How to respond to FAQs [was: [Mailman-Users] Banner and Complex code ...]

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at
Mon Aug 16 16:07:01 CEST 2004

>>>>> "Brad" == Brad Knowles <brad at> writes:

    Brad> 	I've been thinking about this a bit more.  I can
    Brad> change the stock answer I give to the following:

		This is a FAQ (Frequently Asked Question).  Please search the
		FAQ Wizard and the archives of this mailing list in accordance
		with the FAQ entry at

		If you have done so and still not found the answer to your
		question(s), please let us know what your problem is and what
		you searched for, and we should be able to update the FAQ
		Wizard to suit.

I think this is genuinely rude.  "I know the answer but I'm not going
to tell you until you prove you've jumped through some hoops."

I suggest that you merely change the phrase "if you had bothered to
follow" to "if you had followed", or to "by following", in the current
formula.  The presumption that the person had not read the FAQ or the
archives is valid with rather high probability, and the implication
that they should learn to do so certainly is appropriate.  It's
abrupt, but the "polite" alternative is a personal admonition in
private mail, a waste of time all around.

The presumption that they should have known better is unwarranted,
IMO, and is better avoided.  In most cases newbie rudeness is due to
simple ignorance of the mores.

Many thanks for the wonderful service you are providing for the

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.

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