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Thread: Google and RTFM already!

  1. #41
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    It seems to me there are certain basic things that all Linux users need to learn, but I don't know of any central location where they are taught.

    The first of these is to read logs. I've seen countless questions about problems, particularly server problems, where the poster has obviously never thought to consult the relevant logs. Yes, Linux has many logs and learning about them takes time and effort. But I don't have a lot of sympathy for would-be server administrators who don't look in /var/log for hints about a problem before posting here.

    A useful technique that seems untaught is submitting error texts to search engines. When I see a program throw an error, I find searching for the error text often leads to the correct solution. Again this should be a prime tool in any administrator's arsenal.

    Another pet peeve concerns the fact that few users seem to consult the reams of existing Ubuntu documentation. Many questions have extensive pre-existing solutions described in the Ubuntu help documents, yet the questions get asked here again and again. I've wondered whether some "sticky" FAQ threads might help, but my general perception is that there are a lot of people who just post questions and never think to consult documentation. Oftentimes seemingly simple questions like how share an Internet connection with Ubuntu requires a fairly lengthy set of commands and edits to configuration files. Rather than repeat that array of material here, I usually just point the person to the relevant help document. If that's bad form, so be it.

    I've already expressed my opinion about rude posters who ask a question then vanish forever. In any given week I'll see half-a-dozen or more threads opened and then abandoned. Oftentimes the only response is mine. Dealing with such rudeness is tiresome to say the least.
    Last edited by SeijiSensei; August 21st, 2013 at 06:11 PM.
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  2. #42
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    well again there are bound to be people who want basic answers, sometimes they are not even aware of certain things.
    Some people just want to get from point a to point b, its just how it is.
    But telling people off is not the right approach

  3. #43
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    I rarely if ever "tell people off," but I do tell them to read logs and consult documentation. How else can one deal with questions like "I need to set up a mail server, but I don't know where to begin?" I could tell them that if they don't know where to begin they shouldn't be trying to set up a mail server. That's usually how I feel, but I still point them to documentation and hope they'll read it. However I'm not about to provide step-by-step instructions on a complex task like that when others have invested the effort in writing relevant documentation already.

    I started building servers in 1994 when documentation for Linux was scant to nonexistent. I bought books and read them, tried things out for myself, made mistakes, read some more, and tried again. I think that should be the norm, not the exception. If all you want to do is "get from point A to point B," Linux may not be the best platform for you.
    Last edited by SeijiSensei; August 21st, 2013 at 06:19 PM.
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  4. #44
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Feedback is entirely optional, if I get frustrated with a user, I just move on.. plenty of fish.

    So far as RTFM, that's the phrase I hear most when someone is trying to pretend they are super hardcore uber-techs but yet do not have the (or any) answer.

    (Honestly when is the last time a manual actually helped you? Man-pages, sure, but that still isn't a 'manual' per se.)

    I would also much rather see 'duck-duck go it' lol.. sometimes there is no nice way to say "You will need to obtain ____ in an internet search". Here at UF the only time I've seen someone infracted for 'Google it' is when that is their only answer. >.<
    clear && echo paste url and press enter; read paste; (youtube-dl $paste) | zenity --progress --title="" --text "Downloading, please wait" --auto-close --pulsate && ans=$(zenity --file-selection); gnome-terminal -x mplayer "$ans"

  5. #45
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    I agree with most of what OP is writing. There's a big difference between a poster who searches actively for an answer but doesn't understand it (and hence needs further help) and someone who posts just because he is lazy.

    A bad derivative of the 'internet speed' feeling is that people lose patience. If one sits down five minutes and explains the problem aloud to the teddy bear, surprisingly often the solution (or at least some good search terms) appears by itself.

    Posting a very broad and/or badly researched question is not respectful to the people who volunteer to help. It's not about lack of knowledge/experience, it's about attitude.

    I wouldn't point people to the man pages, though. They are a collection of facts, but people don't learn from facts alone. Most of us would object if our kids were only presented to undigested facts in a lesson in elementary school, but we would be happy if the school taught the kids to search for and apply solutions in an independent way.
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  6. #46
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
    I rarely if ever "tell people off," but I do tell them to read logs and consult documentation. How else can one deal with questions like "I need to set up a mail server, but I don't know where to begin?" I could tell them that if they don't know where to begin they shouldn't be trying to set up a mail server. That's usually how I feel, but I still point them to documentation and hope they'll read it. However I'm not about to provide step-by-step instructions on a complex task like that when others have invested the effort in writing relevant documentation already.

    I started building servers in 1994 when documentation for Linux was scant to nonexistent. I bought books and read them, tried things out for myself, made mistakes, read some more, and tried again. I think that should be the norm, not the exception. If all you want to do is "get from point A to point B," Linux may not be the best platform for you.
    Yeah but again this is supposed to be a help and support forum, so its bound to happen.
    Again this whole RTFM attitude does bother me as an end user.
    I am not a developer or programmer so my feelings on the matter are bound to be different.

  7. #47
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
    How to ask a "good question":http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html is also an important skill. I bet fewer than 1% will bother clicking that link.
    I've clicked it, and I don't like that link at all. Here's my response from six years ago: Getting the Best Help on Linux Forums

  8. #48
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
    How else can one deal with questions like "I need to set up a mail server, but I don't know where to begin?" I could tell them that if they don't know where to begin they shouldn't be trying to set up a mail server.
    Done that on a Debian Squeeze box after a ton of googling and finding a decent howto for what I wanted to do. Too bad to approach pretty much hosed itself when I tried to upgrade that box to Wheezy and Dovecot moved from dovecot 1 to dovecot 2 and blew up in my face.

    It took a while to even find a good howto for the new version of dovecot because the conf files were all split up instead of having the configuration stuff sitting in dovecot.conf.

    RTFM didn't help at all - most of the instructions of the dovecot wiki looked to be over my head, but I eventually found a good howto over at Linode, and used it to set up my server.

    As I said before persistence pays off.
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  9. #49
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesA View Post
    I eventually found a good howto over at Linode, and used it to set up my server.
    [Disclaimer: I'm a happy Linode customer.]

    I think the Linode how-tos are some of the best available. One of the reasons I like them as a VM provider is their commitment to openness. They also have excellent, well-informed customer service personnel.
    If you ask for help, please have the courtesy to check for responses and thank the people who helped you.

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  10. #50
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    Re: Google and RTFM already!

    Quote Originally Posted by Buntu Bunny View Post
    Good point. It's frustrating to be given a solution which you've stated you've already tried. You think, why bother to explain all that, just ask the question.



    The relavant ads are one thing, but the searches are saved and can be turned over to any legal authority who requests them. See DoNotTrack.
    I know that, hence install google-disconnect and do not track me. I have Duck Duck Go on my Debian install, but it seems that it misses many things which I can find easily on google.

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