On your ask tom web site you recommend people use usenet news groups. I tried that and I found the oracle.server group to be extraordinarily hostile. I was amazed. I have been in computing for 20 years and I am well aware of the fact that a lot of geeky people have limited social skills, but not THAT bad. I have to admit not having dealt with usenet groups in a few years and the way the culture has declined is really something! It was a case of getting some information but it was definitely not worth the cost in terms of the major hostility that came with it.
I asked the person for a pointer to the thread and read it. It contained juicy bits like
- It appears that you are either incapable or unwilling to RTFM.
- The only gotcha I see here is the one about reading the manual before engaging the keyboard.
- It is well known for a fact all Windows users never read anything.
None of those were exceedingly productive statements. None of them would actually solve the problem. I can understand sometimes the frustration after seeing repeated questions, or what seem like very basic questions – but the old RTFM answer doesn’t seem to be worth the keystrokes to type it in.
I do give RTFM answers on asktom, but with a twist. It is in the form of “here, it is documented at this <link>”, with the ability and offer to come back later and ask a specific followup question. I do recommend and point people to the documentation (when was the last time you read the concepts guide?). But I don’t think I give RTFM answers (Martin, this is not about your comment on the creating passionate users entry!).
I very much agree with Kathy Sierra on this point. Everyone is a “newbie” sometime in their life at something. I will answer with a gentle reminder such as “well, when I typed your subject into the search field, I found these 5 articles, did you see them?”. I will answer with “materialized views are fully documented <here>, if you have a specific question after reading about them, feel free to come on back”. I will answer with “based on the questions you are asking – I suggest you crack the concepts guide, you know, if you read it from cover to cover and retain just 10% of it, you’ll already know 90% more than most people about Oracle!”.
But I don’t think RTFM by itself is a productive answer. Others have said as much as well.
It is funny, on the newsgroups no one is compelled to answer. I wonder why sometimes people feel compelled to spout the RTFM phrase then. We could all be a little “gentler” (but I’m not backing off of my “instant message speak” stance! I’ve actually received resumes, cover letters, and business ideas with those constructs). Remember, we were all newbies once upon a time. The thing about my job that gives me greatest pleasure? Seeing the light bulb pop on for someone. You never get to see that if you just RTFM them.
And how is this for deja-vu, yes, I am on hour 3sitting in the fantastic LGA terminal again, with at least 3 more hours to go (just as I was typing this sentence, I got an alert on my phone, 5:05 pm estimated take off, it is 2:10 now). At least I found a plug, and I'm not giving it up! This would be utter misery without a network. Since I carry a desktop computer on my back - I can work anywhere :)