Thursday, August 21, 2008

Helping Yourself - Ask Questions the Smart Way

I followed a LINK that Kyle Bernhardt (Autodesk Revit MEP Technical Product Manager) included in his signature at AUGI. This site is a compilation of advice for anyone interested in communicating with "hacker" community.

Eric and Rick are the authors of the site, called "How to Ask Questions the Smart Way", and they start out with this Introduction Section (after the table of contents that is...)

In the world of hackers, the kind of answers you get to your technical questions depends as much on the way you ask the questions as on the difficulty of developing the answer. This guide will teach you how to ask questions in a way more likely to get you a satisfactory answer.

Substitute "Revit" for "Hackers" and you get a pretty similar sort of "lesson" about how to communicate to online forums members for Revit.

They also include the following disclaimer on their site:

Many project websites link to this document in their sections on how to get help. That's fine, it's the use we intended — but if you are a webmaster creating such a link for your project page, please display prominently near the link notice that we are not a help desk for your project!

We have learned the hard way that without such a notice, we will repeatedly be pestered by idiots who think having published this document makes it our job to solve all the world's technical problems.

If you're reading this document because you need help, and you walk away with the impression you can get it directly from the authors of this document, you are one of the idiots in question. Don't ask us questions. We'll just ignore you. We are here to show you how to get help from people who actually know about the software or hardware you're dealing with, but 99.9% of the time that will not be us. Unless you know for certain that one of the authors is an expert on what you're dealing with, leave us alone and everybody will be happier.

I found the site an interesting read...perhaps you will too?

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