Sensitivity and Google

Story: Linux Gurus and the ability of a student to burn them out.Total Replies: 6
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Apr 14, 2007
9:12 PM EDT
Yes, I suppose I've been in both roles.

It's hard to admit.

My favorite these days is, "Just a quick question..."

How do you know it is quick if you don't know the answer? My self-honesty paradigm calls for me omitting the word "quick." The minimization ploy does not work; everybody sees through it.

I believe in using the "Socratic" method of questioning and of providing answers. More than one have judged me a fool for asking the right questions.

I also believe, "All questions are stupid, ask anyway." I learn more than most by being able to go for it, regardless of how I "look."

Finally, for Linux, I use as my first stop for all linux questions.

Apr 15, 2007
6:05 AM EDT
Failing that, try GNU/Linux newsgroups or forums. They are there to help and there's a large pool or people watching, with diverse fields of expertise. The exchange of messages will then be archived and indexed, so next time someone searches the Web, your enquiry will prevent 'reinvention of the wheel' (creating another thread).

Take care and good luck.

Apr 15, 2007
11:13 AM EDT is designed for this situation. Every question asked by all newbs for years are recorded there. I have participated for years, but it is getting harder to get excited about wasting hours helping someone solve the same old problems. I do visit now and then to find something worthy ;-) Google searches for precise error messages will often bring you to the right spot on It is a powerful resource. 3000 articles, 3000000 iso downloads, millions of posts and hundreds of thousands of members. It is huge.

Apr 15, 2007
11:32 AM EDT
I appreciate the input :) I have been bookmarking the areas where I can search for stuff I still need help with for future use. It's nice that people are willing to say "Hey check this place, they can likely help you." Having worked in the Tech Support field I have seen many folks get just plain burned out and give up caring is someone finds the help they need.

Apr 15, 2007
11:50 AM EDT

I couldn't agree more, LQ is the best thing since sliced bread for finding answers to just about everything Linux. The issue is that you have to sometimes sift through a ton of posts to find the one that is relevant and understandable to you. There are many times I have just not understood the answer.

Another tool that is becoming more and more popular is IRC. There are IRC channels for just about everything these days and being able to "talk" to someone can sometimes make all the difference in the world.

Plus for people who learn better through interaction or are more motivated by it IRC can be great. It also gives you the opportunity to meet others who have a shared interest and in turn give back by helping others who need it.

The true strength of Linux and Open Source is that we have a community of people who help each other to learn more and in turn learn to help themselves. The feelings of empowerment to knowledge and connection to community is unique I believe, and why Open Source by its nature cannot fail or fade away. It is an emergent philosophy and as such will continue to proliferate as it has.

Wow, "emergent", "empowerment". "proliferate".. I'm using my big words today. :-)


Apr 15, 2007
12:07 PM EDT
On the "Just a quick question..." and how do you know. If I ask the question or get asked that way I take it to mean here is the question can you answer immediately (quickly) if not forget it. (Or of course it is a question with a simple answer like "... are you coming to the pub?"

Apr 16, 2007
4:53 AM EDT
IRC would be great, but again we have to revisit my original post. Let's not trade the phone chat with a knowledgeable friend dependency for the "This guy on IRC was willing to talk me through everything I needed." dependency.

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