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Thread: Google and RTFM already!

  1. #1
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    Google and RTFM already!

    Sorry, but I need to rant. This seems to be the place.

    I'm a LUG organizer and try to help answer a few questions on the Ubuntu Forums weekly as a way to give back to the F/LOSS community. Over the years, I've learned that helping beginning computer/Linux users is something that I should avoid. Even for family members, I'd get frustrated with their lack of understanding. I'm a bad person for a beginner to seek help from. I know this.

    However .... almost daily, I see non-beginners posting questions that are easily answered by 1 google search or just RTFM (which is a bad abbreviation here). I realize that RTFM https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTFM may be completely new to some people here and the letters might be removed from this initial post.

    When I was learning UNIX, my team members first answer was RTFM, only after I'd read and still couldn't understand something, they'd help. I had to "do my homework first" before wasting anyone elses' time. Those people taught me how to teach myself about Linux commands and tools. At the time, it was frustrating, but after a few weeks, I'd learned to read a man page and saw the fantastic information contained inside them. The only man pages that suck are those that point to some other form of information (like info) or don't exist. Even the Firefox man page has helpful options worth knowing.

    We've lost that skill and I think it is sad. I'm not against hand-holding noobs at all, but the first things we should teach are how to read the man pages and use google to find answers.

    The man pages ($ man man ) are completely awesome. Even after 20 yrs, I still learn new things from the ssh, sudo, and rsync man pages. Amazing tools, those are. I'm positive there are others. Heck, the bash man page is pretty great too and almost everyone uses bash these days.

    So, before asking questions .... please, please, please, please RTFM and show that you have done that **before** asking, unless you truly are an absolute beginner.
    When you do post a question, show that you've done _some_ homework, checked the log files and are struggling with the information before asking.

    Some of the forum moderators here are saints. After I've tried to help some folks for a week and they are still struggling, but refusing to read links provided by others and myself in the thread, it gets extremely frustrating to me. The moderators continue on, answering questions that should have been answered days ago by the reading.

    To non-native English speakers, I appreciate how difficult it is to ask a question here. I'm positive that I couldn't ask an intelligible question in any non-English language. Keep asking - if I can't figure out what you mean, I'll ask too. Before asking here, I know that you've googled and RTFM'd a bunch already.

    I'll try to see a real person on the other end of every post, smile as I'm responding, and be kind. I'll try.

    Ah ... I feel better now. Thanks for reading.

    Anyone else frustrated on either side (asking or answering)?
    Last edited by bapoumba; August 20th, 2013 at 08:45 PM. Reason: Edited fonts

  2. #2
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
    the first things we should teach are how to read the man pages and use google to find answers.
    I agree with what you're saying, except it doesn't have to be Google, necessarily. I like to suggest doing a "web search" instead saying something like "Google it."

  3. #3
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Tis the way of the New World Order, laziness, let others do the work for you, etc.

    As you stated, most refuse to even thoroughly examine links provided.

    Sorry, I refuse to use Google. Better to use DuckDuckGo IMHO.

    Foreign language IS NOT A GOOD EXCUSE, type in native language and use a Translator, too easy to get it correct these days. Hur gör du idag? (How are you doing today?)

    What exactly defines a non-beginner?

    If you need info while at work on a non-Ubuntu machine UBUNTU MAN PAGES.

  4. #4
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
    Sorry, but I need to rant. This seems to be the place.

    <snip...>
    Perhaps you need a break ?

  5. #5
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    I got chewed out once for not giving details of the research I had done previously on a question I was asking. I didn't because another time I got chewed out for giving too much detail about what I was asking.

    I don't know if this is the place to mention this, but I'm finding that more and more, my searches come up with less and less of what I'm looking for, even if I put quote marks around my search phrases to group words together. (Then I feel really stupid when I ask on the forums and somebody else pulls up the information at the top of their search.)

    Another problem is that manuals are not always up to date. I've got that problem right now.
    PopularPages, a useful index of the most frequently accessed pages in the Community Help Wiki.

    "Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers

  6. #6
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by Buntu Bunny View Post
    I don't know if this is the place to mention this, but I'm finding that more and more, my searches come up with less and less of what I'm looking for, even if I put quote marks around my search phrases to group words together. (Then I feel really stupid when I ask on the forums and somebody else pulls up the information at the top of their search.)
    I think google uses your search history to find what kind of stuff you are interest in to determine relevance
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  7. #7
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by pqwoerituytrueiwoq View Post
    I think google uses your search history to find what kind of stuff you are interest in to determine relevance
    Spot on. I love that feature.
    de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum -- Wiktionary

  8. #8
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    I'm new to the forums here and new to Ubuntu on the desktop (been using it for servers for a long time) and the few questions I have answered on here have all been from me just searching the web and posting up what I found but giving a little more in depth explanation than what the website had.

  9. #9
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    I've been using Ubuntu since 2005, so over 8 years now, and there are still a lot of man pages that make no sense to me. I'm glad the Ubuntu community existed to not tell me not to RTFM or Google the answers myself. Sometimes when you don't know what you're doing, you don't know the best Google search to find the answer or even the best answer among the search results.

    To the OP, I'm glad I never had to ask you a question. If someone asking you a question annoys you, don't answer that question. Just go on to the next one.

  10. #10
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by aysiu View Post
    To the OP, I'm glad I never had to ask you a question. If someone asking you a question annoys you, don't answer that question. Just go on to the next one.
    I agree with you there.

    I would say that it's not always about getting facts and technical specifications. Sometimes new Linux users are more into the world outside computers, and so a more personal answer where you have the possibility to guide the user in a more personal way than shouting on them to use Google or show irritation is just unprofessional! I would say that if you as a Ubuntu user on this forum feel too irritated, angry or pissed off for whatever reason? Think about if it isn't time to take a break? Because there's no boss over you to tell you to take that vacaction. I think it's possible to get the burned out syndrome over here, and it's a responsibility we all take on ourselves not to over work. Not getting enough credit for the job which is being done is also something that I think can contribute to that negative process, and it will affect the ability to give good support.

    Despite that I'm not using Ubuntu at home or at any workplace at the present, I can say that without a doubt that this Ubuntu forum has changed the world and I would say that these days it's easier than ever to get support on Linux and this is the best forum to get help (I think)! I would recommend to not stare too negatively on details like: that is not Ubuntu, then nothing is gonna work! I've been in such discussions and it rarely helps the user (of course there are exceptions). I think this Ubuntu forum contributes positively on all Linux distributions.
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