[Fwd: Re: Appropriateness of posts to this list (Was Re: evince crash)]

Scott Kitterman ubuntu at kitterman.com
Fri Dec 7 04:43:37 UTC 2007

On Thursday 06 December 2007 16:58, Richard A. Johnson wrote:

> Scott, I do have a problem with the document you linked to about asking
> smart questions. Most of the answers I have seen in there are stupid
> answers or stupid solutions. I was always raised with the idea that there
> isn't a such thing as a stupid question, and I believe that. Just because
> most of us know to Google this or that, or know how to find solutions, that
> doesn't mean that every Tom, Dick, and Harry does. I have a professor who
> has multiple degrees (Bachelors (couple of them), Masters (up there with
> those too), and PhDs), yet he asks his students for help researching
> information online because he isn't as savvy as some of the students, that
> doesn't make any of his questions stupid. I say burn that smart questions
> document, as it is obviously from the 90s with the "STFW" and "RTFM" type
> assessments. Its a miracle that the community has survived through all of
> that stuff and not driven more people away.

http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html is probably poorly titled.  
His definition of smart is questions that geeks will be interested in 
answering.  It's not about smart or stupid questions, but getting people 
excited about helping you (this gets back to the how do you motivate 
volunteers question).

Some people are good at hand holding new people through their initial baby 
steps with Linux (or anything).  Others are not.  

I still do user support on #ubuntu-server and the ubuntu-server ML and while I 
don't tell people to STFW or RTFM, I do tend to ignore questions that would 
require me to do some research unless:

1.  They are interesting to me.
2.  I have some hint that the asker has at least tried to solve the problem 
themself first.

I'm long past thinking I can or should try to solve everyone's problems in the 
world, so I pick and choose.  That document is about getting people to choose 
your question to answer.

Scott K

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