Making the most of this mailing list.

Mark C. Miller mr.mcmiller at
Fri Jan 8 00:55:14 UTC 2010

On Wed, 06 Jan 2010 09:02:31 -0500, Elizabeth Krumbach wrote:

> On Wed, Jan 6, 2010 at 6:58 AM, Amedee Van Gasse (ub)
> <amedee-ubuntu at> wrote:
>> "How To Ask Questions The Smart Way"
>> by Eric Steven Raymond (ESR) and Rick Moen
> This link was brought up during the community roundtable at UDS back in
> November. It does have it's merit, but I'm actually not a huge fan. It
> tends to be pretty strict and the framing of saying how to ask *smart*
> questions makes the assumption that people who aren't asking them that
> way are asking *dumb* questions. This isn't really the case and we don't
> want people to be afraid to ask questions for fear they are "dumb" the
> goal here is to teach folks how to ask "Better" questions :)
> There is a useful community-maintained document that boils down and
> gives examples to several what P Echols' original mail discusses:
> Cheers.

I'm one of the users who frequently asks dumb questions,  The answers are 
out there someplace, but my google searches usually don't return anything 
meaningful because I don't know the right search terms.  It never takes 
long for someone to recognize the terms I need to use and even provide 
the link to the web page with the information I'm looking for.  The last 
couple have had three and four boolean operators in the search.  No way I 
could have put together that complete/complex of a search string.

I've found the list to be a welcoming place, albeit with enough jargon to 
make life interesting.  I didn't know, for example, that when someone 
talked about "kill files" it was the same thing as mail filters.  I had 
no idea where the bit bucket was kept.  I try for the most part to sit 
back, read, and get smarter and try to do my own search before I ask the 
question to the group.  That may not be the right way, but it sure has 
worked.  Information provided here equals the guys at tech support and 
exceeds the Geek-Squad by an order of magnitude.

And I try to be "team player" by providing what experience I have that 
may be useful.  When it's wrong, the power users are quick to catch it, 
correct it and not make me feel bad in the process.

I don't think you could ask for much more from a list.


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