Why questions don't get answered, or "No, I've already RTFM, tell me the answer!"

Charles Heselton charles.heselton at gmail.com
Thu Dec 29 04:02:17 UTC 2005

Hash: SHA1

> -----Original Message-----
> From: fedora-list-bounces at redhat.com 
> [mailto:fedora-list-bounces at redhat.com] On Behalf Of Charles Howse
> Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2005 7:38 PM
> To: Fedora
> Subject: Why questions don't get answered, or "No, I've 
> already RTFM, tell me the answer!"
> I'd like to start a calm, respectful, reasonable discussion 
> of the reasons
> that we tell people to RTFM, or reasons that people don't get their
> questions answered on mailing lists and usenet groups.
> I'm not complaining about anything or anybody, just wanting 
> to start some
> discussion which might lead to more answers and less 'noise'.
> No one has been disrespectful to me, don't get the wrong idea.
> I personally am a former Microsoft Certified Professional in 
> NT Server 4.0,
> have used operating systems including, PC DOS, MS DOS, OS/2 Warp,
> all flavors of Windows through XP Pro (except ME, which sucked 
> sooo bad), Linux,
> FreeBSD, and currently, Mac OS X Tiger.
> I've administered networks consisting of hundreds of 
> workstations and dozens
> of servers, installed lans and wans from scratch, taught 
> Windows operating
> systems, software and networking.
> I feel that might just barely qualify me as knowing a little about
> computers, and I say that seriously...'a little'.

I know how you feel.  ;-)

> There are a lot of things I don't know, and when I run out of
> research options, or get frustrated when all the troubleshooting 
> solutions don't
> work, I'm heading for usenet or a mailing list, because time 
> after time,
> that has been the resource that provided the solution.  A 
> wise man once told
> me, "Someone out there has solved that problem, you just have 
> to find them."
> I don't really know where to start, so here are some random 
> thoughts...
> Maybe I got told to RTFM because I missed something in it?  
> Well, could you
> just politely point me to the section I missed, please?  Or 
> give me a link
> to a howto or some html page where it is explained?
> Maybe the question has been answered in the FAQ for the list? 
>  Just point me
> to it, you don't have to say anything else.
> I've seen lots of posts to this list and others with no 
> subject or a subject
> that has nothing to do with the question, but the question 
> was answered
> respectfully.  So, when I post with a good subject, one that 
> will show up in
> a Google search, help me out.
> Many lists and groups regularly autopost the guidelines for 
> posting, FAQ,
> and relevant howto pages, point me to those when necessary.
> Someone used the phrase 'spoon feed' recently.  I don't 
> remember who, nor is
> it important, but what's wrong with a spoon full of sugar now 
> and then?
> And why would you ignore a reasonable question unless you 
> don't know the
> answer?

Is replying to say "I don't know" any more constructive than ignoring
the question?  At the least it lets the OP know that the mail was
received, but really, that's about it.

> I think the members of this list are mostly doing things the 
> way I would
> like to see them done, but I also think we could all do better, eh?
> I don't mean to step on any toes, just want to start some
> discussion. Does anyone else have any thoughts on why questions
> don't get 
> the respectful
> treatment they deserve?
> -- 
> Thanks,
> Charles 

While I agree with you on the general gist of what you're saying, I
think that the people who are behaving negatively on lists are people
who are demanding attention.  *Most* people answer, if they know.  Or
point if they can.  What I've found, is that at least 2 out of 3
times, when I go to google someone's problem, the answer is usually
in the top 10 links found.  For people that are particularly active
on lists, this can be frustrating.  

This list in particular seems to be relatively well behaved,
although, I don't follow it as closely as I used to (switched
distros).  So I'm a little curious why you're asking these questions

- --
- - Charlie
5A27 58D2 C791 8769 D4A4  F316 7BF8 D1F6 4829 EDCF
 In memoriam:  http://www.militarycity.com/valor/1029976.html

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