wh7qq
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Snarky non-responses to questions - grumpy man ramblings

Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:28 pm

From responding to a great many questions and requests for help in the Beginners and Troubleshooting forums, it is easy to loose patience from answering the same question over and over again but the Raspberry Pi is all about newcomers and there is really no "dumb" question. If folks are using their Pi and encountering things they don't understand, that is great and they are learning. Encourage it. Add to the knowledge base here.

On the other hand, many questions are outside of one's experience and contributing a snarky and non-responsive "RTFM" or "Ask your question on (another) forum..." contribute nothing to the information base here and do little but discourage the OP and sour them on the RPi, this forum and the Linux experience.

The point is, if you have nothing to contribute to a particular question, keep reading until you find a post that you know something about where you can make a positive contribution rather than just being a "smart PITA". If you have nothing to contribute, just shut up.
Last edited by wh7qq on Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PeterO
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:34 pm

If you have a problem with a particular reply, the correct thing to do is report it to the moderators. Ranting about others behaviours will generally just encourage them :(
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ktb
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:34 pm

I completely agree. It's one of the reasons I sometimes stay away from this forum for long periods of time.

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solar3000
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:41 pm

I agree with you totally. But you are doing what 'they' are doing. You should address the snarkers and their specific posts.

So, yes, it is very discouraging for someone who does not know what to do with that SD card to ask only for some superior genius to smack them down with I'm better than you response.

They make one post and then disappear.


But you see, 'they' don't own this forum or this website or this company.

I guess, just leave it up to the mods. This topic will probably get locked anyway.
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:42 pm

wh7qq wrote:From responding to a great many questions and requests for help in the Beginners and Troubleshooting forums, it is easy to loose patience from answering the same question over and over again but the Raspberry Pi is all about newcomers and there is really no "dumb" question. If folks are using their Pi and encountering things they don't understand, that is great and they are learning. Encourage it. Add to the knowledge base here.

On the other hand, many questions are outside of one's experience and contributing a snarky and non-responsive "RTFM" or "Ask your question on (another) forum..." contribute nothing to the information base here and do little but discourage the OP and sour them on the RPi, this forum and the Linux experience.

The point is, if you have nothing to contribute to a particular question, keep reading until you find a post that you know something about where you can make a positive contribution rather than just being a "smart PITA". If you have nothing to contribute, just shut up.
Got any examples, to help educate people?

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:43 pm

When a request for help is for an add-on to a Pi that isn't commonly seen or supported, the actual best advice is "look for support from the supplier/reseller/manufacturer" because that is where the support is *supposed* to be. *How* that advice is given is best considered in light of the old joke about diplomacy. A diplomat can tell you to go Hell in a way that makes you look forward to the trip.

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buja
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:21 pm

If there are no dumb questions, there can hardly be dumb answers.

Questions come in a wide variety from a wide variety of people. Many questions from beginners are easy to answer, more experienced users often have more difficult questions. But it can also be the other way around.

Example:
Q: How do I program a GUI application in C?
A: Depending on your current knowledge you could start with a training Programming in C, followed by a training GUI programming in C.
That's a short, easy to ask and understandable question. The answer however is not so short when you think about it.

Quite often the answers are easy to find in the documentation. But people are often not aware of the documentation, sometimes it's hard to find and not easy to understand. Beginners don't know what they don't know, so they don't know what to look for and have a hard time finding information they need.

In other cases people give a short problem description, but forget to mention the steps they have already undertaken to solve it (without success) or leave out important configuration information, wasting time of the repliers. But who knew that bit of information was important?

I see a lot of questions about wiringPi or PIGPIO. Those people are in luck, because the developers (Gordon and Joan) are often present here and pick up those questions, but there are many other forum members offering help too.
But sometimes this community doesn't have the answer, for example if questions are very specific and not really Pi-related. In those cases referring to another forum or the original developers is quite reasonable.

Another way of looking at this: if you already have a few hundred posts on this forum you should should be aware of how things work around here and be able to give good information so other people can offer useful answers. Beginners with only a handful of posts may get some more room.
RT(F)M may not be very friendly, but is often the best answer without copying the information from that manual. A link to that manual might be useful.

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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:39 pm

buja wrote: RT(F)M may not be very friendly, but is often the best answer without copying the information from that manual. A link to that manual might be useful.
Or simply instructions on *how* to access the manual...since it comes with Raspbian. It is only fair to mention that the manual is actually the *programmers* manual, and for a beginner the language in it can be...opaque. This does remind me of a post from many years ago on the usenet group comp.unix.questions, in which a poster ended his question with, "...don't tell me to RTFM if you WTFM."

Pithagoros
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:53 pm

RTFM isn't always the answer, even when there exists easily accessible and good documentation.

Because some people like to communicate with other people and work best with interaction. A cold hard page of text and diagrams doesn't always do it.

Sometimes a question is a way of starting a dialogue where they can present their understanding to get feedback on their understanding.

What I'm trying to say is, there is not just one way. Different people work in different ways. Your way is not the only way.

This matter of the curt, terse, snarky people has come up often over the years. In fact I was part of this forum from its inception before the first Pi, and walked away for a couple of years because I was so embarrassed by the treatment of some newcomers. Even one poor guy who was very likely a SEN student got terrible treatment.

And with all respect to the people who give their own time to moderate here, moderation seems to be mostly about suppressing discussion of future Pi features, and not so much about protecting the vulnerable such as I mention in the previous paragraph.

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scruss
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:09 am

Pithagoros wrote:… moderation seems to be mostly about suppressing discussion of future Pi features, and not so much about protecting the vulnerable
I'm seeing a lot of moderation about keeping inappropriate stuff off the board. It's right to shut down the speculative posts, because the RPF doesn't release specs in advance.
‘Remember the Golden Rule of Selling: “Do not resort to violence.”’ — McGlashan.

Pithagoros
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:23 am

scruss wrote: I'm seeing a lot of moderation about keeping inappropriate stuff off the board. It's right to shut down the speculative posts, because the RPF doesn't release specs in advance.
Because?

How is "the RPF doesn't release specs in advance" a reason?

I know a lot of people are bored with seeing it but it's easily ignored.

fruitoftheloom
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:39 am

wh7qq wrote:From responding to a great many questions and requests for help in the Beginners and Troubleshooting forums, it is easy to loose patience from answering the same question over and over again but the Raspberry Pi is all about newcomers and there is really no "dumb" question. If folks are using their Pi and encountering things they don't understand, that is great and they are learning. Encourage it. Add to the knowledge base here.

On the other hand, many questions are outside of one's experience and contributing a snarky and non-responsive "RTFM" or "Ask your question on (another) forum..." contribute nothing to the information base here and do little but discourage the OP and sour them on the RPi, this forum and the Linux experience.

The point is, if you have nothing to contribute to a particular question, keep reading until you find a post that you know something about where you can make a positive contribution rather than just being a "smart PITA". If you have nothing to contribute, just shut up.
If you feel this strongly, may I suggest you apply to become a Moderator.
Retired disgracefully.....

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:46 am

Sometimes the answer is just a google away.
I do get a bit upset that someone expects an answer straight away without bothering to google first.

The wife came across something today about school kids.
About the current YouTube generation having short attention spans and wanting everything now.

Commuting this morning listening to an oldies radio station an old Queen classic came on.
I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now,
I just had to smile, does this apply to every generation?
Or is this the Gen Alpha theme song?

But some of us are grumpy old farts that had to learn it the old way and don't watch YouTube to learn it the new way :lol:
I'm dancing on Rainbows.
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:25 am

Pithagoros wrote:RTFM isn't always the answer, even when there exists easily accessible and good documentation.

Because some people like to communicate with other people and work best with interaction. A cold hard page of text and diagrams doesn't always do it.
While I agree with these points, there is another factor to consider. It really helps if the person posing the question demonstrates having at least *tried* to get an answer on his own. If he starts with, "I tried googling..." or "I read the man page on..." you know he took a shot at it and failed to find what he needed. Someone trying to help can work with that. One can probe to find out what the person with the problem knows so far and where he ran into trouble. When it's just "I have a problem" and there is no indication any sort of effort has been made to find a solution (no matter if the person asking the question has gone of on some wild tangent), it's very hard to know where to start other than Google or RTFM.

Indeed...I worked on helping someone today. When I got just enough information--the manufacturer name of the device he was having trouble with--the two very first items that came up on Google were the company's support page for the product in question, and a thread from these very Forums discussing issues others had had. In a case like that, what is there to do but give a thinly veiled "Google it" or RTFM? In practice, I gave him those two links and noted that there were nearly 86K more.
Sometimes a question is a way of starting a dialogue where they can present their understanding to get feedback on their understanding.
In order to start that dialog, the one asking the question has to show that he has a question when can be answered. He has to have *some* knowledge what his problem is...and reading the manual or googling is a way to get that information.
And with all respect to the people who give their own time to moderate here, moderation seems to be mostly about suppressing discussion of future Pi features, and not so much about protecting the vulnerable such as I mention in the previous paragraph.
Personally, I think that shutting down speculation is not a good use of moderators time, unless such a thread comes to (virtual) blows. Perhaps if less time was spent shutting down speculative threads, those who like to debate what could or could not come in the future would do that and not give sharp, curt, or useless answers to beginners questions.

It can also be noted that threads like this one can be criticized on much the same grounds as speculative threads and if you think the moderators should shut down speculative threads, then repeated threads on "why can't people be nicer to newcomers?" ought to get the same treatment.

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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Thu Mar 09, 2017 5:32 am

Gavinmc42 wrote:Sometimes the answer is just a google away.
I do get a bit upset that someone expects an answer straight away without bothering to google first.
Sometimes and sometimes.
Regarding Debian that will hardly ever be the case as it is very geeky-nerdy = terminal orientated -memorizing commands etc. to the letter and newbie =GUI unfriendly.
Example :it took me many hours on Internet -Google over many days and many trials to figure out how to fix omxplayer (???) as automatic (command line) application with its control keys working by double clicking on a video file - thus avoiding any terminal.

In (terminal) Debian you will never know something is working or even possible till you managed to find and enter the exact correct keystroke sequence with all correct switches (out of dozens). A GUI shows you sure options and mouse clicks are easy.
Installing new software on Ubuntu is easy; on Debian it can be a pain.

I guess it is hard for some solitary code oriented men in front of a b&w screen to understand that not all people are like them; also that most kids are not like that at all today..... Make it more visual or you'll lose them to more attractive colorful GUI stuff everywhere around them.
Last edited by AntonAV on Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:05 am, edited 2 times in total.

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rpdom
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:01 am

AntonAV wrote:In (terminal) Debian you will never know something is working or even possible till you managed to find and enter the exact correct keystroke sequence with all correct switches (out of dozens). A GUI shows you sure options and mouse clicks are easy.
Learning a few simple options isn't hard. A GUI shows you limited and fixed options. Sometimes if you want to do anything serious you have to get your hands a bit dirty. ;-)
Installing new software on Ubuntu is easy
Yep, apt-get works perfectly on there. I use it all the time :-)

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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:21 am

rpdom wrote:
AntonAV wrote:In (terminal) Debian you will never know something is working or even possible till you managed to find and enter the exact correct keystroke sequence with all correct switches (out of dozens). A GUI shows you sure options and mouse clicks are easy.
Learning a few simple options isn't hard. A GUI shows you limited and fixed options. Sometimes if you want to do anything serious you have to get your hands a bit dirty. ;-)
Installing new software on Ubuntu is easy
Yep, apt-get works perfectly on there. I use it all the time :-)
Let the 1% guys who want to do "serious" stuff stick to their terminal commands; enable the other 99% to do their simple stuff simply please.

(Debian) apt-get install what?? How did you find out? If it is not in your local repository? Installing a .deb file simple? All only for those in the know: like Freemasons. ;)
Last edited by AntonAV on Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:27 am

AntonAV wrote:
rpdom wrote:
AntonAV wrote:In (terminal) Debian you will never know something is working or even possible till you managed to find and enter the exact correct keystroke sequence with all correct switches (out of dozens). A GUI shows you sure options and mouse clicks are easy.
Learning a few simple options isn't hard. A GUI shows you limited and fixed options. Sometimes if you want to do anything serious you have to get your hands a bit dirty. ;-)

Let the 1% guys who want to do serious stuff stick to their terminal commands; enable the other 99% to do their simple stuff simply please.

Installing new software on Ubuntu is easy
Yep, apt-get works perfectly on there. I use it all the time :-)
Debian apt-get install what?? How did you find out? If it is not in your local repository? Installing a .deb file simple? All only for those in the know: like Freemasons. ;)
Apt-cache search <subject>

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rpdom
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:29 am

AntonAV wrote:Debian apt-get install what?? How did you find out? If it is not in your local repository? Installing a .deb file simple? All only for those in the know: like Freemasons. ;)
:sigh:
Google, apt-cache search, many other ways to find stuff that the limited GUI interface doesn't tell you. I've been doing this stuff on Linux for nearly 20 years. It originally took me an hour or so to find the commands I needed. :roll:

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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:40 am

rpdom wrote: :sigh: Google, apt-cache search,
Hey, you used GUI Google ?? Sacrilege!!
Terminal apt-cache search educational activity pack returns me only this: pysiogame - educational activity pack for kids. If I do apt-get install pysiogame on Raspbian I get a very old version of that program - but I won't realize that. On top of that it won't give me a graphical start icon on the Desktop or Menu.

P.S: not everybody has a photographic memory.

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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:55 am

AntonAV wrote:
rpdom wrote: :sigh: Google, apt-cache search,
Hey, you used GUI Google ?? Sacrilege!!
Have you never heard of lynx?
P.S: not everybody has a photographic memory.
No. I certainly don't. I have an exceptionally bad memory. But I can remember two or three simple commands and what to do with them.

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r3d4
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:59 am

AntonAV wrote:
rpdom wrote: :sigh: Google, apt-cache search,
Hey, you used GUI Google ?? Sacrilege!!
afaik!
> apt-get install lynx -y
#works

AntonAV
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:43 am

r3d4 wrote: afaik!
> apt-get install lynx -y
#works
Overheard outside a local kindergarten: "sharing or scaring!!" ;)

jamesh
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:36 am

OK, moderator time.

There are lots of good point above, but the biggest point to answer the OP's post is "Use the REPORT button if you have a problem with a post"

The mods see the report, they make an assessment, and either delete the post, or edit it appropriately, or leave it as it is.


I don't like snarky responses, although I am sure I have been snarky in the past. They will usually get short shrift from me. We want people to come here for help - I note one person says they stay away. I don't want that. So use that report button - and we will hopefully keep things good and proper.
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Re: Snarky non-responses to questions

Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:41 am

AntonAV wrote:
rpdom wrote: :sigh: Google, apt-cache search,
Hey, you used GUI Google ?? Sacrilege!!
Terminal apt-cache search educational activity pack returns me only this: pysiogame - educational activity pack for kids. If I do apt-get install pysiogame on Raspbian I get a very old version of that program - but I won't realize that. On top of that it won't give me a graphical start icon on the Desktop or Menu.

P.S: not everybody has a photographic memory.
I am a professional software engineer. I do not have a photographic memory. If I need to know something, I use Google. The number of times I use Google, PER DAY to find which Linux command to use, or it's parameters, is probably more than I can count on my hands.

Sometimes, to answer a question on here, I have to Google for the answer. At that point, I think to myself, why didn't the OP do that?

The point is - Google for the answer to your question - this is an essential skill nowadays in many occupations - the amount of stuff you need to know to do software development for example is too large for the average brain to contain without something else falling out. If Google fails to find an answer, ask a question in the appropriate place.

Note: There are other search engines, I happen to use Google.
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Contrary to popular belief, humorous signatures are allowed. Here's an example...
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