Monday, November 15, 2010

Silence is greater than Misinformation

A little bit information is a dangerous thing.

This is one of my favorite quotes. Odds are you have all met someone to whom this statement could apply. That person who just started using Linux and thinks it is the be all, end all to all the problems in the (computing) world. Or that friend who just built their first computer from scratch and suddenly knows everything there is to know about putting hardware together.

Countless times I have gone seeking help on various message boards or chat rooms and more times than I care to count I received down right bad or misinformed answers. Now to date none of the "help" I have found was intentionally viscous, but a few times I realized the information I was being given was not relevant (or was hurtful) to the goal I was trying to accomplish. I am not trying to say that you need to be an expert to help someone with a problem they are having. Just please, if you are not 100% sure of the information you are providing - let the person know this! At least this way if the information turns out to be faulty the person was warned instead of being caught by surprise.

Anyone else ever experience an issue such as this when trying to find technical help on the web?

~Jeff Hoogland


  1. Most of the advice on most forums is crap. has usually been accurate. Even if the response is "You're doing it wrong", or silence, at least it's accurate. Sometimes I see very accurate replies like: "good luck with that".

    Windows enthusiasts and non-nix IT people tend to give the worst or most redundant (but spun to sound original) advice. These people are ruining computing and IT. .

  2. IT depts are and have been run by conservatives. Lots of people grew up on Microsoft's way of administrating a server. That is a point and click way of doing everything, even if it can be done far more efficiently on a CLI.

    I'm not sure when computing and IT became a religion, but you'd think as resistant as people are to change that that's what it's become.

  3. I would say that the last comment is exactly an example of the issue addressed in the article. While I agree that IT departments are run by conservatives, this is exactly the reasons why UNIX and Linux-based systems prevail there.
    I have only met younger sysadmins who subscribe to Windows methods; all the old-schoolers run something from the *nix family.
    Having said that, learning these systems is like with everything else, say, karate, sex and choice of newspaper, there is a great balance in teaching the newcomers that while one can believe to be choosing the best approach of all, modesty and a respectful approach should still be the basis of it.

  4. Hello ,
    I understand your problems... as newbie in Linux world... when i had a problem in GRUB Boot...I was helpless during that i go to the chatroom in Xhat IRC....some chatters help me like a foolish information that they gave me...later on I realized that self-study and more research is better than go to the Xchat IRC...
    There is no substitute for Self-reliance..

  5. That`s when Google is my best friend, lol. I always go to more than one source, then compare answers.

  6. "intentionally viscous"????


    "Judge not that ye be not judged."