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vharishankar 04-09-2006 10:08 PM

A request: please don't reply to topics if you don't know the answer
 
A small request. This is especially for technical questions in the Linux-specific forums. I'm not criticizing those who're trying to help, but ultimately if you don't know the answer or cannot point to any useful resources (and I mean *useful* links, not google) please don't reply to these topics.

I am saying this not out of rudeness or a desire to be mean or anything, but because of the way the forum works: especially because replying to a thread removes the topic from the "Unread topics" list and then nobody else tends to take on these threads. Then the chances of getting a solution are way diminished and the thread remains half-finished...

Thanks for reading.

scuzzman 04-09-2006 10:27 PM

Though, if a person says something like "I can't get Firefox to work. Help me!", regardless if I know the answer or not, it is helpful to post and request additional information, is it not?

vharishankar 04-09-2006 10:30 PM

While I agree with you generally, I meant the more technical questions, especially regarding hardware configuration, kernel stuff and distribution-specific questions. When I post in the Debian forum for instance, I don't want to be asked again "What distro are you using?"

microsoft/linux 04-09-2006 10:32 PM

generally I agree with you, but there are cases in which I will reply to a thread in order to try and get more information out of the poster, in order to help someone else answer the question.

EDIT: Wow, beaten to it. Hari, I agree, when you post in a forum that's distro-specific, people should pay more attention. But even hardware configuration can be tricky, especially if no details are given.

vharishankar 04-09-2006 10:37 PM

Quote:

generally I agree with you, but there are cases in which I will reply to a thread in order to try and get more information out of the poster, in order to help someone else answer the question.
No no... you don't understand. I'm particularly talking about the experienced users who post questions regarding very specific issues especially kernel, hardware, system configuration and stuff. I am not trying to be elitist in any way, but most of us do post a lot of information in the first post in the very effort to avoid replies which ask for more information. I know I edit my original post a lot after I frame the question just so that I can avoid a question to my question.

Moreover the way the forum works, it depends a lot on the 0 replies threads for unanswered threads to get visibility and when somebody posts any reply saying "can you explain?" to very specific and well-directed questions, it becomes a bit annoying. Especially because many people don't respond to threads when there's already been a reply.

If in spite of this, people post replies without reading the post fully, then it becomes a bit annoying.

microsoft/linux 04-09-2006 10:42 PM

yes, this is all true. A very well thought out, explicit, specific first post helps tremendously in people trying to answer it. However, if we apply the "don't answer a question you don't know the answer to" rule to all posts, many people will have to pose a question to clarify the question.

If a post is specific enough, then I completely agree with what you've said.

vharishankar 04-09-2006 10:46 PM

Yeah, the problem here is that we get a lot of general audience and sometimes people miss the underlying question and start getting sidetracked by other issues which are less important and which I indicate have already been resolved by me.

A simple example is what happened in the Debian forum recently. I asked a very Debian specific question regarding udev and the person who answered it asked me to edit the /etc/rc.local file when it's clear that Debian doesn't use the BSD init system. Sometimes that can be frustrating, particularly because I made it a point to ask the question in the Debian forum and not in any other forum and so the person answering the question should know his distro before trying to reply.

Maybe I should also subscribe to a newsgroup where you tend to get a focussed group of people trying to answer specific questions.

By the way, are the general public allowed on the kernel.org mailing lists or is subscription by invitation only?

vmlinuz.gz 04-10-2006 12:08 AM

I'm sorry, I don't know the answer to that question. But i'll just as well post anyway. (:!!!!!

shotokan 04-10-2006 01:07 AM

Hey I'm guilty of doing this sometimes without reason, and I had it happen to me as well.

Sorry.

floppywhopper 04-10-2006 03:18 AM

Do mean like ?

************************************************

Q Hey does anyone know how to fix this in Mandriva

Useless Answer
Nah not really
I use slackware blah blah blah
( and another notch added to the post count )

************************************************

seen that plenty of times in the Mandriva forums
which is why I ignore post counts

floppy

Mega Man X 04-10-2006 06:20 AM

How about threads like this:

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...d.php?t=433201

I found it nearly impossible to give an accurate answer to that question without guessing half of it and using my personal point of view to the other half. That thread has been unanswered for days now and I feel like I could give some opinions about that since game programming is one of my hobbies :).

And I don't know how many members use only the 0 - reply thread button. I, for example, have a couple of favorite forums that I check regularly, either if the thread has replies or not, such as the Software, Solaris, Programming, Ubuntu and General.

I just feel that not answering a thread because you can't give an accurate answer is not always the best thing to do. A lot of my Linux experience came from trying and failing without knowing what I was doing entirely :)

Now, I totally understand Harishankar point and he is right. There're a few peoples who answers questions in a stupid way. But I'd prefer to have a member posting in a thread that I started with some ideas to fix my problem (even if he/she is not totally sure that his/her suggestion will work) then leaving me alone in the darkness.

And you can always bump a thread too, in the case you did not get the answer you were hoping for. And as good as LQ.org is, I don't use it as the only resource for information. Usually, when one of my threads are not answered as I would hoped, I go right away to IRC and ask help there, eventually even pointing a link to LQ.org with the question and it almost always work :)

primo 04-10-2006 07:07 AM

Rather than expecting that a right interaction happen in every thread, it may be better to just accept the natural dynamics that arise with them. Many times you see newbies coming up with what they think it's the right answer... Whether they are 50% right or completely wrong, they will end up learning a bit more. Hopefully to pay attention to the original question too (the case with your debian post). So it'd be easier to further clarify your intentions.

vharishankar 04-10-2006 07:47 AM

But sometimes I prefer not to answer a question where I'm guessing. I've been overenthusiastic in the past as well and so I try to restrain myself and ask "Is this going to be useful?" before I post.

As I said before, not the slightest bit of offence intended or even elitism. But I thought that sometimes when a question is taken off the 0-replies list, it too often descends into obscurity without an answer...

It's more a question of forum dynamics as somebody pointed out, rather than claiming to be knowledgeable or otherwise... and I don't claim to be even an intermediate level user... I am still very much a beginner in many aspects of Linux.

abisko00 04-10-2006 08:15 AM

I completely agree with you here.

However there is one situation where I try to reply, even if I don't know an elaborate answer. That is when a thread has been bumped the second time. As far as I understood, the thread will not be bumped again and therefore gradually shift down in the list. I think in such a case even a vague answer could be helpful.

Maybe this belongs to "Suggestions", but if one could identify the number of automatic bumps, one could try to give at least some directions before the thread disappears unanswered.

primo 04-10-2006 09:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Harishankar
But sometimes I prefer not to answer a question where I'm guessing. I've been overenthusiastic in the past as well and so I try to restrain myself and ask "Is this going to be useful?" before I post.

It's precisely what happens to many when they are beginning... We do not only learn computer related stuff in here. We learn how to express our needs and ideas by some use of precision in natural language, and a bit about ourselves: our true intentions, our current understanding, etc... It's of no use to spare it to newcomers.


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