OT: forum etiquette

Phil Davis davis.phil at comcast.net
Tue Mar 7 23:36:36 EST 2006

This is a great contribution! Thanks.

Phil Davis

Sivakatirswami wrote:
> I thought this site useful:
> http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
> and particularly this section:
> ===========
> Don't claim that you have found a bug
> When you are having problems with a piece of software, don't claim  you 
> have found a bug unless you are very, very sure of your ground.  Hint: 
> unless you can provide a source-code patch that fixes the  problem, or a 
> regression test against a previous version that  demonstrates incorrect 
> behavior, you are probably not sure enough.  This applies to webpages 
> and documentation, too; if you have found a  documentation “bug”, you 
> should supply replacement text and which  pages it should go on.
> Remember, there are many other users that are not experiencing your  
> problem. Otherwise you would have learned about it while reading the  
> documentation and searching the Web (you did do that before  
> complaining, didn't you?). This means that very probably it is you  who 
> are doing something wrong, not the software.
> The people who wrote the software work very hard to make it work as  
> well as possible. If you claim you have found a bug, you'll be  
> impugning their competence, which may offend some of them even if you  
> are correct. It's especially undiplomatic to yell “bug” in the  Subject 
> line.
> When asking your question, it is best to write as though you assume  you 
> are doing something wrong, even if you are privately pretty sure  you 
> have found an actual bug. If there really is a bug, you will hear  about 
> it in the answer. Play it so the maintainers will want to  apologize to 
> you if the bug is real, rather than so that you will owe  them an 
> apology if you have messed 
> up.

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