Monday, 06 May, 2002

How To Keep People From Asking Questions

I ran across Eric S. Raymond's How To Ask Questions The Smart Way today.  It's a nice piece of fluff, I guess, and even good advice for programmers or other technically-minded people who want to ask questions on open technical forums.  It's hardly designed to encourage the uninitiated to ask questions, though.  The document says a lot more about  the elitist, condescending attitude of most hackers than anything else.  It's a great advertisement for not hiring anybody who calls himself a hacker.  With attitudes like that, what employer in his right mind would hire them?  Perhaps an example will serve to illustrate my point:

We've found by experience that people who are careless and sloppy writers are usually also careless and sloppy at thinking and coding (often enough to bet on, anyway).  Answering questions for careless and sloppy thinkers is not rewarding; we'd rather spend out time elsewhere.

Elsewhere being, I suppose, hacking away at some code.  You know as well as I do that most hackers are careless and sloppy writers.  Does it follow, then, that they also are careless and sloppy at thinking and coding?  I believe that to be the case, and the state of most open source software I've seen certainly supports that assumption.