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View Full Version : Discussion: How to Ask Questions the Smart Way, and How To Become a Hacker



Chilling_Silence
09-06-2004, 03:33 PM
Greetings,

During my Travels across the WorldWideWeb, I came across these two interesting pages:
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way (http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html)
How To Become A Hacker (http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html)

Just thought these may be of interest to some people, probably n00b's asking questions and not getting much answers.

Anybody have any thoughts on the two pages?


Chill.

yingxuan
09-06-2004, 03:41 PM
how to ask questions smart.Might actually help my grammar.!!!

Still reading through it.Its a long long page !!!

yingxuan
09-06-2004, 03:43 PM
Some of the things in there are a quite useful.lol.!!

Billy T
09-06-2004, 05:38 PM
I have to say Chill, that posting or preferably linking "how to ask questions etc" on PF1 as an FAQ would be a very good idea.

It is well written, considered and moderate in its language (with the exception of a couple of F's) and a very useful guide to help users from noobs to experts get the best out of the Forum.

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :|

Growly
09-06-2004, 05:54 PM
Interesting, I follow their advice and never get help....

Ok well mostly....

parry
09-06-2004, 07:06 PM
While good in theory that web page in the first link is not very well constructed as...

a) A newbie is not going to read anything that long
b) The tone is not particulary nice and has arrogant undertones given some comments like their questions not to ask and the likely reply you will get.

Murray P
09-06-2004, 07:31 PM
LOL Chill. Nice one.

I had similar thoughtd to Billy while reading it, would require the authors permission to post it though. Might need a bit of editing, not the F's but just to bring it in to line for a more general forum and average attention spans.

Reading the some of the sections brought to mind some of our more robust members :) RTFM & STFW induced a smile in particular..hmm, where did I see that last... good advice anyway.

As usual I ended up on a link trail. Great.

Cheers Murray P

mikebartnz
09-06-2004, 09:11 PM
Good article Chill.

whetu
10-06-2004, 12:16 AM
Hey Billy,
How to Ask Questions has been stickied in OCNZ for yonks and has had marginal success.
http://forums.overclockers.co.nz/showthread.php?s=&threadid=793

Most of the time when someone asks a stupid question, they're forwarded to that thread, but they simply reply with something nonsensical like "huh? I dont get dat thread lol ^_^ jst answa my qn lolgraarrrgel@!!!"

*sigh*

The problem is the people who EXPECT to have their hand held and EXPECT answers to be given. Seeing as I do work in customer support on a corporate level, I can say it's surprisingly nice to field a call where the user says "my name is x, the problem I'm having is y, I have tried z"

Bit of a change from the ones who scream and whinge and demand that their problem be fixed right now!

I agree completely with the mentality of How to ask questions the smart way, and dont see it as arrogant at all.

whiskeytangofoxtrot
10-06-2004, 12:23 AM
> The problem is the people who EXPECT to have their
> hand held and EXPECT answers to be given. Seeing as
> I do work in customer support on a corporate level, I
> can say it's surprisingly nice to field a call where
> the user says "my name is x, the problem I'm having
> is y, I have tried z"

Whereas the correct script for those calls are.

"I've broken x, it's your fault, I didn't do z, honest, I didn't, and what's your name so I can continually ask for and harass you till you've fixed my failure?"

metla
10-06-2004, 12:59 AM
or.....

customer-This computer you sold me is no good.
Me-Aye?,tell me whats its doing and ill get it sorted.
Customer-Its no good,broken
Me-Broken?does it turn on?
Customer-Yes,but it won't play games.
Me-you mean the card games?
Customer-Yes,i start the games and and nothing happens but i hear all sorts of clicking like the computers about to die.
Me-Ok,no worries,ill call around in half an hour.
Customer-Our freind whose an expert said it couldn't be fixed and he is wiping the harddrive and reloading windows.
Me-NO NO NO,Do not do that,get him away from the computer.
Customer-well he said nothing can be done and he would back everything up.
Me-Wipe the computer and your on your own,that system is currently set up will all the windows patches,an anti-virus program,and all the required secrity programs needed,not to mention all the other setting up that i done.

Jump in wagon and race around to discover...

The card game had been dragged down below the taskbar,right click> restore and bingo,shes full screen again,the clicking that the customer could hear that they were certain was the computer about to blow up was the cards being dealt out.

whetu
10-06-2004, 01:05 AM
yep, pretty much lol

or the ones who exaggerate their problem:
"this problem is EXTREMELY urgent, I DEMAND THAT THIS IS FIXED NOW!"
"ok maam, what's your surname?" (we require info for logging)
"I WANT THIS FIXED NOW! PRESS THE BUTTON TO FIX THIS OR I'M TAKING MY BUSINESS ELSEWHERE!!!"
"maam, please calm down. what's the problem?"
"MY PRINTER ISNT WORKING! I DEMAND THAT THIS IS FIXED OR ELSE!!!!"
"ok maam, we'll just ask you some standard questions. Is the printer on?"
*silence*
"maam?"
*silence. well apart from the sound of a button being pressed and the distinct sound of a laserjet warming up*
"... well.. would you look at that! it's printing all of a sudden"
"maam, can I put you on hold for a second?"
"sure"
*put caller on hold, leave the office, go to the toilet and scream out all my rage in front of bemused coworkers before returning to finish the call*

yes.. it does get that bad :(

Or the ones we really love are the ones who call between 4.30 and 5.00pm on a friday with a severe problem they've known about for most of the day at least, and they demand that it is fixed immediately so the weekend staff can do their work. Then they get cranky when informed that the resolve would be dealt with after hours so that will be a 3 digit callout fee, then 3 digits per hour with minimum 3 hour fee.

*sigh*

kiki
10-06-2004, 01:27 AM
> The card game had been dragged down below the taskbar,right click> restore and bingo,shes full screen again,the clicking that the customer could hear that they were certain was the computer about to blow up was the cards being dealt out.

:^O :^O Oh thats hilarious :^O Poor Metla...

mikebartnz
10-06-2004, 11:58 AM
>has arrogant undertones
I don't believe so. There are many post I don't even look at because someone has not taken the time to use a meaningful subject line. Someone putting just Help in the subject line is very unlikely to get any help from me. My sister years ago would never press the F1 key to bring up the help file and would come straight to me which drove me mad and I'm sure because of that attitude she took far longer to learn than necessary.

Chilling_Silence
10-06-2004, 06:21 PM
Im with Mike,

I will specifically avoid a Thread with the subject line "Urgent Help Needed". They cant even bother spending a few seconds to summarize their problem, so why should I bother.

There's little reward in what people here do, aside from the occasional prize, a kind word of thanks is all you get when the people remember.

If somebody were to write "Urgent: Ive fried my MBR and need to get into Windows", then I'll go check it out.

The whole thing may not be applicable, but it certainly gives users a kick in the right direction for what to expect IMO.

Murray P
10-06-2004, 06:33 PM
BOFH (http://members.iinet.net.au/~bofh/). I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with the acronym BOFH. If not have a read up, pure poetry, some of it.

Cheers Murray P

J ZEP
10-06-2004, 10:35 PM
Nice links Chill ;-).

>>>Metla & Whetu :^O, loved your stories or should i say ''experiences" ;-), gotta agree with kiki, thats hilarious, LMAO :^O :-)