[Tutor] On asking for help

Deirdre Saoirse deirdre@deirdre.net
Tue, 2 Jan 2001 10:31:55 -0800 (PST)

I wish I didn't feel it necessary to write this, but I've had eight
requests for help over the weekend that didn't go through the list.

Please ask any questions about python coding ON the list. Please do NOT
email questions directly to the list owners (i.e. myself and Wes Chun) or
to frequent posters.

Frankly, that's what leads to burnout on help lists.

A variant on this is: you post a question, someone answers, and then you
follow up to them privately, omitting the list. Please don't, unless it's
an acknowledgement. If you still have questions, please post them to the

We don't get paid for this. We help on this list so everyone can learn
and, much as it might seem odd, so that we learn more.

If you single out one of us, you may reach someone who doesn't know the
answer to your question. You may reach someone who won't be reading their
email right away.  Even if we read our email, we may not be in a situation
to devote our attention to the problem -- like while I was in the middle
of debugging email setup on a server migration this weekend -- and
received three of the eight requests. In other words, you will lengthen
the time until you have the help you need if you omit the list.

Most of us have jobs and lives. In my case, I work full-time, am a
newlywed and am completing one master's degree (Computer Science) while
starting another (Creative Writing). My spare time is negative already. If
that isn't bad enough, I've received 228 emails so far today; yesterday, I
received 594.

Thus, please understand that, if I say I won't help you offlist, it's not
personal. I have a lot to do -- especially this week.


Homework is something of a special case. One person recently has posted a
problem that is clearly a homework problem they don't understand -- but
didn't identify it as such. No one has helped.

If you paste code or an abtract problem and ask for help, you probably
won't get any. However, if you say, "this is the problem, this is what I
understand about it and this is what I'm confused about," likely you'll
get more help.

_Deirdre      *      http://www.sfknit.org      *      http://www.deirdre.net 
"We have an open door policy." -- Sheridan
"And an open airlock policy." -- Ivanova