't know the answer and wish to sound
    smart. In my experience, when someone doesn't know the answer, they tend to
    simply not respond, letting someone else give it a stab. Every now and then
    in this group, you'll see someone ask a very obscure question, and they
    receive zero responses; I suspect because no one knows the answer.

    The article also links to other sites which criticize Eric Steven
    Raymond, and from that, infer that the "How To Ask Questions The Smart Way"
    document (http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html) is "bad". This
    is known as an "ad hominem" attack, and is a logical fallacy. I've read the
    smart-questions document, and while I don't agree with everything it says, I
    believe that a person who blindly follows the rules there will probably get
    better results than a person who willingly breaks all of the rules. I'm NOT
    saying that I know Eric Raymond personally, and he's a great guy, and that
    all those bad things said about him are lies. In fact, I had never even
    noticed who the author of the document was until reading the above article,
    and the sites it links to. I've never met Eric Raymond. I'm just saying
    regardless of Mr. Raymonds personality, the document, overall, has some good
    advice.

    Every now and then I get surprised by what people find insulting.
    Someone asked me for advice on building a custom computer (not physically
    building it; rather selecting the components and having it pre-built). She
    showed me the specs she was considering. I knew that all she never plays any
    games at all on her computer; not even solitair or hearts. So I told her she
    didn't need the $300 3D accelerator video card she had listed (this was back
    in the days before Vista, so OS UIs were strictly 2D), and onboard video
    would be sufficient. For some reason, she took this as an insult, I guess
    because I was implying that she wasn't "worthy" of the video card. She
    complained, and pointed out that I had an expensive video card in my
    computer (I *do* play games, like Fable, Doom 3, etc.), and accused me of
    treating her like an inferior. So I told her she's free to do whatever she
    wants with her money, but that she had came to me for advice, and my advice
    is to not buy that video card.

    - Oliver

    (Yeah, she bought the video card in the end; and she still doesn't play
    computer games.)
     
    Oliver Wong, Apr 19, 2006
    #5
  6. Re: Article: "Hi jackasses, RTFM and stop wasting our time tryingto help you children learn."

    Monique Y. Mudama wrote:
    >
    > I don't think there's any call to be mean to people, but I find it
    > highly grating when someone shows up on a newsgroup (mailing list, web
    > board) and demands answers when they clearly have made zero effort
    > themselves.
    >
    > If someone makes a polite request, I'm much more interested in helping
    > them.
    >

    Agreed. One thing that's guaranteed to make me to ignore the post is if
    it ends with any variant of "[please] answer immediately".

    I'd suggest that, please or no please, that is rude in any culture or
    language unless it comes from one of your bosses.


    --
    martin@ | Martin Gregorie
    gregorie. | Essex, UK
    org |
     
    Martin Gregorie, Apr 19, 2006
    #6
  7. On 2006-04-19, Martin Gregorie penned:
    >>

    > Agreed. One thing that's guaranteed to make me to ignore the post is
    > if it ends with any variant of "[please] answer immediately".
    >
    > I'd suggest that, please or no please, that is rude in any culture
    > or language unless it comes from one of your bosses.
    >


    One thing that's often annoying to experienced participants, but
    probably seems perfectly reasonable to the person asking for help, is
    a request to answer by personal email, rather than on the list. They
    may even feel they are helping to reduce traffic.

    Most experienced posters prefer to keep things on-list. One, it
    relieves them of the burden of feeling obligated to follow the
    question to its bitter end. Two, it gets more eyes on the problem as
    well as the proposed solution. Three, typically the conversation is
    archived so that it is searchable on the web, allowing others to
    search on the question and find an answer without ever needing to ask.

    Personally, if someone asks for an email response, I simply ignore the
    post. They're probably not checking back with the group, and I'm not
    about to get involved by emailing them personally. (Maybe this is
    akin to "not making eye contact" with people you expect to be pushy or
    off-balance.)

    --
    monique

    Help us help you:
    http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
     
    Monique Y. Mudama, Apr 19, 2006
    #7
  8. Danno

    Roedy Green Guest

    On Wed, 19 Apr 2006 14:35:51 -0600, "Monique Y. Mudama"
    <> wrote, quoted or indirectly quoted someone who
    said :

    >Personally, if someone asks for an email response, I simply ignore the
    >post


    The other problem is more often than not, the email will bounce.

    Discussion is for the benefit of everyone.
    --
    Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
    http://mindprod.com Java custom programming, consulting and coaching.
     
    Roedy Green, Apr 20, 2006
    #8
  9. Danno

    Roedy Green Guest

    On Wed, 19 Apr 2006 19:25:14 GMT, "Oliver Wong" <>
    wrote, quoted or indirectly quoted someone who said :

    > She
    >showed me the specs she was considering.


    Nearly always the person is not really asking advice. They just want
    your stamp of approval on what they have already decided to do. That
    way they can blame YOU if it does not work out.

    This reminds me of something I discovered about human nature. I was in
    charge of acquiring a large number of microfiche viewers for the BC
    Hydro gas division. I thought it would be useful to ask all the
    vendors to bring their models in for a day so we could test them side
    by side, and the people who would actually use them could try them out
    and vote on them.

    To my surprise the clear winner was the most expensive model, even
    though it was quite average in every respect I could see. My boss
    said, "You made a big mistake, Roedy. You should not have posted the
    prices on them. People automatically vote for the most expensive."
    Naively, I expected users to factor in value to their choice, or at
    least to go for the highest quality.

    I later discovered that as a computer retailer there were people who
    always wanted the most expensive of everything, even when the quality
    was worse or when the extra cost features were useless to them. I
    particularly remember one guy just about heart broken when he had to
    settle for the second most expensive monitor simply because most
    expensive ones were out of stock.

    Stereo shopping for me was always a frustrating experience. I want
    one with almost no controls. I like to operate it in the dark. Stereo
    salesmen were always trying to sell gimmicky features that would just
    get it the way of routine use.
    --
    Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
    http://mindprod.com Java custom programming, consulting and coaching.
     
    Roedy Green, Apr 20, 2006
    #9
  10. Danno

    Danno Guest

    Oliver Wong wrote:
    > "Danno" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    > > Just saw this interesting opinion article about how abusive Linux snobs
    > > are to Linux newbies who want to give the OS a chance.

    >
    > One of my more memorable experience with "Linux snobs" was when I had
    > asked help for a networking driver. I had downloaded a driver off the
    > internet, put it on a floppy diskette, loaded it onto the linux machine, and
    > then checked out the readme. It said to compile the drivers using "gcc"
    > followed by 3 lines worth of command line arguments (at around 80 characters
    > per line, that's 240 characters worth of command line arguments).
    >
    > So I type in the command exactly like I see it (except I ignored the
    > newlines, and uses spaces instead), only to have gcc tell me that one of the
    > flags I provided (e.g. "-foo") was no longer supported. There was no
    > suggestion of what flag I should use instead, and simply omitting the flag
    > yielded even more cryptic and dangerous sounding error messages.
    >
    > So I during that period (a couple of years ago, while I still had the
    > exact command line I entered, and the exact error messages I got), whenever
    > I found out someone was an "experienced" Linux user, I'd ask them if they
    > knew how to solve my problem. One of the answers I got was "If you're too
    > stupid to use a compiler, you shouldn't be using Linux."


    Damn!

    >
    > Now here's the real shocker: this wasn't in an online newsgroup or
    > mailing list. He had said this to me, in person, to my face. We were both
    > computer science students at the same university, attending the same class.
    > In fact, he was my partner for a project in which we were writing a RPG in
    > Java. I had designed the finite state machine interfaces that he had to
    > implement to allow for the transition between my "overworld map" engine to
    > his "monster battle" engine. We got the highest grade possible for the
    > project (an A). Either he was saying that for all compilers, I was too
    > stupid to use them (and thus too stupid to use Linux); or he was saying that
    > if there exists a compiler for which I am too stupid to use, I would also be
    > too stupid for Linux. Both interpretations didn't make sense to me.
    >
    > I was stunned by his response, so our conversation had ended there. The
    > next days, we'd continue to meet up and work on the project, but we never
    > brought up the topic of Linux again.
    >
    > >
    > > Article link: Linux Snobs - Real Barriers to Entry
    > > http://www.reallylinux.com/docs/snobsoped.shtml

    >
    > This article links to a blog entry in which someone claims that people
    > who say "RTFM" do so because they don't know the answer and wish to sound
    > smart. In my experience, when someone doesn't know the answer, they tend to
    > simply not respond, letting someone else give it a stab. Every now and then
    > in this group, you'll see someone ask a very obscure question, and they
    > receive zero responses; I suspect because no one knows the answer.


    I actually take pride in saying "I don't know". Not here on USENET of
    course, since that would just waste bandwidth. I just don't like the
    idea of having bullshitting someone so they can take that info and
    waste their time with it.
    >
    > The article also links to other sites which criticize Eric Steven
    > Raymond, and from that, infer that the "How To Ask Questions The Smart Way"
    > document (http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html) is "bad". This
    > is known as an "ad hominem" attack, and is a logical fallacy. I've read the
    > smart-questions document, and while I don't agree with everything it says, I
    > believe that a person who blindly follows the rules there will probably get
    > better results than a person who willingly breaks all of the rules. I'm NOT
    > saying that I know Eric Raymond personally, and he's a great guy, and that
    > all those bad things said about him are lies. In fact, I had never even
    > noticed who the author of the document was until reading the above article,
    > and the sites it links to. I've never met Eric Raymond. I'm just saying
    > regardless of Mr. Raymonds personality, the document, overall, has some good
    > advice.
    >
    > Every now and then I get surprised by what people find insulting.
    > Someone asked me for advice on building a custom computer (not physically
    > building it; rather selecting the components and having it pre-built). She
    > showed me the specs she was considering. I knew that all she never plays any
    > games at all on her computer; not even solitair or hearts. So I told her she
    > didn't need the $300 3D accelerator video card she had listed (this was back
    > in the days before Vista, so OS UIs were strictly 2D), and onboard video
    > would be sufficient. For some reason, she took this as an insult, I guess
    > because I was implying that she wasn't "worthy" of the video card. She
    > complained, and pointed out that I had an expensive video card in my
    > computer (I *do* play games, like Fable, Doom 3, etc.), and accused me of
    > treating her like an inferior. So I told her she's free to do whatever she
    > wants with her money, but that she had came to me for advice, and my advice
    > is to not buy that video card.
    >
    > - Oliver
    >
    > (Yeah, she bought the video card in the end; and she still doesn't play
    > computer games.)
     
    Danno, Apr 20, 2006
    #10
  11. Danno

    Chris Smith Guest

    Oliver Wong <> wrote:
    > The article also links to other sites which criticize Eric Steven
    > Raymond, and from that, infer that the "How To Ask Questions The Smart Way"
    > document (http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html) is "bad". This
    > is known as an "ad hominem" attack, and is a logical fallacy.


    It's called an ad hominem when a personal attack is used to refute an
    argument. However, the fact that Eric Raymond is a jerk [yes, I said
    "fact", and intentionally so] is actually quite relevant when the issue
    at hand is whether to suggest that people go read his advice. The
    points made by the articles you're talking about are:

    1. Eric Raymond writes stuff that's insulting and demeaning.

    2. Eric Raymond is at best on the fringes of open source software
    developers, and does not represent a typical member of that community.

    3. Eric Raymond cares less about the accuracy of what he writes than
    about his ability to promote himself while writing it.

    4. Eric Raymond has a tendency to intentionally provide inaccurate
    information for political and other personal reasons.

    I can't see how any of the above four statements are irrelevant to
    evaluating whether to recommend his writing to others.

    > I've read the smart-questions document, and while I don't agree with
    > everything it says, I believe that a person who blindly follows the
    > rules there will probably get better results than a person who
    > willingly breaks all of the rules.


    For the most part, yes. However, I think it's also an important
    question to ask whether people on this newsgroup really wish to say the
    things that are said in that document. For example, do we wish to claim
    that "we" (which transfers to mean this newsgroup, when someone reaches
    the document via the newsgroup) unapologetically intend to be hostile
    and rude if we don't think someone's done enough thinking before
    posting? I certainly don't want to say that, and I don't want other
    people saying on my behalf. If some particular person wants to say that
    about themselves, then by all means they have the right to say it... but
    for ****'s sake please don't imply that I'm included in some nebulous
    "we" that likes to act that way.

    That's why I don't like seeing links posted to the Eric's "smart
    questions" document. There is some good advice in the document, but
    that's outweighed in my mind by the document being morally offensive.

    > Every now and then I get surprised by what people find insulting.


    Perhaps I've just surprised you again. :)

    --
    www.designacourse.com
    The Easiest Way To Train Anyone... Anywhere.

    Chris Smith - Lead Software Developer/Technical Trainer
    MindIQ Corporation
     
    Chris Smith, Apr 20, 2006
    #11
  12. Danno

    Ed Kirwan Guest

    Re: Article: "Hi jackasses, RTFM and stop wasting our time tryingto help you children learn."

    Monique Y. Mudama wrote:


    >
    > I think this might be in part a cultural thing. I've noticed that a
    > lot of the posts that come off as incredibly rude or demanding seem to
    > be written by people for whom English is not the first language, and
    > who don't seem to live in the Americas or Western Europe. That group
    > also seems to favor using textspeak abbreviations ('u' for 'you', '2'
    > for 'to', etc), which seems to drive a lot of people up the wall,
    > fairly or not.
    >


    "Someone," should write a filter and ask people to pass their questions
    through the filter before posting. This filter would replace phrases
    like, "GIVE ME AN ANSWER IMMEDIATELY!!!!" with, "If you have any time,
    I'd be extremely grateful for your thoughts on the matter;" "WHY IS THIS
    NOT WORKING?!?!?!?!?!?" with, "Do you have any suggestions about how I
    could find out what's wrong?"; "u r a dickHead," with, "I fully respect
    your opinion but I'm afraid I disagree;" "Can you suggest an IDE?" with,
    "Please don't read this email, and if you have already, then please
    don't reply;" "JAVA SUCKS COMPARED TO C++; IT'S SO GOD-AWFUL SLOW!!!!!"
    with, "Hi, I've just started programming Java after spending a few weeks
    programming in C++. For the life of me, I can't accept that the two
    languages are different things, and so just see Java as a malformed
    version of C++; I also think that, if I write enough posts, everyone
    will see that I'm right, and a great wave of justice will sweep Java
    from the land, replacing it with the C++ that I know and love. Thanks, bye!"

    --
    www.EdmundKirwan.com - Home of The Fractal Class Composition.

    Download Fractality, free Java code analyzer:
    www.EdmundKirwan.com/servlet/fractal/frac-page130.html
     
    Ed Kirwan, Apr 20, 2006
    #12
  13. Re: Article: "Hi jackasses, RTFM and stop wasting our time tryingto help you children learn."

    >
    > I think this might be in part a cultural thing. I've noticed that a
    > lot of the posts that come off as incredibly rude or demanding seem to
    > be written by people for whom English is not the first language, and
    > who don't seem to live in the Americas or Western Europe. That group
    > also seems to favor using textspeak abbreviations ('u' for 'you', '2'
    > for 'to', etc), which seems to drive a lot of people up the wall,
    > fairly or not.
    >


    you may be right with that, but I am not so sure whether it is really a
    "cultural thing" ... I think they sometimes just don't know the English
    language good enough to see how insulting and impolite they sound; but I
    do agree that sentences containing "u re asshole" or so (like the ones
    posted just recently by hardik on this list, can't find the actual mail)
    cannot be justified by bad english.

    Anyway, being stupid is definitely /not/ limited to countries outside of
    Western Europe and Northern America :-/ We can see that every day in on
    the news shows .

    /philipp
     
    Philipp Leitner, Apr 20, 2006
    #13
  14. Danno

    Oliver Wong Guest

    "Chris Smith" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Oliver Wong <> wrote:
    >> The article also links to other sites which criticize Eric Steven
    >> Raymond, and from that, infer that the "How To Ask Questions The Smart
    >> Way"
    >> document (http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html) is "bad".
    >> This
    >> is known as an "ad hominem" attack, and is a logical fallacy.

    >
    > It's called an ad hominem when a personal attack is used to refute an
    > argument. However, the fact that Eric Raymond is a jerk [yes, I said
    > "fact", and intentionally so] is actually quite relevant when the issue
    > at hand is whether to suggest that people go read his advice. The
    > points made by the articles you're talking about are:
    >
    > 1. Eric Raymond writes stuff that's insulting and demeaning.
    >
    > 2. Eric Raymond is at best on the fringes of open source software
    > developers, and does not represent a typical member of that community.
    >
    > 3. Eric Raymond cares less about the accuracy of what he writes than
    > about his ability to promote himself while writing it.
    >
    > 4. Eric Raymond has a tendency to intentionally provide inaccurate
    > information for political and other personal reasons.
    >
    > I can't see how any of the above four statements are irrelevant to
    > evaluating whether to recommend his writing to others.


    It might have been relevant if one had made the general recommendation
    to read Eric Raymond's reading, but I don't think it's so relevant in the
    case where I'm recommending one specific document, which I have personally
    read through, and felt was "mostly" good advice.

    So for example, the fact(?) that Eric Raymond has written stuff which is
    insulting, demeaning, factually inaccurate, and/or with political bias,
    doesn't change the fact that I think this one particular document, which
    incidentally was written by Eric Raymond, contains good advice.

    >
    >> I've read the smart-questions document, and while I don't agree with
    >> everything it says, I believe that a person who blindly follows the
    >> rules there will probably get better results than a person who
    >> willingly breaks all of the rules.

    >
    > For the most part, yes. However, I think it's also an important
    > question to ask whether people on this newsgroup really wish to say the
    > things that are said in that document. For example, do we wish to claim
    > that "we" (which transfers to mean this newsgroup, when someone reaches
    > the document via the newsgroup) unapologetically intend to be hostile
    > and rude if we don't think someone's done enough thinking before
    > posting? I certainly don't want to say that, and I don't want other
    > people saying on my behalf. If some particular person wants to say that
    > about themselves, then by all means they have the right to say it... but
    > for ****'s sake please don't imply that I'm included in some nebulous
    > "we" that likes to act that way.


    I agree that the document had too much of an "us versus them" feel to
    it. Maybe someone should/could write a similar document which omits this.

    - Oliver
     
    Oliver Wong, Apr 20, 2006
    #14
  15. On 2006-04-20, Philipp Leitner penned:
    >
    > you may be right with that, but I am not so sure whether it is
    > really a "cultural thing" ... I think they sometimes just don't know
    > the English language good enough to see how insulting and impolite
    > they sound; but I do agree that sentences containing "u re asshole"
    > or so (like the ones posted just recently by hardik on this list,
    > can't find the actual mail) cannot be justified by bad english.


    I definitely agree with the latter point. For knowing the English
    language well enough ... maybe. Maybe. The fact is that I rarely see
    posters from western European countries using that tone, even when
    English is clearly not their first language. Maybe their languages
    are simply close enough to English that it comes across better.

    > Anyway, being stupid is definitely /not/ limited to countries
    > outside of Western Europe and Northern America :-/ We can see that
    > every day in on the news shows .


    Sure, but I certainly didn't mean to suggest that I think people from
    other cultures/locations are stupid. Not at all. And I have
    absolutely seen demanding and rude newsgroup posts clearly written by
    native English speakers in the US. No one has the monopoly on
    rudeness.

    --
    monique

    Help us help you:
    http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
     
    Monique Y. Mudama, Apr 20, 2006
    #15
  16. On 2006-04-20, Chris Smith penned:
    >
    > That's why I don't like seeing links posted to the Eric's "smart
    > questions" document. There is some good advice in the document, but
    > that's outweighed in my mind by the document being morally
    > offensive.
    >


    I guess I'm a serious offender, then. I'm sorry that it bugs you.
    I still think it's the best "how to get an answer from a newsgroup"
    document out there, though, and I'll continue to leave it in my sig.

    --
    monique

    Help us help you:
    http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
     
    Monique Y. Mudama, Apr 20, 2006
    #16
  17. On 2006-04-20, Oliver Wong penned:
    >
    > So for example, the fact(?) that Eric Raymond has written stuff
    > which is insulting, demeaning, factually inaccurate, and/or with
    > political bias, doesn't change the fact that I think this one
    > particular document, which incidentally was written by Eric
    > Raymond, contains good advice.


    He has a geek guide to sex out there somewhere. Entertaining stuff,
    although possibly not for the intended reasons. I would not go
    linking it in a sex help newsgroup.

    > I agree that the document had too much of an "us versus them"
    > feel to it. Maybe someone should/could write a similar document
    > which omits this.


    Well, it wasn't conceived as a guide for how to ask questions in a
    computer language newsgroup ... It was conceived as a way to help open
    source newbies bridge the gap between themselves and the people who
    could help them. Particularly in the context of the linux world
    several years ago, it is an attempt to help both groups by 1) cutting
    down on the number of posts that would never result in a useful
    answer, thereby just cluttering the landscape and 2) provide newbies
    with a step by step guide on how to get the answers they want.

    I look at quotes like this:

    "So, while it isn't necessary to already be technically competent to
    get attention from us, it is necessary to demonstrate the kind of
    attitude that leads to competence . alert, thoughtful, observant,
    willing to be an active partner in developing a solution. If you can't
    live with this sort of discrimination, we suggest you pay somebody for
    a commercial support contract instead of asking hackers to personally
    donate help to you."

    And I don't think "insulting" -- I think "sensible." Taking offense
    to this is like taking offense to someone informing you that it's bad
    manners to eat your steak with your hands at a formal banquet.

    The computing world has changed so much. I realized this the other
    day at a local office supply store. The kid at the checkout counter
    noticed the Tux penguin on my shirt and asked to read the back. The
    back was a quote, I believe from Linus, saying something to the effect
    of, "The linux philosophy is live dangerously. No, wait, that's not
    it. Do it yourself, that's what it is."

    The kid read it with the most puzzled expression, then looked at me
    and said, "I don't get it." I stared at him. We both run debian
    (although he pronounced it dee-bee-un, which I hope is not the correct
    pronunciation). A distro known for being fairly expert. And he had
    no idea why anyone would say something like that.

    Having started to use linux at a time when I had to bribe more
    knowledgeable CS folks with pizza to dehose my computer, and in which
    it was common knowledge that "you don't really know linux until the
    first time you destroy your system and have to install from scratch,"
    (a philosophy I had opportunity to test) ... well, wow.

    And to be honest, I kind of resented it. Kids these days! Why, in my
    day, we had to walk uphill both ways in the snow to get our RedHat CDs!
    We didn't have apt to do all our package finding for us! Only a member
    of the elite could figure out how to configure a sound or network card,
    and that's the way we liked it, by golly!

    --
    monique

    Help us help you:
    http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
     
    Monique Y. Mudama, Apr 20, 2006
    #17
  18. Re: Article: "Hi jackasses, RTFM and stop wasting our time tryingto help you children learn."

    "Monique Y. Mudama" <> writes:

    > I guess I'm a serious offender, then. I'm sorry that it bugs you.
    > I still think it's the best "how to get an answer from a newsgroup"
    > document out there, though, and I'll continue to leave it in my sig.


    It has some very good points on how to get help (no, "it doesn't work"
    is NOT a bug report) *and* also how to deal with socially challenged
    people with important information :)

    What I don't want it to be taken as is a guide on how to look like
    you are a hacker. I have encountered people who seem to think that
    the "Dealing with rudeness" shows how hackers should behave (rather
    than "How to answer questions in a helpful way"). I guess we should
    just cheerish the people who are both knowledgable and civil :)

    /L
    --
    Lasse Reichstein Nielsen -
    DHTML Death Colors: <URL:http://www.infimum.dk/HTML/rasterTriangleDOM.html>
    'Faith without judgement merely degrades the spirit divine.'
     
    Lasse Reichstein Nielsen, Apr 20, 2006
    #18
  19. Danno

    Chris Smith Guest

    Monique Y. Mudama <> wrote:
    > On 2006-04-20, Chris Smith penned:
    > >
    > > That's why I don't like seeing links posted to the Eric's "smart
    > > questions" document. There is some good advice in the document, but
    > > that's outweighed in my mind by the document being morally
    > > offensive.

    >
    > I guess I'm a serious offender, then. I'm sorry that it bugs you.
    > I still think it's the best "how to get an answer from a newsgroup"
    > document out there, though, and I'll continue to leave it in my sig.


    I expected no different. It's just worth mentioning, is all.

    --
    www.designacourse.com
    The Easiest Way To Train Anyone... Anywhere.

    Chris Smith - Lead Software Developer/Technical Trainer
    MindIQ Corporation
     
    Chris Smith, Apr 21, 2006
    #19
  20. Danno

    hiwa Guest

    > That's why I don't like seeing links posted to the Eric's "smart
    > questions" document. There is some good advice in the document, but
    > that's outweighed in my mind by the document being morally offensive.

    Does anyone know, or have written, a much much shorter and decent
    version of the Smart Question document? A simple itemized list might
    be better and it should include an SSCCE clause.
     
    hiwa, Apr 21, 2006
    #20
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