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Simon Bridge 05-03-2005 03:52 AM

Can/should we encourage newbies to reveal their distro?
Am I the only one (past experience suggests: yes) who is finding the latest fund of newbies seem to universally eschew editing their profile to include their distro? Many times someone expects me to guess which distro they are running or which version.

Showing where they are could be a help too - location: east of the moon - is cute for about 48 hours, but it helps to know that the noob is from Beijing or Madrid. And anyone somewhere close to me may find they get a phone call as well :)

Would it be considered too stroppy if I just appended a short dissertation about editing the profile to newbies who havn't? What do people think? Does anybody actually care?

I bring this up because the posts affect the quality of the board and the kind of responces... and the kind of people who hang out. Perhaps some sort of advances messaging tutorial would be welcome - I'd write one if anyone thinks it'll be read?

If this sounds somewhat ranty, I've just been going through the zero-replies, I have read folk with no profile in the sidebar explaining they have "linux 8" or "debian 2.4.22" or just "linux on the C drive". This, on top of subject lines like: "Some help with ubuntu please" tends to leave me a bit exasperated.

OK. So I'm asking for this by going through the zero replies file. I mean, there's a reason they've not got any reply right? So I can't expect a lot of sympathy. The only reason I do this is I'm paying forward from all the help I received as a newbie and the patience and persistence of some of the members here. Thanks guys. (Yes - I've been using the afferos.)

So, anyway -

I'm interested is helping the newcomer get better at posting. Any suggestions of anything needed, added, improved. Maybe there is a tutorial that hascaused confusion or which misses many things? Maybe a howto that is hard to find? Maybe I should just shut the uckfay upfay!

manhinli 05-03-2005 04:15 AM

I do agree with you but in some cases, Newbies might just want to leave the Distro blank because they might not want to stick to one distro for a long time or just want to ask problems that another person has etc.

Although it really helps if people do, there might be other issues to think about.


floppywhopper 05-03-2005 06:32 AM

I think at least 'country' should be mandatory, it would help when someone asks, where can I get ....


theYinYeti 05-03-2005 06:44 AM

I agree. It's just unbelievable the number of people, that want advice for a magazine, or ISP, or web hosting, or shop, and don't tell where they live in the world!


syg00 05-03-2005 07:03 AM

Guess I'm a little more "bloody minded".
If people seeking help don't provide sufficient info, their posts get ignored (by me, that is).

I don't get exasperated, I have better things to do with my time.

And yes, I'm happy to be treated likewise if I am as guilty in being bereft of detail.

oneandoneis2 05-03-2005 07:50 AM

Well, in fairness, if they post in Distros > Suse, I don't think we can complain that they haven't said what distro they're using :)

But for the rest, yeah, I have problems with not knowing enough about their circumstaces too. . .

jeremy 05-03-2005 08:23 AM

I agree - the distro and location fields are extremely useful. We won't be making them required however as I'd prefer to leave the choice up to each individual member. If you're helping a member in a thread and their distro is blank, you may want to mention why it's desirable that they fill it in.


XavierP 05-03-2005 12:17 PM

Putting in the country and distro is helpful in at least 2 ways:
1. the poster doesn't have to answer the question "which distro are you using" every single time they start a thread - fill it out once (and update when necessary) and the info is there for all to see.
2. the country allows us to tailor our answers: the question "which isp will be most helpful towards my linux needs?" is very location specific and having the info cuts out on answers which are not helpful.

I would encourage all of us to encourage (politely) people without the info in their profile to complete the sections.

Simon Bridge 05-04-2005 04:11 AM

Thanks for the responce guys, suggests I'm not just getting cranky in my O.L.D. age.

syg00: just egnoring them may get the message across - but it also leads to a long zero-replies list. The posters don't know why they're not getting feedback and become disgruntled with the whole "Linux Community" thing and newcomers could very well think the place unhelpful from the statistic: "Gee - 2048 with 0 replies - nobody here cares..."

Admittedly I did the same for a while. However, we have recently been enthusiastically encouraged to reduce the zero-reply count.

Jeremy and XavierP: thanks for the encouragement. I've forgotten what the registration sequence is: did the user CP page show during that?

The basic reasons for each field seem pretty small, perhaps it would help if the reason could be stuck under each feild as encouragement?

Raafi 05-04-2005 10:42 AM

everyone has different reasons for posting, just as they have different reasons for using linux

for me, i didnt know country had anything to do with it, i will check my profile and make sure i have New Jersey listed

anyone seriously asking a question should at least post their distro, maybe you guys should go thru the zero posts, and post some type of default message explaining why would help

i am new to the linux community, and sometimes i see zero replies, and wonder why

then i look at some guy who asked about incredimail and wonder how he got5 or ten replies

minrich 05-05-2005 02:00 AM


I get the daily 0 replies email, (at 06:03 Greenwich mean(ing) time) and I too was bemused by the 'incredimail' poster who was trying to install it on Windows XP Pro. I then looked up his other thread to which Simon Bridge had responded and I made a somewhat fatuous comment before remembering:

If you type in Firefox .... you end up right here at LQ.

Perhaps Jeremy you could decide if this is trackable - or somehow re-route(able) so that such 'lost souls' go to a page here that explains what LQ is all about. Or is this a sneaky way of boosting membership? </sarcasm>


Simon Bridge 05-05-2005 05:45 AM

Ahah yes ... I see that's going to haunt me for a while yet. That "other" post was edited out to a comment of "I solved it" and I responded by explaining why that's bad manners. (I was kinda wondering what DVD RAM was...) I didn't check for other posts since I'd only come across this guy once. He seems an innocent, if hard of reading, soul - gives us another anecdote about the intellegence of windows users perhaps... ar is it just laziness.

This is another think of course - a good many newbies have just come from windows and are having slight withdrawal symptoms. This lack of attention to detail seems to be common. Folk coming off other OS's seem not to suffer so. I think many new posters just have to break the odd bad habit like the rest of us :) so we shouldn't get too annoyed with them.

titanium_geek 05-08-2005 05:28 PM

ah- new jersey... where's that? not as obvious as georgia - (the person thinks, the state, or the eastern european exsoviet country?) I guess it's pretty much universal to USA'ens to have that - uh- blindspot when it comes to country/state. Looked into it a bit more in detail - seems it has something to do with the way the country was started.

next thought: people freak out about giving out information online, it's drilled into them by most of us. However, specifics aren't required - it'd be pretty hard to find 'smoky899' who lives in the US/UK/AUS/etc.

Even continents would help.


(good post! it's bugged me before aswell.)

Simon Bridge 05-08-2005 07:48 PM

I think people just like being anonymous.

I used to run a BBS. I had about 20 users, all would post to me (sysop) privately, and complain that there's nobody on the board. I kept telling them to post a public message: start a conversation, but nobody would.

The anonymous nature of the web seems to be something folk hold to themselves like a security blanket. But it goes a little too far sometimes. I say, if you want someone to open up to you, you gotta open up too - put yourself on the line. The old security dilemma right?

The only time I've been cagey about my identity is when I was debating religion, and I found someone chucked a rock through the window of a guy with the same name as me.


titanium_geek 05-09-2005 06:16 PM

how is revealing your distro revealing your real name and location for idiots to come look you up? (not a flame, I understand your point, this is a rhetorical question)

its not like revealing that your name John Joe Smith(08/04/78), son of Peter Smith and Wendy Someone, you go to Rivers HighSchool, and you live at 43 Popular street. oh and your social security number is xxxxx and your favourite colour is red.

a bit extreme I admit, but still, revealing your distro is a good thing. It reveals nothing about you, besides perhaps a teeny bit of your personality and distro of choice.

There are more people living in LA than in Australia. if you put down USA HOW is anyone going to track you down?

my point: newbies should be encouraged to fill out their profile.


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