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Thread: Google and RTFM already!

  1. #21
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
    The man pages ($ man man ) are completely awesome.
    I disagree, I think they're almost uniformly awful. Most are badly written, too long, don't structure their information well, they're limited to text only, and are basically a relic of the dark ages. Part of the problem is that many programmers don't write that lucidly, and produce documents that are difficult to read. Or they just see writing documentation as a distasteful chore or and afterthought, and don't put much effort in.

    Google yes, but man pages should be avoided like the plague. The only thing I ever find them useful for is if I need to use the command line and have to look up a switch.

    There are better ways to store and structure information these days, such as wikis and Q&A sites like askubuntu.com.

  2. #22
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paqman View Post
    The only thing I ever find them useful for is if I need to use the command line and have to look up a switch.
    I do like man pages, but that is just me. I combine man pages and web searches to find solutions when the exact error is known. I sometimes use the man pages directly from the terminal, just to confirm something or prefer web sites if I need a global or more thorough lookout, for ex :
    http://linux.die.net/man/

    I understand people do not feel comfortable with man pages, or even cannot make much out of it. The documentation is raw and not brushed up, but that is not what it is made for. It is an extended collection of all the ingredients, with very few usable recipes. So directing people to the man page, and only doing that, is a dead end. Using the man page to explain something can be educational. TBH, maybe I know 2-3 commands, at most
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  3. #23
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paqman View Post
    ...
    There are better ways to store and structure information these days, such as wikis and Q&A sites like askubuntu.com.
    And the tutorials here. So there's potential triplication of labor.
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  4. #24
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    Arrow Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by aysiu View Post
    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.
    .
    This is definately true. Telling a noob to rtfm is one of the worse things you can do. It's dismissive and arragont.
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  5. #25
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by Linuxratty View Post
    This is definately true. Telling a noob to rtfm is one of the worse things you can do. It's dismissive and arragont.
    Indeed. There's a lot to be said for teaching self-sufficiency, but to suggest that "do it yourself" is always the right response shows a lack of nuance IMO. The trouble is that there's a big difference between having knowledge, and being able to impart knowledge. Teaching is a skill, just because you have the technical knowhow doesn't mean you'll be an effective teacher.

  6. #26
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    I think we manage to strike a fairly good balance here, compared to other places like the Arch forums where new members get told in no uncertain terms to RTFM if they don't post a well thought out question along with all of the supporting information (logs, software versions, steps taken and research done etc).

    Ubuntu is pushed as a beginners distro after all, and someone completely new to Linux isn't going to find much help in a man page if they don't understand any of the technical language or underlying concepts.

    PS - I have nothing against the Arch forums (I'm a user myself) they are just aimed at a different user base.
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  7. #27
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by aysiu View Post
    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.
    +1 to that. i always search for an answer on the web before asking on the forum. to make sense of the manpages you have to be fairly well advanced, and i'll never get there unless i ask some pretty dumb questions on the forum from time to time.
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  8. #28
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by Linuxratty View Post
    This is definately true. Telling a noob to rtfm is one of the worse things you can do. It's dismissive and arragont.
    That.

  9. #29
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paqman View Post
    I disagree, I think they're almost uniformly awful. Most are badly written, too long, don't structure their information well, they're limited to text only, and are basically a relic of the dark ages. Part of the problem is that many programmers don't write that lucidly, and produce documents that are difficult to read. Or they just see writing documentation as a distasteful chore or and afterthought, and don't put much effort in.
    Quote Originally Posted by Paqman View Post
    Google yes, but man pages should be avoided like the plague. The only thing I ever find them useful for is if I need to use the command line and have to look up a switch.
    Quote Originally Posted by Paqman View Post
    There are better ways to store and structure information these days, such as wikis and Q&A sites like askubuntu.com.
    Thanks for all the replies folks.

    a) I don't think every question has an answer through man pages or google. They don't, but the non-noob **should** have looked before posting here. That is the point.

    b) I disagree that man pages are not great. Sure, sometimes they suck, but you'd only know that IF YOU READ IT FIRST. Perhaps 10% suck, 80% are good, and 10% are fantastic. For 30+ yrs, man pages were used to convey information about how a tool works. There is a common layout, common sections, usually clear functionality description for each option. I took me a few weeks of struggle to see this and appreciate it. In the old days, they had "example" sections too - too many people were select/pasting those and bad things happened. I also enjoyed the jokes.

    c) Search engines are good at finding different things. When I search, and I've tried 15 different engines over the years including those listed here, I'd like something good at finding Linux solutions. That is google, not DDG, not Yahoo, not Bing ... sorry, but that's the way the world works. I'm not a google fan either. They are evil and don't even realize it, but there is a point where no other search tool works, so why waste time?

    d) We all have different ways of working. I seldom use GUI programs except for email and surfing. To me a GUI is just a great way to get more xterms (yes, I use xterms). Linux servers don't have a GUI. Can't remember the last time I saw nautilus or pcmanfm or any other GUI file manager. Just don't use them. I'm a shell guy and unbelievably inefficient to do most file management using a GUI. Plus, giving instructions with shell commands is much more succinct than attaching screen shots and text. That is a failed model, IMHO, one of the reasons I don't use Windows or OSX unless absolutely forced.

    e) If you look at my answers, you'll see that I avoid GUI specific questions. I know my limitations. Plus, I don't run a normal Ubuntu setup at all, so my answers probably wouldn't help too many people. I know my profile says I use Lubuntu - that isn't true, but it is LXDE mostly.

    f) Sometimes I misunderstand the original question. That's life. Paid support might get better answers, but not IME.

    g) If you look at the times I've asked questions, you'll generally see that nobody can/has answered. I assumed they were too specialized. There is a fine line to asking a good question. Enough information, but not too much to snuff new ideas. 99% of my questions have already been answered and those answers are found before I post.

    I'm also tired of telling non-noobs to look inside the log files. If people read the man pages, they'd likely know about log files and know to look inside for errors and warning.

    Anyone else tired of answering the same questions over and over and over and over? The same links, the same information is in the prior [SOLVED] posts. Google finds them.

    If you aren't using the shell and aren't reading the man pages, I think you are missing over 90% of what Linux can accomplish. I'm completely serious here. Automation via scripting rocks completely.

    It is good reading that others have the same frustrations before posting here.
    Last edited by TheFu; August 21st, 2013 at 01:16 PM. Reason: log files and same questions

  10. #30
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Web searching for an answer to a problem, does more than often, require a bit of knowledge on what exactly to search for and of course to interpret the results, good from bad.

    Some results can also point to old outdated info especially some wiki's and how to's.

    I'd prefer a beginner to post in ABS before following some tut and screwing there system up even more.

    I do wish some though would search the forums before posting!

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