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On Thu, Nov 25, 2010 at 3:54 PM, Robert Holtzman <> wrote:
On Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 04:44:42PM -0500, Marc Par� wrote:
Le 2010-11-24 16:20, Robert Holtzman a écrit :

The best and most practical way is to help them out. The bottom line
is that we would like every type of individuals to use our office
suite and to be happy with it. I have yet to be on one "help" list
or help forum where this question has not been asked and the best
approach has always been to be courteous and help out. It always
leave the user grateful and satisfied.

One of the best ways to help them out would be to (gently, if that makes
you feel better) instruct them that it is customary to do a modicum of
research and try what's found before posting a question to a list. Also,
the post should include the standard information, s/w version, OS, etc.
If you have been participating in mail lists for very long, I'm
surprised you don't recommend this yourself.

Let's not assume that they can't/refuse"won't make an effort to
learn and just help them out. After all, they are here for help.

If there are too many of these individuals on our help lists, then I
would say that our help list has internal problems that need to be
addressed. This would be more of our problem than theirs.

This might be true if the contributors to the list were paid employees
or if the posters were paying for help. In that case pandering to lazy
users with an infuriating sense of entitlement might be excused because
one does not piss off a paying customer. The truth is, however, that the
contributors are unpaid volunteers who hang here from altruistic
motives and as such are entitled to the respect of not having their time
wasted trying to guess the problem from incomplete questions.

I have no problem guiding someone who needs to learn how to ask
questions. Somewhere I've got that page bookmarked
( and refer people
to it occasionally. I too am put off by people who feel entitled to
immediate help and abuse the knowledgeable mailing list contributors.
In a similar way, it is a turn off to hear some arrogant blather from
one of the knowledgeable contributors who insists that everyone
interact with the list in a particular way. Both are inconsiderate.

Following this thread, I recall no one saying that the knowledgeable
contributors are not entitled to respect. They also don't need to
waste their time guessing problems. It is a simple matter of someone
replying to the message, respectfully pointing out the need for
complete information. There is no need to belittle people or beat them
up because they don't use CLI.

This may have little to do with installation instructions but it
addresses the flavor I'm getting from some of the messages that *all*
users should be catered to and the clueless ones not be guided into the
right way to ask questions but be tolerated and spoon fed. I have
nothing against clueless users. That's how everyone starts out but, I
remember being guided (sometimes not so gently) in how to ask questions.
I'm not advocating *all* noobs become proficient sysadmins but running a
few simple searches and trying a few things is a far cry from that.

As far as I'm concerned there is too much of what I call the servant
mentality on this list. I don't find nearly as much on any of the other
lists I'm involved with, including the ubuntu-users and firefox-support
lists which get their share of newly minted users who barely know how to
turn their computer on.

Feel free to disagree with me but that's my take on these things.

Bob Holtzman

I do not recall any recommendation that noobs shouldn't be guided to
be effective in their queries. F/OSS forums and mailing lists function
amazingly well, and mailing list/forum etiquette is common across most
of the ones I know about.  I too started as a dummy (well, more of a
dummy). I couldn't figure out why there was no reply to my question
about lspci-v (no space). It took me several days to figure out the
format of CLI commands. No one beat the crap out of me; there was just
no answer. It took me several days to understand why. It was a
respectful lesson about Linux.

Considering that Ubuntu/Kubuntu users have been singled out in this
   The first post in ubuntuforums is:
      [sticky] Suggestions on how to get your support questions
answered as quickly as possible
   and in kubuntuforums: Please Read Before Posting/Search before
posting (also sticky)
It might be useful to point those ()ubuntu or other naive users to
these posts.

I see nothing wrong with guiding a new user with a few direct words
about community software and a link to ESR's smart question site
(maybe there could be a LibO "Read This First"). That's not
disrespectful. If someone is a jerk who thinks that they are entitled
to an immediate answer from well-meaning volunteers, it's not the LibO
forum or mailing list's issue to get them straightened out on the
honey and vinegar equation. Some jerks are committed to being jerks. I
personally don't have much use for them, but I still may answer their
query if it adds value for the community at large.


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