Tech, Gadgets, Photography, Social Media and Poor Spelling

Using forums to find answers to tech problems is like entering Dante’s Inferno

Working in the tech world or just trying to find the answer to a tech problem will lead you to the Google which will in turn have you end up on a very specific type of web site. A forum

Welcome to the biggest cross section of human personalities on the web and good luck

The forum is much like the local pub anyone is allowed in, anyone is start a conversation, anyone is allowed to answer in any way they feel they can. Occasionally someone will get barred however they will usually end up back in in one guise or another.

Posting a question a request for help on a forum usually involves creating an account which will be linked to your email, this single act depending on your choice of forum may have a direct impact on the amount of spam in your account so entry may come at a cost.

Once in, you need to figure out which area of the forum you are going to post your question on, you can do this by searching to see if anyone has already asked your question. This will usually end up with the results proving just how bad the tagging system is on that forum. Ask “What colour is an orange?” will get results back like “why have my fingers gone orange after eating cheesy snacks?” or 6000 people who didn’t search asking the same or similar questions but having no replies thus immediacy you have learnt that maybe this isn’t the place to ask.. However getting the question on many forums should result in some sort of reply, shouldn’t it?

Well that is the next step, you pick an area to ask the question, and post your question.. “How do you format a disk in ubuntu from the command line?” you outline what you have tried, that google was no help and just the right direction will be a help, your a noob etc. All pointless in the posts.

A few days later you go back to the forum and it’s at this point you start to learn about the people in your industry and its not all good.

  • “why don’t you google it you douche”
  • “my god did you search this forum that’s been asked 1000 times”
  • “check out the man page for fsck”
  • “What an idiot, are you new here? this should be in the forum marked Questions about command line, not questions on formatting your disk”

I paraphrase…

Leave the post up there for a few days more and the troll’s come out, they have told the world all about you and just how stupid you are, we don’t need noobs on Linux, stick to Windows, buy a Mac, what a waste of space thats kids play blah blah blah..

And the circle of Forum goes round and round with honest questions, provoking dud and flame from people who probably wouldn’t say boo to a goose in the real world.

turns out the written word on forums and emails are like knives and guns for some people who think of themselves as ambassadors on certain subjects the gatekeeper of the geeks if you like..

Occasionally you’ll run across a decent forum something like linuxquestions, ubuntuforums, tektites where people will provide well written assistance and redirects if needed. they are maintained by a good barman (to continue the analogy) however most forums are unkept locations wrecked hives of scum and villainy.

I’d be really interested to hear about good and bad experiences you’ve had on forums across the internet…


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This entry was posted on June 20, 2012 by in comment and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .
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