Helping others help you.

From The Pragmatic Programmer:

Care and Cultivation of Gurus With the global adoption of the internet, gurus suddenly are as close as your Enter key. So, how do you find one, and how do you get one to talk with you? We find there are some simple tricks.

  • Know exactly what you want to ask, and be as specific as you can be.
  • Frame your question carefully and politely. Remember that you’re asking a favor; don’t seem to be demanding an answer.
  • Once you’ve framed your question, stop and look again for the answer. Pick out some keywords and search the Web. Look for appropriate FAQs (lists of frequently asked questions with answers).
  • Sit back and be patient. People are busy, and it may take days to get a specific answer.

Finally, please be sure to thank anyone who responds to you. And if you see people asking questions you can answer, play your part and participate.

This strikes particularly close to home as a freenode denizen. Everyone has some sort of problem and needs help, and it truly is a pleasure to help people who have done their homework.This quote was only a panel in the book, but documenting the especially tricky problems and staying around to help others ameliorates channel load and increases overall quality. It’s what makes freenode what it is.Thanks.