Blunt Tools (was: cgf does not want private email about cygwin)

Christopher Faylor
Mon Jun 25 14:04:00 GMT 2001

On Mon, Jun 25, 2001 at 03:47:53PM -0400, Ken Collins wrote:
>I would probably have less of a gripe with the Google search approach if
>urlview didn't SEGV on me. It's what I primarily consider a non-answer.

I hope you don't think that I'm curt to suggest that you should update your
tools.  Expecting anyone to accomodate the fact that you can't do something
as basic as a google search is really not reasonable, is it?

>Also, imagine if, instead of replying to your sincere question, I sent one
>line with a long URL linking to a series of complaints I've had about
>mailing lists in the last year? It doesn't promote dialogue, to say the

I wouldn't have much problem with this actually.  However, when someone posts
a "Why can't I compile?" message, you certainly do not want to enter into
a dialog.  You want to get the question answered quickly.

>>    1. They don't recall the specifics of the answer to the poster's 
>>       question but know its in the archives.  Its not the responders
>>       responsibility to look up the actual message for the original 
>>       poster, although that is always an option.
>Why not just ignore the post and wait until someone with the energy to look
>up the actual message chimes in instead of preempting that response?

Because many of us think that the archive search mechanism is a valuable
teaching tool and is the correct way to answer such questions.

>>    2. Getting to know how to use the archives and even of its existence
>>       is a very good thing.  Its a powerful resource which gets real time
>>       responses and provides allot of background.  Its important for 
>>       everyone to know about it and to use it to make the community a
>>       productive one.
>True. I'd like to see the archive contain actual responses, instead of
>links to links. I'd like to read discussions of problems instead of jumping
>out of mutt and into a long list of Re:s in IE. 

That's a good point.  However, hopefully, searching for valid links will
only be one deep.  It wouldn't be very kind to point a person to a link
which refered to a URL which referred to another URL, etc.

>> Actually, I find preambles like "Sorry for this newbie question but I 
>> looked at the FAQ and mail archives and didn't find the answer" pretty
>> useful.  At least for me, I then know whether the person has made an 
>> attempt to find any existing information on the topic of question.  Even
>> if they've clearly missed an obvious pointer (like in the FAQ), I
>> personally am more likely to prod them more directly to the information
>> they'd find there.  In other words, if I know someone has tried to help
>> themselves and failed for some reason, I can then be more specific with 
>> the suggestions I have, because I know what they've tried and what didn't
>> work for them.  But to each his own...
>It's unfortunate when people have to apologize for asking questions on a
>mailing list. I'll add the preamble to my sig :)

It may be unfortunate but it certainly has a very long Usenet history.  It
is by no means unique here.

I'll agree with Larry, though, that I find messages which have actual
information in them like "I searched the FAQ" to be refreshing.  It cuts
down on the "Check the FAQ" "I already checked the FAQ!!!" type of


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