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From:Blain Nelson Date:August 31 1999 8:25pm
Subject:Re: Protocol, aka Courtesy
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cshepard wrote:
> Monty, developers, gurus, et. al.,

I'm, at best, an et al.

> I've been lurking on this list for several months, and
> it's beyond my comprehension how all of you put up with
> the idiotic posts to this list.  People don't read the
> *excellent* documentation you've prepared.  They don't
> know how to operate their own operating systems.  They
> ask the very same questions that you answered the day
> before.

They are awfully kind and patient people.  That kindness and patience is
something I've found frequently in the open source movement, and
remember it being a bit more common back when I first came to the net
(when it was more an "open source" world, or seems to have been in

It is frustrating to have people ask the same questions day in and day
out -- I've written a couple faqs to cut back on that for myself on my
website.  But recall that people subscribe to a list like this every
day, and that having the question answered yesterday doesn't help the
person who subscribed today.  And when you need an answer, you need the
answer -- you can't exactly wait a week or two to ask your question.

> You guys are too damn nice, and I'm here to complain
> about it! :)  I'm tired of firing up my mail client
> every morning and finding 200 messages, of which only
> five or six deserve to be on the list.

Sub for digest, or quit the list or cope.  And thank heaven you're not
moderating the list by that standard.

> I spoze you have some PR considerations that I'm not
> aware of, but I really think you oughta just point
> the clueless to the clues (i.e., the doc) and let'em
> go finger it out.  90% of the stuff you answer is
> clearly and obviously stated in the documentation.

"Clearly and obviously" is a very subjective standard.  And keep in mind
that not everybody knows where the docs are.  The pointer is nice, and,
sometimes a short explanation to help the newbie get up to speed to be
able to extract information from the docs is a good idea as well.  

> How many times are you expected to answer the same
> question?  How many times do I have to read the
> same old things?

I dunno.  Until you quit coming to the list?  Do you really want this
list to only be for people who already know how to use the product?  Or
is it okay for people who would like to use it but are having problems
to use it as well? 

> Everybody's a newbie to everything at first, and the
> net is all about sharing information, and "those in
> the know" impart their wisdom to the "know nots".
> That's kewl.  That's the way it's supposed to work,
> we've all been on both ends of the give and take,
> but I don't see where you guys should have to waste
> your time explaining trivia that is not at all directly
> germain to the rather advanced topic of MySQL per se.

They don't have to.  They don't have to answer any question they don't
want to.  Neither do you.  They don't even have to read any question
they don't want to, and neither do you.  Sometimes questions get
answered.  Sometimes they don't.  No one has addressed my question of a
couple days ago, and I still can't get the server to load -- although
I've read through safe_mysqld and figured out roughly where the error
message I'm getting is coming from (at least, what part of the script). 
Perhaps there's more information I need to tell people before they can
help me, but I don't know that.

> There are newsgroups for "What is SQL?" and "What is PERL",
> and "What is Windoze?" and "How do I turn my computer on?".

I did look for a newsgroup about "What is SQL" before I started waiting
to buy the MySQL O'Reily book, and couldn't find one.  I looked for
tutorials on SQL and found some -- all of them started with "SELECT"
which is pretty damn useless if you don't already have a database.

The Perl newsgroups have approximately the same newbie-friendliness as
this list does -- quite a bit, with a fair amount of the sentiment
you're expressing here mixed in.

> I hate to suggest it, but I really think you need to
> take the stance of "moderated list" and shitcan all
> the crap that people can EASILY find in your doc or
> any primer on SQL.

Is anyone breaking your fingers to keep you from creating the
newbie-free list you want?

> You gotta be tired of answering it.  Hell, I'm tired of reading it!

When they're tired of it, I'm sure they will stop answering.  Just as
you will stop reading when you're tired enough of it.

> I lurked a good two months and learned all sorts of nifto stuff
> before I ever posted a question.  Doesn't anybody know
> what homework is anymore?

Sure.  I've bought two books to start my homework on SQL, and have been
self-teaching myself the perl and cgi I need to know (buying more books
to help with that).  I don't resent buying the books, and I don't resent
not getting my questions answered.  But I've still got some holes in my
understanding that I need to fill and trying to find just the right
place to fill those holes can be very frustrating.  And other folks are
in more or less the same boat.  This list is working as it should be --
the kind folks who want to answer questions answer the ones they want
to, the folks who have questions ask what they want, and the developers
collect the bug reports and distribute patches.  Pretty close to nirvana

I do understand your frustration.  And I'm not sure you were talking
about me or my questions as the kind that are really driving you crazy
-- it sounded close enough that I wanted to show the other side of the
question.  The people you are complaining about are real people, and are
probably feeling plenty stupid enough coming here to ask such basic
questions -- being told they are too stupid to even bother with just
might not be the most appreciated message to be getting right this

> My two cents.  Shoot me.


Well, you did say to.

> -
> Chris Shepard - Unix Developer

Take care,

----------------------------Blain Nelson------------------------------
blain@stripped        ICQ:19857966        anon-20630@stripped
--------------------------Refuse to Abuse-----------------------------

Protocol, aka Courtesycshepard31 Aug
  • Protocol, aka CourtesyJani Tolonen31 Aug
  • Re: Protocol, aka CourtesyGreg Donald31 Aug
  • Protocol, aka Courtesysinisa31 Aug
  • Re: Protocol, aka CourtesyBlain Nelson1 Sep
RE: Protocol, aka CourtesyAlok Dhir1 Sep