Monday, June 16, 2008
In the debate between who's behaving worse in online help forums-- idiot newbies or unhelpful know-it-alls, I have to weigh in on the side of defending the newbies.
One particularly annoying tactic from the know-it-alls in all of open source projects is to complain that someone is using up bandwidth in the forum to ask stupid questions. As if there were questions too stupid to be answered in THAT forum. The tactic involves telling the newbie the question is soooo stupid that they should instead go to google to find the answer. It hasn't happened to me directly lately, but I did see it happening in the blender forums to the poser of a question I would have asked myself. Then I found the coup de grace.
I was in dire straits with my Knoppix linux distribution. Yes, I did something very stupid, but I needed help quickly. So I turned to google. And what do you think was the number two hit on the page? Someone saying, "...why don't you go to google.com, and search about linux commands..." The irony is that through an attempt to search at google.com, I found the jerk's unhelpful words in the list of results at google itself! Look at item number two.
As I've said before, the unsociable behavior of linux enthusiasts is as much a barrier to adoption as any dirty trick of Microsoft.