kevin lyda wrote:
> answers like this are why linux/unix is considered elitist.
Well, that, and the fact that Linux user's groups tend to look a
lot like cliques from the outside (and even from the inside
sometimes). But yeah, this kind of answer is a big part of it.
> what i
> don't understand is why. when newbies come to a unix mailing list and
> ask simple questions it seems like there are two "helpful" options:
>> 1. answer the question. this way the user has their answer and yet
> is really none the wiser, still dependant on the gurus.
>> 2. tell them how to answer the question. this is "elitist" and
> yet it's really trying to ween the user off of their dependance on
> "gurus." essentially making the elite less elite.
Well, you're covering the genres, but you're leaving out a few
1. (a) Answer the question with a 1-line answer looking something
like this (as several people did)...
(b) Answer the question you think was being asked
(c) Answer the question, and explain exactly why it was the
wrong question to ask
(d) Answer the question, going to great lengths to explain why
the answer is what it is.
2. (a) Tell them tersely how to find the answer to question
(rtfm, or similar - things like "This is a FAQ." would go in
(b) Tell them how to answer the question, by giving them the
name of and possibly the part of the manual/doc they should
read - Colm's answer goes in here.
(c) Answer the question by saying something like "In the bash
manual, I found this...<quote 20 lines of the bash manual that
answers the question>"
There are also nuances on the subgenres. All the above can be
used quite politely (example on the terse how to answer -
"This is FAQ 3.2 - you'll find the faq here: http://www.faqs.com
Hope this helps,
Dave.") or quite curtly (example as above:
"You should read the FAQ before posting to a list or newsgroup.
This question is answered there."), or even rudely ("Get a clue
before you post here again. This is a faq. rtfm.").
Basically, several of the sub-genre/manner combinations don't
make a good impression on the reader. And many of the responses
to newsgroup postings or mails in the free software world fall
into the "unfavourable" categories.
> colm's answer actually did both.
Yup - very good answer. Some might consider referring to the
genre as "hrishy homework syndrome" or whatever Colm called it a
little unnecessary. But all in all a helpful answer.
> i dunno, one of those complaints that always confused me. i'm just
> putting this on social, but if anyone can explain the reasoning it would
> be nice to hear.
I put it down to mails & newsgroup postings being less personal
than f2f, so it's easier to put someone down with a snide remark
or an insult by mail because it's less personal. And a lot of
online fora tend to be more aggressive than real-life
conversations & meetings (especially in Ireland where everyone's
really polite). So if you're coming onto a forum like ILUG, and
asking a question, and you get a helpful, but slightly sniping,
response, you get a bad impression. That's whart I think, anyway.
E-Mail: bolsh at gimp.org
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