Some advice on how to respond on another site


Hello. I have had cause to ask some questions in the FreeBSD forum recently. Most of the folk there are that perfect combination of being very clever and very helpful. There is one character there, however, who seems to be so up himself… well you know the sort. His latest dismissive comment was “As a side-note: all of this could have been fully clear to you from studying the FreeBSD handbook; it explains all these basic aspects just for that reason.”. Perhaps that’s true, but the aforementioned FreeBSD handbook is not light reading. It appears to have been written by uber-geeks for uber-geeks. If I glance at it for more than 5 minutes, I get attacks of tldr;!

How can I respond to this person?"

[Amended to remove the expletive and the violent (not that I would have dared!) tone}


i feel like, for such people, there really isn’t any good response. maybe that’s defeatist, though.

the way i see it, though, the response to ‘rtfm’ is that asking public questions and getting public responses is an exercise in wtfm: writing the manual. those public questions and responses add to the body of available documentation and, while it is true that this results in multiple explanations of the same material, redundancy is often a good thing. many people often need to read different separate explanations of the same material to truly grok the material, especially if it’s difficult or they’re new learners. i mean, how many different posts on monads did i have to read before it clicked? easily nine. shouts out to whomever it was who asked that tired question the ninth time!


Are there mods for the forum? I agree with @gbhorwood that there isn’t really a good response that you can make as a contributor, and ideally you shouldn’t be the one that has to deal with it either. This is where good mods come in to play, as they should be the ones to work on community culture and to work with this individual. If you feel this is something worth fighting for, I would recommend reading through their CoC, which they should have, and report the user. There are, of course, multiple “shoulds” in this paragraph though…if the mods won’t do anything about it (for whatever reason), then there’s really nothing you can do unfortunately :-/