What’s wrong with technical answer sites


Whenever you ask a question on a forum or answer site, invariably you’ll be told to RTFM, to Google it, or have your intelligence questioned by someone hiding behind an anonymous pseudonym as they sit there in their home in their pyjamas with the Cheetos stains on them. Or whoever they are.

Oh sure, they’ll provide reasons for these callous responses. They’re tired of answering the same questions. There really are answers on Google if you try hard enough. If you haven’t bothered to demonstrate you’ve done some research, why should they help you? Personally, none of these reasons justify being a rude douchebag, but that’s just me.

Perhaps because I do perform searches, demonstrate research and ask politely, but I haven’t had a reply like this in a long time. Instead, I have answers like these to contend with on a regular basis:

Why would you want to do such a thing?

This. In a nutshell. Is what’s wrong with answer sites.

No matter what you’re doing, there will always, always be people who either can’t understand why you want to do something, or see it as an opportunity to be patronising. If they’ve never had to do something, clearly you shouldn’t have to either!

A quick tip for people who answer questions on answer sites. Offer alternative suggestions for sure, but if your only contribution is a condescending why? question, you haven’t contributed anything. Congratulations, you’re just as useless as those people who ask bad questions!

Author bio and support


Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

The site is powered by Hugo, FreeBSD, and OpenZFS on OrionVM, everyone’s favourite bespoke cloud infrastructure provider.

If you found this post helpful or entertaining, you can shout me a coffee or send a comment. Thanks ☺️.