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Offering help or just blowing smoke?

PostPosted: 2011-12-06 11:12
by kedaha
I was amused to read one of stevepusser's comments viewtopic.php?f=16&t=71316#p398348:
OK. let us know if it helps, I like to know if I'm right or just blowing smoke.

Sometimes there are no replies to posts to help solve an issue. Possible causes?
a) They don't understand the solution and just distro-hop off to some well-known Debian derivative.
b) The person who posts the problem just uses the solution and doesn't bother to even thank one for it.
c) One is just "blowing smoke."
or whatever...
I wouldn't go so far as to include ungrateful members, who just grab the solution, in the "foes" list but everytime this happens, I for one, feel less like offering advice or suggestions and more inclined to refer them to either to RTFM or to Google to search for the needle in the haystack themselves.
Comments?

Re: Offering help or just blowing smoke?

PostPosted: 2011-12-06 12:49
by dragonfly
Hello Kedaha,
the person who reads and responds to your posts, deserves a Thank You, it is common courtesy.
regards.

Re: Offering help or just blowing smoke?

PostPosted: 2011-12-06 17:25
by dasein
I agree that a "thank you" is entirely appropriate when a stranger helps solve a computer problem (or any problem--say, changing a tire).

Re: Offering help or just blowing smoke?

PostPosted: 2011-12-06 17:38
by sgosnell
One has to understand that there are anal orifices everywhere, and that one will encounter one every now and then. It's a fact of life, and it shouldn't affect one's willingness to help the others who aren't that way. I do understand that dealing with the AOs grinds you down over time, but I try to just ignore them and assume that people asking for help are of good character until they prove otherwise. I'm not always successful, but I try. I also appreciate feedback on my advice, and if I'm just blowing smoke, then I want to know it so I won't blow it again. I try not to blow any smoke up anyone's AO, but defecation does occur now and then.

Re: Offering help or just blowing smoke?

PostPosted: 2011-12-06 18:43
by dasein
Silence on the part of an OP doesn't necessarily translate automatically into AO, IMO.

Sure, sometimes it's just someone being rude, but I suspect that, at least part of the time, the OP finds a solution elsewhere and merely forgets about his/her forum post.

As annoying as a lack of thank you is, the folks who qualify for automatic AO status are the ones who try to constrain the answers they get, or who demand an answer on their terms.

To extend my tire-changing metaphor, it's as if some folk demand, "Help me change my tire. But I'm new, so don't ask me to use a jack. And I don't understand how a lug wrench works." Pity the folks who try to help them, only to find out that the underlying problem is PICNIC or inherently unsolvable. ("No one ever told me I should carry a spare!!")

I confess that I almost always ignore such posts, even when I could, in principle, offer an answer.

Re: Offering help or just blowing smoke?

PostPosted: 2011-12-06 23:23
by emariz
I don't get your interpretation. For me "to blow smoke" means "to deceive" or "to state something conceitedly". With a dash of irony, the author wanted to know whether his comments were useful or not. Most likely because he wasn't sure about the diagnose.

Re: Offering help or just blowing smoke?

PostPosted: 2011-12-06 23:24
by sgosnell
Silence on the part of an OP doesn't necessarily translate automatically into AO, IMO.
I entirely agree with that, and with the rest of that post. I would never condemn anyone just for the lack of a thank-you. The a-holes make themselves well known, and all I meant was that one should not condemn everyone because of the actions of a few.

Re: Offering help or just blowing smoke?

PostPosted: 2011-12-06 23:48
by kedaha
Thanks for your comments. I see it doesn't just happen to me! I like reading help requests and, although I'm far from being an expert, find trying to suggest solutions an interesting exercise but, even if offering help sometimes seems a bit of a thankless task, I'm glad if anyone else finds the posts useful.

Re: Offering help or just blowing smoke?

PostPosted: 2011-12-07 00:42
by vbrummond
I have gotten many thanks over the years helping folks on Linux forums. I appreciate every one of them because I was glad I could make the experience easier. It is not a requirement though. As for a user replying that they have the problem fixed and marked as solved. I would hope that most of them do that regardless so that people wanting to help know the issue is resolved and others seeking the answer know they might find something.

Re: Offering help or just blowing smoke?

PostPosted: 2011-12-08 23:14
by Randicus
Of course people should say thank you.
If I ask you for help and you give me an answer, I should say something. If the suggestion does not work; "Thanks, but it did not work.", is not only courteous, but lets you know your idea did not work, which can help you expand your knowledge. It also lets everyone else know I still have a problem.
If your suggestion solves the problem I asked for help with and I do not say thank you, I am an asshole.

The only solace I can offer is that many people search data bases for solutions to problems and do not need to ask for help, because they find the answers in existing posts. So your responses to posts may help many more people than you realise.