5 Oct 2004
(updated 5 Oct 2004 at 14:42 UTC) »
RTFM vs. JATFM
shlomif, the reason people created the RTFM acronym was so that it would be shorter than answering most any question.
People (I) resent others asking random questions of them out of a sense of fair play, dislike of laziness, and dislike of the arrogance that can be inferred.
if someone asks me a question i am more likely to answer that question if i know the answer directly, i know the person asking, and/or i have been helped by the person asking before (or otherwise have a reason to want to help them (friendship, ass-kissing, impress others with my knowledge, whatever)).
fairplay and failure to scale: this is of course the tragedy of the commons scenerio: even though 1 random person entering a channel and asking a simple question is not onerous, a whole lot of them will become so. with respect to only one person asking, it seems like a person refusing to answer is just being petulant, but when you consider that you might be the 500th person to ask the same question to that person that day, it becomes more understandable that they would refuse: it takes up their time, they get no benefit from it, it is not fun. it in short becomes a job.
if someone feels like they want to help the community by doing that job, i find that admirable and worthy of encouragment, but by simply being in a certain place at a certain time, a person does not consent to fulfill that role, and since most people still have the freedom to do what they like rather than submit to your will or government's will, or what you think would benefit the community etc, they don't have to.
when the questioner enters a place and asks a question, it may be considered presumptious of them, but when that questioner insists that you should tell them the answer because it's easier than arguing or saying 'rtfm', that person is presumptious, arrogant, rude, and annoying.
this quite simply is the bottom line: you are asking for something and you have no inherent right to an answer. if someone is nice enough to give you an answer you should be thankful, if they are not, you should be thankful for the chance to impose, but you should not insist that you deserve (or should otherwise get an answer) because the question is so easy or how quickly it could be answered or because people there should know the answer and it would save you time rather than finding it yourself.
it is annoying, rude, and arrogant. and for the people that see it it day after day every day time after time, it becomes less and less tolerable to be treated that way.
you should be more considerate of others, no matter what you think would help the community.