Here's why I don't answer your questions in a private thread

sofar
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Here's why I don't answer your questions in a private thread

by sofar » Thu Jan 24, 2019 21:05

Hi,

You asked me a question about some of my open source work. That's great. I appreciate the interest and your desire to learn something about something I made in the past or something that I may still be working on, even today.

But, I will not answer your question. This text is meant for you to understand why I'm not answering your question, and how you should get the answer to your question, and why it's better for everyone if you follow that method.

First, you asked me a question that is of interest to everyone. It wasn't something personal. It was something that everyone may just want to hear about.

By sending the question to me, in a private email or private message, you deprive everyone in the community from the knowledge that we could share and exchange, and instead ask me to treat this knowledge as a secret and give you a personalized reply.

You should know that my time is limited and I have a real job that I do that takes precedence. I also have a family and they take precedence. Then my pets take precedence over you. If you want to be higher on the priority list, you should start paying me, or ... marry me, or beg me for food twice a day pretending that the bowl is empty.

Second, I may not care about the project you're asking me about, or, I wasn't the only person who contributed to that project, even though my name is all over it. When you asked me in a private mail, you excluded everyone from the discussion.

Now, just know that I want you to get the answer you want. I'm not going to prevent you from getting your answer, either. It's just that I want you to understand that giving you an answer costs me, a lot, of time. Maybe it sounds odd, but, answering questions about open source projects consumes several hours of my time during my work hours. All the little questions add up. It's a lot, a lot, of time of just answering questions.

So, therefore, I want to maximize the benefit of the question, and answer.

And for that, I need you to ask the question on a public forum, so that everyone, everyone, can both read the question, and, because everyone can then also answer the question.

Because that way everyone can learn from the question, and everyone can learn from the answer. Not just you. Everyone. Also, I might not even give you the best answer, but at least there are other people who can also help you, and they may give you a far better answer. So you get a benefit from asking the question in a public forum.

On top of that, I enjoy the interactions and questions and I will try to answer your question too, and the other opinions and answers may help me to understand what people want, and that will result in a better open source project in the end.

So please, don't ask your open source questions in a private conversation. Ask them in a public forum that was created for the very purpose.
 

sofar
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Re: Here's why I don't answer your questions in a private th

by sofar » Thu Jan 24, 2019 21:06

Not a rant. I've written or tried to explain this to people before, so, I needed to write it down for posterity.

If you were sent here by me, please understand that it's not personal. :)
 

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kaeza
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Re: Here's why I don't answer your questions in a private th

by kaeza » Thu Jan 24, 2019 23:51

This deserves a big Thank You, and probably made a forum-wide sticky post.

So on behalf of many of us, Thank You Very Much.
Your signature is not the place for a blog post. Please keep it as concise as possible. Thank you!

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