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"You won't find an answer here"

Posted 11-11-2007 at 10:30 AM by Doug Nelson
Tags rant

This is probably my biggest forum peeve, and I have many, very large peeves, so that's not to be taken lightly.

Someone will post an earnest question, and the response they get will be "you probably won't find an answer here, but go to XXX forum and they'll help you out".

Bloody hell!

How in the world are we ever expected to improve as a resource if we keep sending away the very people asking us for help? The idea is to a) help them, but also b) to encourage them to return. This is how you build a community. At least, this is how to build THIS community, as opposed to building the community "somewhere else".

But what to do if you don't know the answer to their question? Well, if you're one of the ones that recommends they go elsewhere, show some initiative and invite someone from "elsewhere" here to help with their question.

Or do what I do and put in some research to find the answer. You have no idea how much this can help your own skill set.

Telling them to just turn around and leave doesn't help anyone. It's just passing the buck. It's plain lazy, not to mention disloyal. Unless you're actually TRYING to build a community somewhere else, in which case it's poaching.
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Views 2260 Comments 3
Total Comments 3


  1. Old Comment
    ScubaMargie's Avatar
    Well put Doug
    Posted 11-16-2007 at 02:00 PM by ScubaMargie ScubaMargie is offline
  2. Old Comment
    DannyRaphael's Avatar
    Guilty as charged -- multiple times.

    I've referred many people with hairy Elements, Scripting or BW printing questions to venues where people with the expertise needed are known hang out. I generally include a qualifier such as "I'm not trying to get rid of you, but while you're waiting for a reply here at RP, you might want to try fishing at [other resource] too."

    This practice comes from seeds planted a long time ago with my first job at a grocery store. In situations where customers asked for something that was out of stock or we did not carry, the policy was to provide the best service possible including suggesting a competitor.

    Forty years later I know how much I appreciate it when I'm at True Value hardware store looking for [whatever] and unable to find it, and the guy tells me he's sure I'll find it at ACE. That type of service (to me) is better than being ignored or told, "I dunno where you can get it." Because I get service like this from True Value and I'll give them first crack at future business, which they get when they can meet my needs in a timely fashion.

    I frequently suggest Googling to get help those with common questions, too. This isn't a "blow off." It's an attempt to teach people to "fish for themselves." (I normally include search keywords.) Some issues can be addressed better/faster with a Google search vs. someone typing out, again, say what all the blend modes mean or how/when to sharpen.

    FWIW I can't tell you what a great life-long lesson it was for me at age 24 when a senior work colleague suggested that before I ask him a tech question that I "Read the fu*king manual first." Although blunt, it taught me in a hurry the importance and value of doing self research. Got pretty good at it, too.

    Wouldn't ever reply that way at RP of course, but the same principle applies IMO. Teach people to fish if you can.

    Your suggestion to invite experts from other venues to engage at RP has merit. I've done that a few times with Xbytor, who is among the best on the planet with JavaScript. I'll keep that option in mind in the future.
    Posted 11-18-2007 at 10:40 PM by DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
  3. Old Comment
    You've a point there. I think this is something every forum should keep in mind. They should learn to be self-sufficient. I'm looking to post a blog, and see if I can teach some geeks on the uses of Dahn Yoga.
    Posted 05-27-2009 at 06:25 AM by thomasgrantnice thomasgrantnice is offline

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