FW: [texhax] Bilbliography problem

Peter Flom flom at ndri.org
Wed Nov 9 14:44:42 CET 2005

>>> "W.J. Metzger" <wes at hef.ru.nl> 11/9/2005 6:29:23 AM >>>
Much has been said about Robin's replies.
I agree that they are sometimes rather caustic, but I find them seldom
impolite, at least no more so than the question.  Uwe, on the other
has been quite rude in his comments on Robin.  It gives the impression
that there is some private animosity.

I agree with this.  Robin's replies to questions are sometimes abrupt,
but not
really rude.  Then Uwe WAS rude to Robin, then Robin was even more rude
to Uwe.

I would suggest that it is basically impolite to send a question
first doing the basic work of trying to find the answer yourself. That
includes looking at the FAQ and basic documentation. When one asks
impolitely, one should not be surprised by a less than polite answer.

However, I disagree with this, at least sometimes.  If a person has
been using
TeX a while, and has been on this list a while, then yes, that person
know how to do this.  But, if a person is very new to TeX, I think that
asking questions
without doing the basic work may be ignorant, rather than rude.  No one
is born knowing how
to figure out the basics of TeX.   Sure, the FAQ is there, but people
CAN be confused by it.

People MIGHT not even know where to look in the FAQ. Indeed, they might
not know to LOOK for a FAQ.  Sure, people SHOULD know to do this, but a
failure in this regard is ignorance not rudeness.

Someone compared such questioners to 3-year olds. How I answer a
old depends on whether he is mine or someone else's. If someone else's,
tend to say "Ask your mother." However, I expect people on this list
be older, and wiser.   Coming back to Robin, I have the impression that
is most caustic with people from UK and US addresses and much less so
those from third-world lands writing in barely decipherable English.

I would be willing to bet that no 3 year olds are writing to the list

But it could be that someone writes to this list who has been using TeX
for a week.
Me, I've been using TeX about 18 months, and I remmeber how confused I
when I started.  Indeed, I am still quite confused.  And I also
remember being somewhat
surprised at the terseness and abruptness of SOME replies I got for
some questions.  Me,
I'm persistent; and I'm fairly thick-skinned.  I'm still here. 

Others may be driven away, not just from texhax, but from TeX in
general.  I don't think
any of the people here want that.  

 I will also say that, overall,I have found the TeX experts to be very
friendly and willing to help.


Peter L. Flom, PhD
Assistant Director, Statistics and Data Analysis Core
Center for Drug Use and HIV Research
National Development and Research Institutes
71 W. 23rd St
New York, NY 10010
(212) 845-4485 (voice)
(917) 438-0894 (fax)

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