Monday, July 22, 2013

Please just STFU!

Maybe it's just me getting old but I miss the "good old days" of the Internet, where you could ask a question (or search) online and you'd get an answer or volunteers to help figure it out. Seeing as how I've been on the Internet in some or or other since the 80's (yeah, I'm an old fart), it's probably my age.

That being said, a long-running trend I've noticed is the tendency to respond to questions without actually answering them. Responses tend to fall into one of a stereotypical category. Example: while researching the implementation of dynamic DNS servers, I came across a mailing list thread that irked me a bit. The answers in the thread fell into one of a number of categories:

  • The nonspecific answer: set up a server and write a script.

  • The LMGTFY answer: search Google for it.

  • The fake offer of help: I'd help but I'm too busy.

  • The not answering the question answer: Responding to a response instead of the initial question (start a new thread, dammit!).

  • The "didn't understand the question" answer: Missed it by that much.

  • The cut and paste expert's answer: Someone attempting to make themselves knowledgeable via blatant plagarism.

  • The actual answer: It is usually: 1) the shortest response, 2) the last response, and 3) posted months or years after the initial question was asked.

Please! If you're not answering the question, you're just adding to the background noise. And, yeah, above is the reason that I vote down answers in ServerFault, StackOverflow, and SuperUser.

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