[GRLUG] Distro's - GRLUG test comment, dead thread

Justin Denick justin.denick at gmail.com
Mon May 15 09:11:34 EDT 2006

I must say we are a wordy bunch. So wordy infact one could ponder whether or
not we don't like hearing ourselves type. As such, why wouldn't we want to
waste more of our employer's time and answer as many threads as possible,
trivial or not.

Thankfully, I compiled my entire gentoo installation by hand so that I could
check my email and read these posts. And I was able to do that because I
joined this list a couple years ago. I knew very little about computers
then. In fact, I onced asked Godwin what WMIS meant by 768 down, and why
shouldn't I be paying $10 every month to McAfee for virus updates. After
having experienced Gentoo, I know less now that I did before he told me
"dude, you're paying what!"

While compiling every package on my PC isn't as grand a task as writing the
Human Genome thing in Perl-- it is pretty big to me. It was hard and it took
a long time and a lot of research. Most importantly I did not do it all by
myself, I asked alot of questions. Often times the answers to those
questions were quite trivial, some of the more seasoned linux users out
there probably thought" Geese RTFM" or "google is your friend".

I agree before you post a question you should at the very least exhaust your
other options (e.g. man, google, /usr/share/doc) if, after all that is done
and you still can't get it. Join a list. But don't put down somebody because
they're question isn't hard or they don't rate as high as you do on the God
scale. That's bu11sh1t.

But it was to read and I owe a lot to the GRLUG list and lists just like
this one.

Oh yeah, I don't remember who was vi'ing with debian but I bet my gentoo
binaries can swim faster than yours!

On 5/13/06, zdennis <zdennis at mktec.com> wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> I agree with Ron's Guide, and appreciate Ron for posting it.
> Zach
> Ron Lauzon wrote:
> > Robert G. Brown wrote:
> >
> >>I beleive what is being objected to is behavior such as
> >>described in the article at:
> >>
> >>   http://www.reallylinux.com/docs/snobsoped.shtml
> >>
> >
> > That was an interesting article, but the "sobbery" that they see doesn't
> > really exist, but I can see why they
> > think it does.  So I've created:
> >
> > Ron's Guide to Asking Technical Questions for Newbies
> >
> > Many of us who can answer such questions are often the people who are
> > more technically advanced or talented at the companies they work for.
> > In short: we are the answer people.  At work, we are paid to deal with
> > newbie questions (either officially or unofficially), so we answer your
> > questions at work with a smile (after all, we LIKE getting paid).
> >
> > Outside of work, however, we answer questions out of the goodness of our
> > hearts and out of a desire to educate people.  But we are not OBLIGATED
> > to answer your question.
> >
> > In my personal experience, I have been:
> > + Treated as an employee by someone I don't know looking for an answer
> > and demanding it NOW.
> > + Called, at home, by someone I barely knew demanding (not asking) for
> > technical help with his school work.
> > + Treated as a Google-surrogate (i.e. they were looking for answers that
> > were easily Google-able).
> >
> > So, helpful hints for newbies asking questions:
> > 1. Ask.  Ask nicely.  I recently started to learn Japanese and they have
> > a whole separate set of "polite" words.  Learn the English versions of
> > those words and use them.  Copious use of the words "please" and "I
> > would really appreciate..." are obviously very helpful here.
> >
> > We aren't looking for you to beg for help, but we are looking for
> > appreciation for our help and not to be treated as peons (who aren't
> > getting paid to answer your questions).
> >
> > 2. Try first.  Who do you you feel better helping: the person who has
> > made it half way up the mountain on his own, but is stuck and needs help
> > - or the person who is still at the bottom, not having made any attempt
> > to climb?
> >
> > Telling us what you did to find the answer yourself when asking the
> > question tells us that you want to learn and makes us more willing to
> > help.  Which leads me to ...
> >
> > 3. Learn.  'Nuff said.
> >
> > 4. Accept that you may not get the "step 1, step 2, step 3..." answer
> > that you are looking for.  You may just get a little bit of information
> > - and if you asked a good question, that little bit of information may
> > just be the missing piece that lets you figure it out for yourself - and
> > learn something in the process.
> >
> > Remember, we just don't want to spread Linux to everyone.  We also want
> > to spread knowledge.  Because if everyone is smart, we can spend less
> > time answering questions and more time doing cool techie things 8-)
> >
> > 5. Accept the answer "you've bitten off more than you can chew".
> > Remember that you are asking questions of people who are more
> > knowledgeable and experienced than you (if they weren't, why are you
> > asking them questions?).  Remember that we became knowledgeable and
> > experienced by doing simple tasks, learning and then doing more
> > complicated tasks.  Some of us went to college, some to the School of
> > Hard Knocks.  We didn't get our knowledge from the magic lamp.  We
> > earned it through many trials and failures.
> >
> > I have a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science.  I have almost 20 years
> > experience.  I've worked with many flavors of Unix over that time.  When
> > I tell you what what you want to do is outside of your abilities, it's
> > not a slam - it's just the honest truth.
> >
> > 6. Remember that techies can be bribed.  An offer of a dinner to help do
> > something when we have free time stands a good chance of being taken
> > up.  Money works too.  I've bought computers from the Junk Store and
> > built them up with Linux for people to have something to play with - but
> > I've been paid for that.
> >
> > Finally,
> > 7. Respect.  Remember that we aren't your employees, we aren't your help
> > desk, we aren't under any obligation to you.  Treating us with respect
> > keeps our attitudes nice, and makes us much more willing to answer
> > newbie questions.
> >
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It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
                -- Mark Twain
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