Friday, February 24, 2006

How to ask a question the really dumb way

There's a thread on the Metalink forum which is a splendid example of how not to ask a question. The OP includes sample data with a typo in it. Unfortunately this typo makes it very difficult to understand the questioner's precise problem. When the a responder points this out the OP loses his rag, the initial responder really loses his rag and it sadly deteriorates from there. Most entertaining.

The teaching is: in this modern world of instant communication where the lingua franca is often people's second or third language it is to easy to imagine you're being dissed when you're not. The clue is: if somebody uses the word A$$HOLE they probably are dissing you, but if all you see is something that might be meant sarcastically then they're probably not dissing you.

Ideally, people would re-read what they've typed a couple of times and re-word infelicitous phrases before pressing Send but who really does?


I actually wrote this post in an internet cafe under the most unforgiving deadline of all: expiry of my paid-for half hour. This meant I didn't test the link in my post and I would like to thank Peter Lewis for taking the time to put the correct one in his comment. The other problem was that I wrote the original title as How to answer questions the really dumb way whereas the real dumbness was obviously on the part of the asker. I have corrected both of these faults. Given my comments on posting at haste without proof-reading, the irony is stunning.