Pig 'rastlin (Or, How to be annoyed...)
June 19, 2013
They have a saying in southern Iowa:
"Never wrestle(usually they pronounce it "rass-ul")with a pig-you get dirty and the pig likes it."
On the other side of that, John Cleese and Michael Palin of Monty Python had a show before the Flying Circus days called "How to Irritate People." The secret, it turns out, is to be (or act) completely oblivious to the fact that you are being irritating.
So here's what that has to do with LMR.
It's hard to miss lately that there have been more than the usual amount of "I didn't even try to google it first" forum posts. And let's face it, we are what we are-geeks and nerds. That means we react a certain way. (Generally, it's a spanking.)
I don't know if there's a better way of warning "n00bs" not to risk the thrashing they'll incur if they ask a question that the rest of us get irritated at-it seems like maybe if you can ignore something as obvious as google or the words "search page" above the most popular feature of the site then you'd be able to ignore a giant flashing banner that says "ASK GOOGLE FIRST OR BE PWNED!"
(An aside-you don't suppose some of the "shout box searches" we get from time to time are the result of people thinking that "Search Page" is a button that executes a search of the page you're on instead of a link to the Site search...?)
Now I know that there is a general guide to "How to be a happy LMR user," and different members have tried to explicate methods for finding information before soliciting pleas for help in the forums, (JAX and Kariloy most recently.) Of course the problem is that if you're too impatient or lazy to try a search engine to find your answers, you probably can't be bothered to read a helpful post from a more experienced maker on the meta-subject of being a community member. (In fact, I'd be surprised if more than a few people were reading this blog, and flabbergasted if I didn't know each reader by the photo avatar associated with their user name.)
Unfortunately, I'm not offering a solution here. We probably can't stop new/infrequent/temporary members from posting inane/thoughtless/obviously answered queries without major restructuring (if at all.) Maybe we shouldn't even strive to eliminate that kind of thing-after all, we were all beginners at some point and we all probably suffered at least a little bit of hazing to become real LMRtians.
However, for those of us who do have experience and a measure of personal investment in the site, I'll reveal a strategy that's worked for me a few times in the last few weeks to keep me from tearing my hair out and making rude comments that I'd be embarrassed if better/kinder community members than I read.
I step away.
Basically, if a question or comment irks me, I try to realize it and tell myself not to even touch it. It's not always easy or obvious-a few times I've started writing the scathing rebukes and belittling responses, but then stopped myself and tried to figure out why I was wasting time and subsequently shook the iPad like an etch-a-sketch to erase everything. It has the benefit of not making me look foolish by exposing my regrettable lack of knowledge and human cruelty. Also, it discourages further questions by the same asker in that they don't get as much attention-which is all anyone is looking for by posting anything on line, after all.
So the next time you start to answer a question on the forums and you realize that you have any emotional reaction to it at all, think about not giving into it. I'm not always successful with this strategy, but I feel better about myself when I realize that I've executed it!