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Re: reporting requirements [Re: does not rebuild Makefile.in]

From: Paul Smith
Subject: Re: reporting requirements [Re: does not rebuild Makefile.in]
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 16:20:29 -0400

On Thu, 2008-08-21 at 23:50 +0400, Ilya N. Golubev wrote:
> This may seem justified, and is at least understandable.  And
> complying with all of this takes in most cases even more work than
> isolating (and even possibly fixing) the bug entirely on one's own.
> So the posting becomes pointless.

Yes.  That's a GOOD THING, and exactly what Philip intended.

People reading this list are volunteers.  No one is getting paid, and in
fact most people are helping here to the detriment of other things they
could be doing for their jobs, families, health, recreation, etc.

As such, it's incumbent upon the people asking for help to not abuse
this generosity.  That means making an honest, _serious_ effort to solve
problems yourself _before_ asking for help.  By asking for all this
information and requiring people to provide it, we are ensuring not only
that we can actually help them, but also that they've made enough of an
effort to fix their own problem that it's worthwhile for us to take time
from whatever other important things we're doing to assist them.  You're
exactly right that half the time the effort they put in to collecting
all this data leads them to find the problem themselves, and then they
can delete the email they're writing to the list.  That's the best
possible outcome for everyone; it's what we hope for.

Yes, of course, we are smarter than machines and we are able to infer a
lot from less data, if we want to expend the effort to do so.  But we
don't want to expend that effort.  We have no reason to make that effort
to help people who won't first spend some effort to help themselves.

It may sound harsh, and some people will put it more bluntly than
others, but that's the way things work in open source software.  You
aren't paying for support with money, but that doesn't mean it's free.
Instead you have to pay for it with effort.

Plus, look at it this way: by making that effort and fixing your own
problem you learned a lot more than you would have if we'd just given
you the answer :-).

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