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

jdow jdow at earthlink.net
Fri Dec 30 04:24:43 UTC 2005

From: "William Case" <billlinux at rogers.com>

>> "man" is indeed a handy resource. "info" is king-sized annoying to use.
>> Another generally good resource nobody has mentioned is found in the
>> /usr/share/docs directory. Some programs are better than others with
>> regards to placing useful data there. And another interesting resource
>> is simply /usr/share/<item> (eg /usr/share/spamassassin). This often
>> contains configuration files or configuration file examples.
> This goes to the core of one of my main beefs with Linux and Fedora in
> particular.  I would like to see 'yelp' become the main organizer of all
> manuals and documents on my system.  Not only original help documents
> for every program but additional documents that I have downloaded,
> should be located by and added to a greater 'yelp' help system.

$ yelp

(yelp:15979): Gtk-WARNING **: cannot open display:

And just how does this help me? {^_-}

>> Now, a Linux Newbies document should point these places out to new
>> Linux users. It should also point out the accumulated tricks and
>> techniques, like using google to search this list or bugzilla. The
>> how to ask a question on this group document is a waste if it does
>> not include these tricks and information sources as PLACES to search.
>> One might even include tricks about using RPM to figure out which
>> package contains a file that has you mystified.
> That should be all included in a central help program.

And should have workable CLI access as well as GUI access. (That is the
main issue I have with HTML pages. Much of the time I rather prefer to
work at the primitive level. I keep trying to do things that the authors
of the GUI tools didn't quite contemplate. So I go to the commandline
to edit the configuration files directly. {^_-})

> Linux has for more help available than I could have imagined when I
> started 2 years ago.  But it has taken me two years to find it.  The
> "help" learning cure is far steeper than it needs to be, especially
> given the amount of raw content there is out there.

It takes a LONG time to find it all. And a lot of it is quite out of
date with modern realities. But at least it gives valid hints most of
the time. Finding it is the crux of the matter. It's distributed far
and wide. And sometimes it's awkward to find the real help when you
want something like "iptables" and don't know the site is netfilter.org.
That happened to me when I was changing the firewall from ipforward
to iptables. Fortunately one of the answers from thls list included
the netfilter reference. Then I discovered THEIR documentation was
antedeluvian at best, too. {^_-}

> If you feel compelled to answer with a "RTFM", point out which effing ..
> Manual.  As a newbie, I can tell you sometimes you don't know the manual
> exists, or were it is or you read right through the appropriate section
> without understanding that the information was what you needed.

This cannot be reiterated enough. Maybe it will sink in to some of the
craniums around here. I remember a period of being obnoxious, somewhere,
and simply asking, "OK, which FM and which subject in the FM should this
poor fellow examine?" I figured MAYBE some of the RTFM posters would get
the message. A few did. A few went on RTFMing folks. I guess we all
have bad days.

> Same with googeling. You have to put the correct search criteria in the
> search window.  If you are just learning (and this applies to Linux
> newbies or gurus delving into a new area for the first time) you can
> search for hours and not find something that is in the top ten list of a
> correctly addressed search simply because you are not asking properly.
> As was mentioned in an earlier post here, if you want to answer by
> saying "google for it", suggest some search criteria.

But what is it properly called? Fugitives from Windows very frequently
get frustrated because they have learned Windows perverted jargon instead
of the original words for the concepts that the 'ix people invented.

> Lastly, have fun.  A little joke, a small tease, some witty
> self-deprecating remark goes along way smoothing out life on a mailing
> list, just as they do in life. 

That's why I go way off topic with tiny messages sometimes. If a signature
sparks a pun and I see it often enough I go off and post the funny then
run away.


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