Re: [SUMMARY]: [Opinion] What's happening to this list??

From: clifford thurber (
Date: Mon Oct 11 1999 - 16:50:29 CDT

It actually amazes me that people could be in any way indignant in regards
to your post. Yet it doesn't surprise me that someone who can't take the
time to do a modicum of research before joining a list would also not have
any incentive to read a man page or a UNIX reference book. Even seasoned
admins comb over the man pages and crack a nutshell book. Additionally
there are IRC channels that would maybe better suited towards questions
like how to set the execute bit on a shell script. I am glad you decided to
throw your post out there. I think you were very honest and in no way
condescending. Amen brother-make that 19.

At 02:17 PM 10/11/99 -0700, you wrote:
>The following is a rough summary of the responses I received regarding my
>post to the list last week, in which I commented on the high volume of
>questions posted from folks who clearly had not tried other sources first.
>The majority of the respondents agreed with me. Many share the view that
>this list is becoming more and more a "newbie" list. Most stated that they
>regularly send RTFM's and pointers to other resources to help discourage
>these kinds of questions.
>A few disagreed, feeling that "The only stupid question is the question
>not asked." While the quote certainly is true, I would like to remind
>these folks that there are plenty of resources available for asking ANY
>type of question. This list is reserved for a subset of these questions.
>Thanks to everyone for their feedback.
>Here are some of the resources I regularly point people to:
> UNIX Mail List (great for beginners)
> Sun Administration Newsgroups
> comp.sys.sun.admin : Sun Solaris sysadmin newsgroup
> comp.unix.solaris : Sun Solaris sysadmin newsgroup
> comp.sys.sun.apps : Sun Applications newsgroup
> comp.sys.sun.hardware : Sun Hardware newsgroup
> Sun Managers List Archive
> (great search engine!)
> Sun Manager's FAQ
> Sun Documentation
>My original post follows.
> First I would like to apologize for including an actual recent question
> in my message; I now regret singling this person out, and as some have
> pointed out, the problem may have been more complicated than it seemed.
> And I hope that noone thought I was trying to dissuade anyone from asking
> questions of their peers, even if they seem elementary. There is always
> going to be a wide range of experience and knowledge, and isn't that the
> point of these resources is in the first place?
> The point I was trying to make was that elementary questions should be
> asked ELSEWHERE, such as in newsgroups. Having your question show up in
> a newsgroup is very different than having it emailed to each and every
> member of the list. If more folks would politely remind people to use
> these resources, I think the questions posted to this list would better
> reflect the list's intended purpose.
> The charter for the Sun Manager's List is very specific about what this
> list is and what it is intended for, and it makes it very clear what
> types of questions are appropriate. If someone disagrees that's fine,
> but if they use the resource they should at least adhere to its rules.
>The responses can fit roughtly into four categories, and here are the
>number of responses for each:

> (1) Amen brother (actual quote in more than a few!): 18
> (2) Agree, with reservations: 2
> (3) Disagree: 3
> (4) You elitist condescending bastard: 2
>Useful Quote:
> "As for solution, I agree with you. (But not with your standard.) The
> charter should just say, "If the query is inappropriate for this mailing
> list (training question, sales pitch or job placement pitch, etc.), do not
> give an informative response. Instruct the querant as to why its an
> inappropriate question, and then tell them to rtfm, take the Sun Ed class,
> or find a new line of work." (Picture hundreds of list-readers telling the
> guy to go get a clue...) This will only be ineffective if some more
> knowledgable but stupid person give these guys the free ride they are
> looking for." -Eugene Choi
>My Point Entirely:
> "Seems to me that if all of the more experienced admins simply
> ignore the "newbie"-type questions, those people might get the hint and
> asking them..." -Chuck Cox
> "David you are a grade A jerk!" -Tom Cowan
>"Reichert, Alan" <>
>"Chad Rytting (Administrative Account)" <>
>Wimmer Jeffrey <>
>Tim Evans <>
>"Kris Briscoe (r8465c)" <>
>Dan Stromberg <>
>Mark Scannapieco <>
>"Joseph Kwan" <>
>"Choi, Eugene" <>
>"Darryl C. Price" <>
>"Arthur J. Byrnes" <>
>Chuck Cox <>
>"dylan.carlson" <>
>"Freeman, Jim (PBW-J2Freeman)" <>
>"Marco Greene" <>
>Tom Cowan <>
><> (David B. Harrington)
>Thomas Anders <>
>Edwards Philip M Ctr AFRL/SNRR <>
>Thad MacMillan <>
>Bryan Hodgson <>
>"Z.K. Zachariah" <>
>> Has anyone else noticed that the signal-to-noise ratio for this list has
>> decreased exponentially lately? Just today I've seen questions about how
>> to specify a shell in a shell script, other questions that are easily
>> answered by looking at the man page or any decent UNIX manual, and this:
>> > Given the directory:
>> >
>> > dr-xr-xr-x 2 root root 2 Oct 8 10:55 /home
>> >
>> > Why would I not be able to create a subdirctory in it?
>> Clearly those asking the questions are not adhering to the intent of
>> the list's charter. These questions are not related to time-critical
>> system administration questions; folks are using this list to learn UNIX
>> system administration. You can't really blame them since it's always faster
>> to get someone with experience to answer your question than it is to
>> consult the documentation or a book.

>> What may not be quite so obvious is that people would stop asking questions
>> like this if those on the list, instead of just answering them, would
>> remind them that (a) this question is not really appropriate for this
>> list; and (b) RTFM, perhaps with a pointer (eg. try "man ls").
>> Just my .02
>> Dave Foster

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