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How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:49 am
by Welcome
I'm relatively new here. I've discovered that some requests for help are rather questionable. For example, the recent "What is a computer?", and the related "$800 USB drive" and "What happen when click on start word button?" Those seemed to be comedy to me. But, there's others that pretend to show an error, and have even modified their output from commands to try to show show strange results. Why? If they want to chat, why don't they just post here in Open chat? What do they hope to gain by falsifying results?
Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned.
I understand that the posters are a reflection of society. Some might be previous members, returning for some fun. Others seem to be attempting to post as many posts as possible, perhaps to increase their level on the forum. Some might be seeking discussion and attention. And some are valid requests for help.

Someone recently mentioned a term for excessive help users (not repeated to avoid being offensive - General Rules Part I section 2). I was surprised by this, but now I think I understand. For example, one person recently made 47 posts on problems related to creating a bootable USB from an iso. This from someone who has a very technical background with advanced degrees and experience.

If you try to help people on the forum, how do you select the ones you help? Is it based solely on the topic, or do you evaluate the poster's previous threads first?

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:21 am
by Hoser Rob
First, it has to be readable. Second, it has to be clearly stated, Third, there has to be some sign of a willingness to do some searching on their own. This is true for most users on any Linux support forum I've used. The phrase "read the stickies" pops up a lot.

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:31 am
by xenopeek
Welcome wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:49 am
I've discovered that some requests for help are rather questionable. For example, the recent "What is a computer?", and the related "$800 USB drive" and "What happen when click on start word button?
If it looks like a troll or spam seeder (new member posting fake posts to later add spam links) please report such posts. Click the exclamation icon button in the top right of a post to report it to call our attention to it.
Welcome wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:49 am
Someone recently mentioned a term for excessive help users (not repeated to avoid being offensive - General Rules Part I section 2). I was surprised by this, but now I think I understand. For example, one person recently made 47 posts on problems related to creating a bootable USB from an iso. This from someone who has a very technical background with advanced degrees and experience.
If you're handy with using online resources such as search engines and wikipedia effectively you may wonder why some others can't themselves find answers to what may appear to you to be trivial questions. Sometimes language barrier for those for whom English is a second language plays a role. In any case, I try to assume good faith and not see help vampires everywhere but for sure on any forum and online community there will be some that just won't put in any effort themselves to find an answer or even effort to pose a good question. Just skip to the next topic that you would enjoy answering.
Welcome wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:49 am
If you try to help people on the forum, how do you select the ones you help? Is it based solely on the topic, or do you evaluate the poster's previous threads first?
I don't look at previous topics of the poster, that sounds like more work :) I look at the topic itself; is it a good question and can I contribute to solving it. As Hoser Rob writes, if it's wall of text with no punctuation and no paragraphs good chance I will skip it because I'm not here for that. If it's not a good question (missing details, context or screenshots of the problem) and there are no other replies yet I may just reply with a request to add those so that others can better answer. If it's a subject I know something about and there is no solution yet I would answer if the topic has enough information to do so.

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:25 pm
by kelevra
I try to read most new posts, lots of time on my hands. I might learn something new by reading a random thread. I am not the most knowledgable forum user but if I have had the same issue, even if I have fixed it myself, I try to post something that might help. If there is next to no information about OS version or hardware, I usually point them to the 'How to get help' thread. I do like some of the comedic posts here in the open chat.

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:56 pm
by JerryF
Welcome wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:49 am
I'm relatively new here. I've discovered that some requests for help are rather questionable. For example, the recent "What is a computer?", and the related "$800 USB drive" and "What happen when click on start word button?" Those seemed to be comedy to me. But, there's others that pretend to show an error, and have even modified their output from commands to try to show show strange results. Why? If they want to chat, why don't they just post here in Open chat? What do they hope to gain by falsifying results?

I understand that the posters are a reflection of society. Some might be previous members, returning for some fun. Others seem to be attempting to post as many posts as possible, perhaps to increase their level on the forum. Some might be seeking discussion and attention. And some are valid requests for help.

Someone recently mentioned a term for excessive help users (not repeated to avoid being offensive - General Rules Part I section 2). I was surprised by this, but now I think I understand. For example, one person recently made 47 posts on problems related to creating a bootable USB from an iso. This from someone who has a very technical background with advanced degrees and experience.

If you try to help people on the forum, how do you select the ones you help? Is it based solely on the topic, or do you evaluate the poster's previous threads first?
I always click on "Quick links" and choose "New posts" first to see the newest posts. I then look for titles of situations that I might be able to help. Then, if there's not too much information (some are pages long), then I'll attempt to help. Also, I usually don't answer ones that the OP is going to try "this and that" which then results in several posts in a row when no one so far has offered any help.

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 1:10 pm
by Pjotr
I do more or less as JerryF said.

I try not to attach too much importance to the "degree of sympatheticness" of the help seeker, because this forum is also a database for others. People that are really unsympathetic to me excepted, of course. I don't help b*st*rds. :twisted:

For me, the fun is both in helping people and in trying to solve technical riddles. I learn from the feedback, as well. It's an intellectual pleasure, too. Sometimes you fire an intuitive shot in the dark, and when it brings success to the help seeker, it feels great.

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 2:58 pm
by GS3
Welcome wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:49 am
If you try to help people on the forum, how do you select the ones you help? Is it based solely on the topic, or do you evaluate the poster's previous threads first?
My level of expertise is extremely low so I am generally reading and learning from the experts. If I believe I can contribute anything to a problem it is generally so basic that the OP has little or no history and, in any case, it would make no difference to me what their history was.

I see myself offering help in very simple situations so the experts can take the more complicated problems. For example, I often post to say "this question comes up often and you can find answers in these threads...". (e.g.: Why does double booting Windows and Linux mess with the clock setting? That gets asked regularly and I know the answer.)

I also post when I see a question is getting no traction and I believe it should not be difficult to answer by those with more expertise. In that case I will post to ask the OP to give us the information which might be useful in resolving the question. Even though I do not have the answer this serves to get the ball rolling and, sure enough, often others come in to help.

I try to answer any simple question I may know the answer to so the experts can dedicate their time to complex things.

If I start reading the OP and it is badly written, carelessly written, lazily explained and it looks like I am going to have to put effort that the OP was to lazy to do, then I just skip it.

Sometimes I can't make heads or tails of an OP and I think it is badly explained and then someone comes in who understands perfectly what the OP meant.

Posters who have been rude to me I have on ignore so I do not see their posts. I do this mainly because I tend to forget who they are and I get tired of having to put up with their rudeness.

OTOH, I tend to remember very well posters who have been helpful and nice and I go out of my way to be nice to them even if I cannot be of much help because generally they are the ones helping me.

I miss Cosmo who was very helpful when I joined three or four years ago. Looking him up I see he has very few posts after May 2018 and none after September 2019, a year ago. I do not know the reasons why he stopped posting and I guess it is none of my business but I remember him as being very helpful. Probably people move on to other things in life.

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:29 pm
by AndyMH
+1 on cosmo and I have a mental list of people whose opinion I value in specific areas. I tend to stick to the areas I know best, or where I've had similar problems in the past and know how to fix. I no longer respond if I ask for information and the OP doesn't provide it or goes off at a tangent.

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:04 pm
by MartyMint
If I have the answer to a question someone in asking...and I size them up to be relatively serious and have exhausted all other avenues...and no one else steps up with an answer that I suspect is better than the one I can offer, I'll step in.

The "help" requests I usually avoid are:

"Linux Mint sucks. Why can't it do the thing that I did in Windows?"

"If I don't get satisfaction to the problem I'm having, I WILL LEAVE LINUX FOREVER." (Oh, okay...don't let the door hit ya'.... :roll: )

"Help me." (with absolutely NO details to the problem, or even if there's a problem)

"How do I install Windows?" (i'm sorry...I'm not a *nix elitist, but even I have my limits)

That's just the short list....

:|

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:16 pm
by Kadaitcha Man
MartyMint wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:04 pm
"Help me." (with absolutely NO details to the problem, or even if there's a problem)
Especially from forum vampires who have 500+ and sometimes 1000+ plus question posts to their name.

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:54 am
by xenopeek
Howdy folks. Off-topic replies have been removed from this thread. Please no long lists of anecdotes, stick to the question asked.

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:13 am
by antikythera
It depends on the attitude or whether or not I think they are a bot. You can usually spot a cut and paste bot a mile off though.

How a first post is constructed says a lot about the person asking for help at times. You can usually differentiate blind panic from inability to read and follow posting instructions too. I don't mind those two if the poster then goes on to add requested information. If they don't they are somebody else's to deal with or ignore too.

Rude, ignorant, entitled folk are the ones I try to ignore as much as humanly possible. Someone usually tears them a new one anyway eventually.

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:16 am
by xenopeek
antikythera wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:13 am
It depends on the attitude or whether or not I think they are a bot. You can usually spot a cut and paste bot a mile off though.
Reiterating that if you smell a bot, please report them like you already do :) If helps us a lot. The collective noses of the forum team do smell out a lot of bots but we do overlook one occasionally.

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:36 am
by Welcome
Thanks to all! Your responses have been really helpful, and I've learned a lot.

I was naive when I first started trying to help on the forum. I've learned it isn't as easy as I thought, and that I really don't know as much as I thought I did! :D I've learned more in the past few months trying to help on the forum than in years of my own exploration.

And now, I've also learned to pay very close attention to every detail in the posts and responses. Thanks again!

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:49 am
by xenopeek
Welcome wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:36 am
I've learned more in the past few months trying to help on the forum than in years of my own exploration.
Common experience I think for those that help others here. I see it as a reward for time spent helping, that you also learn something from it :wink:

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:58 pm
by AndyMH
Kadaitcha Man wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:16 pm
MartyMint wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:04 pm
"Help me." (with absolutely NO details to the problem, or even if there's a problem)
Especially from forum vampires who have 500+ and sometimes 1000+ plus question posts to their name.
And as we have just seen, sometimes they refuse to provide info and go off in a huff.

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:09 pm
by Kadaitcha Man
AndyMH wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:58 pm
Kadaitcha Man wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:16 pm
MartyMint wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:04 pm
"Help me." (with absolutely NO details to the problem, or even if there's a problem)
Especially from forum vampires who have 500+ and sometimes 1000+ plus question posts to their name.
And as we have just seen, sometimes they refuse to provide info and go off in a huff.
lol, yes.

BTW, seeing as we are in the chat forum. Do the names 'Hamster' and 'Gerbil' mean anything to you?

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:26 pm
by DAMIEN1307
Do the names 'Hamster' and 'Gerbil' mean anything to you?
Lets see....Hmmmm...I got it, Forever and always eating and only crapping on you in return for all your kind hearted feeding of the little vermin...lol...DAMIEN

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:28 pm
by Kadaitcha Man
DAMIEN1307 wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:26 pm
Do the names 'Hamster' and 'Gerbil' mean anything to you?
Lets see....Hmmmm...I got it, Forever and always eating and only crapping on you in return for all your kind hearted feeding of the little vermin...lol...DAMIEN
lol - no.

Re: How do you select the ones you help?

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:31 pm
by DAMIEN1307
lol - no.
Considering the topic of this thread, I thought id throw that one in for everyones amusement...DAMIEN

AKA, (also known as), those who have been known to bite the hands of those whom have fed them...lol.