[conspire] (forw) ASK

Paul Zander paulz at ieee.org
Thu Jun 3 12:17:54 PDT 2010

Is there a way to count the 99% of people who read the posting and possibly go on to ask smarter questions?


--- On Thu, 6/3/10, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:

From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
Subject: Re: [conspire] (forw) ASK
To: conspire at linuxmafia.com
Date: Thursday, June 3, 2010, 11:55 AM

Quoting Tony Godshall (tony at of.net):

> Wow.  How do these people find you?  You must be the top hit for some
> kind of really vague search query.

It's the thousands of technical and non-technical projects that hyperlink
from their help Web pages to ye olde "How to Ask Questions the Smart
Way" essay.

Unfortunately, the crowning irony about that essay is that it functions
as an idiot magnet for the two co-authors (me and Eric Raymond):  Out of
the untold number of people who stumble over that essay, the bottom 1%
are the ones who ignore all warnings to the contrary (including one
right _in_ the essay, near the top) and lob helpdesk questions for those
untold thousands of projects directly at the essay co-authors.

So, for years, I've been getting a blizzard of incoherent helpdesk
queries, where very often the querent doesn't even bother to say 
what product or service he/she is asking about.

I might as well laugh, though, because nothing else helps.  

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