[conspire] I get mail
einfeldt at earthlink.net
Fri Apr 29 17:07:29 PDT 2005
On Thursday 28 April 2005 17:45, Rick Moen wrote:
> Just doing a sanity check: Was I somehow being unreasonable?
No, except that I would simply have not replied. Your time is too
> I get huge amounts of personal mail from utter strangers -- like
> this guy -- who find my e-mail address as co-author of the essay
> "How to Ask Questions the Smart Way"
> (http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html) and want
> personal, free-of-charge help with their technical problems.
> This stuff hits me from all over the world, on average half a
> dozen or more a day, every day without end -- and the real irony
> is that our essay VERY clearly says to _not do that_. That's
> part of the POINT of the essay.
> (Some other mail comes because I'm author of the Linux User Group
> HOWTO for the Linux Documentation Project, but that's typically a
> lot more clueful.)
> Anyhow, I don't think I was the least bit unpleasant in my
> initial three-line reply (in the middle of a busy business day)
> that he's bitching about. And honestly, do _you_ just try to
> offload your technical problems to people you've never met,
> without explanation, without offer of payment, etc. -- and then
> act all offended when they're perplexed about why you're bugging
> [I didn't save his original mail, but most of it's quoted here:]
> From: Rick Moen
> Date: 28 April 2005 06:18:01
> To: delghuys at botsnet.bw
> Subject: Re: News servers
> Quoting [a guy]
> > I want to get access to Usenet, but my ISP don't give access to
> > newsgroups.
> > I searched Google for free news servers and it sent me to
> > NewsServers.net. There I got a list of free ones. However,
> > many of them are only test servers and a lot don't allow
> > posting. Is there any free news servers that you know of, that
> > you could recommend?
> First, I don't understand why you're asking this of _me_.
> Second, that sounds like the sort of question you should ask on
> Usenet itself, e.g., by posting via Google Groups. Sorry.
> Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2005 08:59:05 +0200 (South Africa Standard
> Time) X-Mailer: IncrediMail (2001184)
> From: [a guy]
> To: rick at linuxmafia.com
> Subject: Re: News servers
> Dear Rick
> Thanks for your reply and I apologize humbly for taking up some
> of your valuable time. I read your and Eric S. Raymond's document
> "How to ask smart questions", so I didn't expect the friendliest
> answer. I tried to state my question in the best possible way
> (I'm not God you know) but still you handled my e-mail as if it
> was a piece of rubbish.
> To answer your question: I asked you because you seem to be an
> expert in your field ("hackers run Usenet", if I could quote from
> one of Raymond's FAQ s). I enjoyed your article on how to run a
> successful Linux user group, so I thought that I might get a good
> answer from you. I'm disappointed in your rude way of handling my
> question, but I'm still interested in becoming a hacker. So,
> thank you for your time, I promise I'll take my questions
> elsewhere next time.
> Best of luck on your projects.
> Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2005 14:25:53 -0700
> From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
> To: [a guy]
> Subject: Re: News servers
> Quoting [a guy]:
> > Thanks for your reply and I apologize humbly for taking up some
> > of your valuable time.
> It's not a problem.
> > I read your and Eric S. Raymond's document "How to ask smart
> > questions", so I didn't expect the friendliest answer. I tried
> > to state my question in the best possible way (I'm not God you
> > know) but still you handled my e-mail as if it was a piece of
> > rubbish.
> Actually, I was trying to tell you where you should ask, to
> maximise your likelihood of getting a useful answer. As such, it
> was the best answer I could give you.
> > To answer your question: I asked you because you seem to be an
> > expert in your field ("hackers run Usenet", if I could quote
> > from one of Raymond's FAQs).
> Unfortunately, I _personally_ have no idea where to find
> free-of-charge news servers these days, but I'm sure the
> knowledge is accessible _on_ Usenet. Thus my suggestion that you
> ask a collection of people who would know, rather than one
> private individual who, as it turns out, doesn't.
> Additionally, the asking and answering of that question would
> benefit the community, in a way that asking in private e-mail
> doesn't. That point should have been clear from Eric's and my
> As a related point, I spend a _lot_ of time helping people on
> Usenet and in Linux user group mailing lists. I probably forego
> untold amounts of business income by doing so. Each time I help
> someone there, I also indirectly help a hundred _other_ people
> who either read the thread and find it relevant to their
> situations, or find the thread after the fact during Google or
> Google Groups searches.
> Whereas, this discussion accomplishes none of that, and mostly
> just chews up your and my time, going over matters that _were_
> more than adequately covered in my and Eric's essay.
> So, please ask in an appropriate forum. I'm sure you're a nice
> guy and I would enjoy your company, but you're defeating your own
> aim and now compounding your original error by making matters
> worse. Wouldn't you really rather go to people who _can_ help,
> and stop wasting your and my time trying to convince yourself and
> me that you've been mistreated?
> And, by the way, speaking of courtesy, it _is_ friggin' rude to
> suddenly write to a complete and utter stranger, without even one
> word of explanation, asking that stranger in private to solve
> your personal problem without recompense.
> I didn't mention that the first time, specifically because I was
> being _cordial_.
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