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Smart Answers


An essay/book was written about how hackers should be asked smart questions. That can be seen here:
However, hackers have a similar topic that needs to be addressed: smart answers. Hackers that have egos sometimes are worse, or just as bad as the people who do not ask smart questions.
This page will outline the problems with many hackers, and how they need to consider a few factors before answering questions. Some of the examples below are taken from real world situations (i.e. some are true stories).

Example 1:

Consider the following example. This below (in red) is not a smart answer.
Person: I have a question regarding the Widget.GetColor function. Why does the color 
        not work when I specify Red as the variable? The last compiler worked just 
        fine when I specified red, and I can't find any information on why it 
        wouldn't work.
Hacker: RTFM
Person: Actually I already did, and it's extremely outdated. 

Problems: hacker assumes person is clueless, even though the person already showed hacker he is not. Hacker gives a one line egotistic response, which does not help the person.

Example 2:

Consider the following example. This below (in red) is not a smart answer.
Person: I'm looking for information on how to build an API in Java. Can you point me 
        to some web pages on how to implement a custom API? I'm have no idea where to
        start.
Hacker: I'd use Python. Check out Python.org
Person: excuse me?
Person: I came to this Java forum looking for information, would someone mind helping
        me with Java please? 

Example 3:

Consider the following real world example. This below (in red) is not a smart answer.
Person: XDM/KDM troubles - it keeps denying connections (Host unwilling) 
              when I attempt remote sessions... anyone know solutions to common 
              problems? (yes, I did google it first)
Hacker: sounds like permissions problem(s) 
Person: How so, and on what files?
Person: Or do you give that answer for all problems?

Example 4:

Consider the following example. This below (in red) is not a smart answer.
Person: I have a custom widget that I created, but now I want to inherit from this
        widget. Is there a way to do this with language ABC?
Hacker: Probably. Check the man page. I only use console mode programs.
Person: hmmm... 

Example 5:

Consider the following real world example. Red text is not a smart answer. Green text is the correct answer.
>>> Further, what is
>>> the lock/unlock for in the intRTLEventSetEvent? pthread_cond_signal
>>> can perfectly deal with multiple threads simultaneously signalling
>>> the same condition variable (pthreads is a multithreading api, not a
>>> random non-reentrant piece of code).
>>
>> Oh, is it? Read the f*cking man page
>
> ... this is not on the Mac OS X man page:
>     http://www.hmug.org/man/3/pthread_cond_signal.php
>
> Not sure if this means it's not necessary in the Mac OS X (and  
> possibly FreeBSD) versions, or that the Mac OS X man pages are  
> incomplete.

Example 6:

Consider a stupid answer from ESR (Eric S Rayomond) outlined in:
Originally proposed May 2005, examples added 2005-2007+
See also: Smart Questions

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