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From Paul Brinkley <>
Subject Re: RTFM and Ettiquette was: MY ATTITUDE
Date Fri, 14 Feb 2003 17:30:10 GMT
At 05:59 PM 2/13/2003 -0800, Jeff Wishnie wrote:
>Although I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment--do your homework 
>before asking for help--lets not forget that given the
>disorganized state of most opensource documentation, being pointed to the 
>proper docs helps a lot.
>Specifically, when someone asks a question that is answered in some docs, 
>a useful answer would be something like:
>"You'll find the web.xml format explained in Sun's Servlet 2.3 spec, 
>available at"
>Replying "Yo, just, RTFM" is rude and not helpful to anyone.
>I'm pretty new to Tomcat as well and appreciate being pointed to the place 
>where I can find an answer as much as being given told an
>answer directly.

Having to manually repost a link to the documentation over and
over again gets tiresome.  The clever list member will quickly
make a handy list of links to post automatically in response,
but still has to go through the trouble of posting it repeatedly,
and it also clutters the list.

The solution that causes the least amount of distress to all
parties (that I can think of) is to teach netiquette to Internet
newcomers in some hard-to-avoid location.  It can be physical
(school courses, savvy parents, etc.) or virtual (a website, or
a tutorial in an Internet provider's software package).  That
netiquette must at the very least instruct newcomers how to find
online answers to a question:

1. Locate an official homepage for the topic, using a web search
2a. Search archives of an official discussion forum, mailing
     list, Usenet group, etc. for the answer.
2b. Search above for an FAQ.
3. Search the web in general.
4. Post to a forum, asking the question, asking for an FAQ if
    one couldn't be found by now, being polite and specific.

These should be done in the order given (2a and 2b can be in
either order as you like).  #4 absolutely, positively should be
a last-ditch option.  This is the only way we are going to
properly leverage computer automation, until NLU is achieved;
going to 4 before 1, 2, or 3 in effect requires everyone to have
their own personal research assistant, which is ludicrously
impractical in the long run.

Unfortunately, this is a culture change, and hence it will take
a while, possibly as much as a generation (25 years) or more.
Those of you with kids: start now...

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