Daniel Gessel
Posts: 121
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:47 am
Location: Boston area, MA, US
Contact: Website Twitter

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:19 pm

B.Goode wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:52 pm
Daniel Gessel wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:33 pm
It’s definitely elitist, by my definition, to divide the world into “losers” and not. It’s a horrible word, used by horrible people, ultimately identifying the user as deserving to be placed into their own negative category (if I may be so elitist).



Fortunately, that is not a word that has been introduced into this discussion until you used it in your own sentence, quoted...
It was, via a document linked to in another post: http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

There was a discussion about whether this document is elitist. I was pointing out that, in my opinion, it is (and why).

I obviously should have quoted more from the document than that one word, to provide context.

Lesson learned.

hippy
Posts: 8514
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:34 pm
Location: UK

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:05 pm

thagrol wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:21 pm
hippy wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:33 pm
Maybe we need a sticky on how to 'suck it up', move on, tolerate it ?
So it's better to "suck it up" and ignore the post than try to help by asking for more information?
No I'm not saying that. I'm just saying, if not willing to ask for more information, one should then 'suck it up', accept that it's a bad post, and move on.

Yes; ignore it if one cannot be bothered to ask for more information but can't help. Because what else is there to do other then complaining that posters aren't posting how one would like ?

Hoping to coerce or force posters into asking a question how one might like is a pipe dream.

User avatar
Burngate
Posts: 6371
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:34 pm
Location: Berkshire UK Tralfamadore
Contact: Website

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:31 pm

Daniel Gessel wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:19 pm
... : http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
... elitist.
i'm not sure "elitist" or "arrogant" are the right descriptions, but I do think "long-winded" is applicable.

Consider, for example, a twelve-year-old on his birthday.
Do you really think he's going to read through that lot before asking "Why doesn't my Pi work?" (she's more likely to, but that's not allowed, these days)

A friendly conversation is more likely to help him than just telling him to learn to use Google.

Heater
Posts: 16829
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:49 pm

@Daniel Gessel,
Are these boards social, or purely technical? I have concluded that it’s kosher to think of asking here as a little bit like asking a friend. Maybe I should rethink that?
Nothing involving human interaction is purely technical. Thank God, that would be very boring. Yes, do rethink that. One might reasonably expect ones friends to try and help or at least listen. We out here don't know you from Adam, you don't know us and are not your friends. Why would expect such an intimate interaction?
It’s definitely elitist, by my definition, to divide the world into “losers” and not. It’s a horrible word, used by horrible people, ultimately identifying the user as deserving to be placed into their own negative category (if I may be so elitist).
I agree. But I was wondering when I ever saw that happen here. Turns out I never did. It's all in your mind.

Turns out you are referring to a blog post by Eric Raymond. Sure he comes over as elitist and arrogant. That's OK. His advice regarding asking questions is sound anyway. Besides the context of what he is talking about is different than a discussion of questions on an educational forum.

@GlowInTheDark,
...when something is free, it is worth about what you pay for it.
On the contrary. With the vast ocean of Free and Open Source software we have today, with the masses of documentation, articles, blogs, forums etc around it we have, I'm very sure that what we get out, as individuals and companies, is worth far more than any of us will ever "pay" for it.

Even in this little corner of the net, the Pi forum, I offer help to others when I can. For sure I have got more out of this forum and the Pi world than I have put in.

And no, there is nothing "elitist" about asking a poster to explain their problem more clearly or asking for more information about what it is they are trying to, how they tried to do it, and what happened.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

User avatar
thagrol
Posts: 3719
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:41 pm
Location: Darkest Somerset, UK
Contact: Website

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:52 pm

hippy wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:05 pm
thagrol wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:21 pm
hippy wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:33 pm
Maybe we need a sticky on how to 'suck it up', move on, tolerate it ?
So it's better to "suck it up" and ignore the post than try to help by asking for more information?
No I'm not saying that. I'm just saying, if not willing to ask for more information, one should then 'suck it up', accept that it's a bad post, and move on.

Yes; ignore it if one cannot be bothered to ask for more information but can't help. Because what else is there to do other then complaining that posters aren't posting how one would like ?

Hoping to coerce or force posters into asking a question how one might like is a pipe dream.
I don't think anyone is trying to force posters into using a particular format. It's more of an attempt to get posters to include enough information on what the problem is and what they have tried so neither side end up wasting their time. Or so that folks who could resolve the issue don't ignore it.

As I see it the aim is to get folks to go from:

Subject: Help
Body: My Pi won't boot


to:

Subject: 4B Won't boot when powered by PC USB port
Body: I have a 4B 1G RAM and I'm trying to power it from my PC's USB port. It works fine when powered by an official PSU and I've tried everything in the boot problems sticky.
Arguing with strangers on the internet since 1993.

LTolledo
Posts: 4102
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:29 am
Location: Anime Heartland

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:00 pm

thagrol's post above reminded me of another "bad example" of a forum post ( definitely not his post above)

its not the way the question is asked, its the way the post was formatted.

that means, everything was written in one big long (seems never ending) paragraph :?
everything the poster wanted to convey all jumbled (and mish-mashed) into something like a 20-line thick paragraph

if I see one of those.....my "ignore mode" immediately kicks in.... ;)
"Don't come to me with 'issues' for I don't know how to deal with those
Come to me with 'problems' and I'll help you find solutions"

Some people be like:
"Help me! Am drowning! But dont you dare touch me nor come near me!"

User avatar
Gavinmc42
Posts: 4828
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:31 am

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:59 am

The Pi is all about education. What's so wrong with educating people to try to solve their own problems?
Nothing, but then personal opinions cannot be spouted :lol:

Typical excuses heard around here "Programming is hard, can I do another project" "Google cannot find the answer, therefore it cannot be done"
Saw a bit on the news last night about school education and homework.
Rote learning verses having fun doing.

I had the thought any kid with a Smart phone can wiki answers or learn anything they want.
Harder to learn is, theory does not match reality.
When I see a student here understand that then I believe they have got an education.

Expectations in problem solving has changed?
Instant answers along with the instant coffee?

Learning how to ask questions is good, learning how to ask the right question is better.
Using and applying the answer is yet more learning.

Learning the patience to deal with dumb questions is harder.
I'm dancing on Rainbows.
Raspberries are not Apples or Oranges

JohnsUPS
Posts: 188
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:13 am
Location: USA

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:08 am

I prefer to give the person posting the benefit of the doubt regardless of how they pose their question(s). Everyone has different backgrounds and levels of expertise and also command of English. Although most of the people that frequent this forum are technically oriented (and many are very sharp) and take the Pi in stride, there are those who look to the Internet for help with that new Raspberry Pi thingy that they bought/were given/a present/whatever...

User avatar
PeterO
Posts: 5964
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:59 am

I find it annoying when people just jump into a thread and give the answer when I'm trying to lead the OP towards working it out for themselves !
PeterO
Discoverer of the PI2 XENON DEATH FLASH!
Interests: C,Python,PIC,Electronics,Ham Radio (G0DZB),1960s British Computers.
"The primary requirement (as we've always seen in your examples) is that the code is readable. " Dougie Lawson

GlowInTheDark
Posts: 1066
Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:14 pm

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:03 am

I find it annoying when people just jump into a thread and give the answer when I'm trying to lead the OP towards working it out for themselves !
This is an instance of a general problem with the format of these forums - the basic format/layout of which hasn't changed much since the 80s. The format to which I refer is the basic format of an "OP", followed by a single, linear stream of responses. The problem to which I refer is that multiple responders will have different, clashing styles of response.

You often wish that the forum software would somehow create a sub-tree off of the main thread for each responder.

Note that there does exist forum software that handles this at least a little better than that of the classic 80s model. The "AskUbuntu" forum is one such example.
GitD's list of things that are not ready for prime time:
1) IPv6
2) 64 bit OSes
3) USB 3
4) Bluetooth

Loves Linux; loves to dance.

User avatar
thagrol
Posts: 3719
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:41 pm
Location: Darkest Somerset, UK
Contact: Website

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:52 pm

Gavinmc42 wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:59 am
The Pi is all about education. What's so wrong with educating people to try to solve their own problems?
Nothing, but then personal opinions cannot be spouted :lol:
Quoting me there, I think :)

I don't see the two as mutually exclusive. Unless you're trying to pass off opinion as fact.
Arguing with strangers on the internet since 1993.

User avatar
thagrol
Posts: 3719
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:41 pm
Location: Darkest Somerset, UK
Contact: Website

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 1:07 pm

JohnsUPS wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:08 am
there are those who look to the Internet for help with that new Raspberry Pi thingy that they bought/were given/a present/whatever...
And that's part of my point. When you go to the internet your first stop should be https://www.raspberrypi.org/help/, your second a search engine, and your third a forum post with a subject indicating the problem and as much information about the specifics and what you have tried as possible.

Posts of the "Help, it doesn't work" variety are the forum equivalent of going into Asda*, standing by the entrance and shouting "Can you do my shopping for me". Someone might ask you why or what's on your list, some will point you at the customer services desk but most will ignore you.

*: Other supermarkets exist.
Arguing with strangers on the internet since 1993.

User avatar
thagrol
Posts: 3719
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:41 pm
Location: Darkest Somerset, UK
Contact: Website

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 1:10 pm

PeterO wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:59 am
I find it annoying when people just jump into a thread and give the answer when I'm trying to lead the OP towards working it out for themselves !
PeterO
Indeed. Almost as annoying as those who jump in and repeat what has already been said or jump in with incorrect or misleading information.

If I've ever done any of that to you, let me appologise for doing so now.
Arguing with strangers on the internet since 1993.

User avatar
thagrol
Posts: 3719
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:41 pm
Location: Darkest Somerset, UK
Contact: Website

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 1:16 pm

Gavinmc42 wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:59 am
Expectations in problem solving has changed?
Instant answers along with the instant coffee?
At risk of going further off topic here, but I suspect the problem is deeper than that. There appears to be a tendancy for folk to not take resposibility or action for themselves instead expecting others to do the work for them. Across the board not just in tech areas.
Arguing with strangers on the internet since 1993.

ejolson
Posts: 5972
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:47 am

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:22 pm

thagrol wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 1:10 pm
PeterO wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:59 am
I find it annoying when people just jump into a thread and give the answer when I'm trying to lead the OP towards working it out for themselves !
PeterO
Indeed. Almost as annoying as those who jump in and repeat what has already been said or jump in with incorrect or misleading information.
As long as the answer doesn't involve modifying /etc/fstab with something that will likely make the Pi unbootable in the future, I usually appreciate when someone steps in with an answers and takes the responsibility to answer further questions.

There is a difficulty when two or more people are describing different ways to solve the same problem. This can be confusing. At the same time, I much prefer a chronological ordering of the replies to a post rather than software that creates a twisty maze of different conversations all alike.

JohnsUPS
Posts: 188
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:13 am
Location: USA

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:27 pm

At risk of going further off topic here, but I suspect the problem is deeper than that. There appears to be a tendancy for folk to not take resposibility or action for themselves instead expecting others to do the work for them. Across the board not just in tech areas.
Yeah, this is one of my peeves. On occasion you can spot a poster who has a (typically school) project and is looking here for someone to essentially do it for them.

User avatar
thagrol
Posts: 3719
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:41 pm
Location: Darkest Somerset, UK
Contact: Website

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:35 pm

JohnsUPS wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:27 pm
At risk of going further off topic here, but I suspect the problem is deeper than that. There appears to be a tendancy for folk to not take resposibility or action for themselves instead expecting others to do the work for them. Across the board not just in tech areas.
Yeah, this is one of my peeves. On occasion you can spot a poster who has a (typically school) project and is looking here for someone to essentially do it for them.
While I've spotted that too that wasn't what I was referring to. To give a couple of examples:
  1. Parents who won't discipline their kids instead expecting the school or the police to do it for them.
  2. People who sue a cafe because no-one pointed out the obvious: that a hot drink is hot.
Arguing with strangers on the internet since 1993.

User avatar
PeterO
Posts: 5964
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 4:48 pm

JohnsUPS wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:27 pm
At risk of going further off topic here, but I suspect the problem is deeper than that. There appears to be a tendancy for folk to not take resposibility or action for themselves instead expecting others to do the work for them. Across the board not just in tech areas.
Yeah, this is one of my peeves. On occasion you can spot a poster who has a (typically school) project and is looking here for someone to essentially do it for them.
One of my pet peeves is people who go out of their way to remove the name of the user they are quoting !
PeterO
Discoverer of the PI2 XENON DEATH FLASH!
Interests: C,Python,PIC,Electronics,Ham Radio (G0DZB),1960s British Computers.
"The primary requirement (as we've always seen in your examples) is that the code is readable. " Dougie Lawson

ejolson
Posts: 5972
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:47 am

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:00 pm

PeterO wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 4:48 pm
JohnsUPS wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:27 pm
At risk of going further off topic here, but I suspect the problem is deeper than that. There appears to be a tendancy for folk to not take resposibility or action for themselves instead expecting others to do the work for them. Across the board not just in tech areas.
Yeah, this is one of my peeves. On occasion you can spot a poster who has a (typically school) project and is looking here for someone to essentially do it for them.
One of my pet peeves is people who go out of their way to remove the name of the user they are quoting !
PeterO
I don't think anyone went out of their way; they just used the other button. Still, quotes that don't cite who or what is being quoted are definitely among the best examples of bad forum posts. Nice to see everyone staying on topic so well.

Speaking of which, there is a sale of raspberries--out of season--at the grocery store this week. Help! Does any anyone know how many I should buy?

User avatar
thagrol
Posts: 3719
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:41 pm
Location: Darkest Somerset, UK
Contact: Website

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:06 pm

PeterO wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 4:48 pm
JohnsUPS wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:27 pm
At risk of going further off topic here, but I suspect the problem is deeper than that. There appears to be a tendancy for folk to not take resposibility or action for themselves instead expecting others to do the work for them. Across the board not just in tech areas.
Yeah, this is one of my peeves. On occasion you can spot a poster who has a (typically school) project and is looking here for someone to essentially do it for them.
One of my pet peeves is people who go out of their way to remove the name of the user they are quoting !
PeterO
Indeed. Two people have done that with my posts in this thread (so far).
Arguing with strangers on the internet since 1993.

Heater
Posts: 16829
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:53 pm

The question of bad forum posts has been puzzling me for some time.

I can well understand that some youngster or other beginner does not really know what they are asking for or how to ask for it. It can be expected they are not familiar with the usual technical terms or Linux or programming or even what a computer can and cannot do and so on. I can well understand that there are many here whose native language is not English. I can well understand that many native English speakers are pretty much illiterate and cannot form a coherent sentence.

All that is to be expected and is something we can accommodate. But there are frequently other posts that I find that are just too weird. I start to wonder if they were ever written by a human or are they the output of someone's AI/Deep Learning/Natural Language processing experiment.

Such posts might have good spelling and reasonable grammar. They might use some terms that make you think they have clue what they are talking about. But they are so muddled, nonsensical and bizarre.

My suspicion grows when I see they are often the first post of a new forum member and subsequently their last post, never to be heard of again despite the conversation they have triggered and any requests for further clarification people may have made.

Sometimes such posts have been identified as SPAM pretty quickly, especially when someone notices they are cut and pastes of posts from elsewhere.

Anyone else ever had that feeling? Or am I just getting paranoid about the capabilities of our future AI overlords?
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

ejolson
Posts: 5972
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:47 am

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 6:13 pm

Heater wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:53 pm
The question of bad forum posts has been puzzling me for some time.

I can well understand that some youngster or other beginner does not really know what they are asking for or how to ask for it. It can be expected they are not familiar with the usual technical terms or Linux or programming or even what a computer can and cannot do and so on. I can well understand that there are many here whose native language is not English. I can well understand that many native English speakers are pretty much illiterate and cannot form a coherent sentence.

All that is to be expected and is something we can accommodate. But there are frequently other posts that I find that are just too weird. I start to wonder if they were ever written by a human or are they the output of someone's AI/Deep Learning/Natural Language processing experiment.

Such posts might have good spelling and reasonable grammar. They might use some terms that make you think they have clue what they are talking about. But they are so muddled, nonsensical and bizarre.

My suspicion grows when I see they are often the first post of a new forum member and subsequently their last post, never to be heard of again despite the conversation they have triggered and any requests for further clarification people may have made.

Sometimes such posts have been identified as SPAM pretty quickly, especially when someone notices they are cut and pastes of posts from elsewhere.

Anyone else ever had that feeling? Or am I just getting paranoid about the capabilities of our future AI overlords?
It would be useful when a new member is banned as a spammer for their signature to be changed to something such as banned so people could focus efforts on helping others with genuine needs.

User avatar
Imperf3kt
Posts: 4012
Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:16 am
Location: Australia

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Thu Feb 06, 2020 8:38 pm

GlowInTheDark wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:03 am
You often wish that the forum software would somehow create a sub-tree off of the main thread for each responder.

Note that there does exist forum software that handles this at least a little better than that of the classic 80s model. The "AskUbuntu" forum is one such example.
I personally find this style of forum (reddit, stack exchange, etc) a royal pain in the behind to read.
Sure, you splinter the replies into multiple conversations so the exact topic is kept within each reply thingy, but you forget that you aren't here to discuss your red bed sheets and keep that discussion separate from the guy talking about his blue bed sheets, you're here to answer the question the OP asked.
Having answers chronologically presented is far easier to keep up with, and stays on topic better.

If you want to reply to a specific post, you have the quote button for that, like I've done here.
55:55:44:44:4C
52:4C:52:42:41

Rose coloured glasses are difficult to see through.

Heater
Posts: 16829
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:19 am

Please God let's not have a forum software that creates a maze of nested subtrees and sub-sub-sub-discussions. They are infuriating.

This is a "forum". The idea of a forum is to have a public discussion on a topic among many. Everyone speaks in turn and everyone gets their say. Everyone gets to hear what is said. Everyone is on the same level. This has been the idea since the Greeks and the Romans. Still goes on in parliamentary debate today.

Sure people may wander off topic a bit. Sure people will offer differing solutions and opinions. That's mostly OK. Better to have it all out in public in a linear stream than fork off a fractal mess of side discussions between ever small subsets of people that get harder and harder to follow and read.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

Heater
Posts: 16829
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Best example of a bad forum post?

Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:23 am

As if on cue to support my automated AI/Deep Leaning/NLP hypothesis re: weird forum posts here, this morning I find this:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/view ... 6#p1607794

What is one to make of a first time poster to the "Beginners" section who wants to create an operating system?

And also this:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/view ... 3&t=264300
Last edited by Heater on Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

Return to “Off topic discussion”