Andreas Sliwka andreas.sliwka at gmail.com
Wed Oct 10 16:23:39 PDT 2007

  your situation might be comparable to someone being stuck and lost
in a foreign land. You call someone with your mobile and ask them to
lead you to your destination, and you do it politely. And you expect
them to help you.

  The problem is that
a) the one you call needs to know where you are to know in which
direction you have to go. If you dont tell them how your surroundings
look (by showing your code) how can they help you? On the other hand
(see Charles H. T. Tchabo's thread) giving too much information isnt
always helping, so you somehow have to find the right amount level of
detail. This is not easy (I had similar problems, and more than once),
but you'll get it right in time.

b) You have to make clear where you want to go. The clearer you can
make this the better are your chances. And sometimes its better to be
not to specific, instead of asking for a Hotel named "the royal" with
a westwards facing bar with red plush couches and heineken on tap just
ask where the next hotel is.

c) The closer you are to your wanted destination the easier it is to
help you, and the easier it is to help you the more likely is that
someone will help you. If the distance between your current and your
wanted destination is to big you can break the problem down into
smaller ones, each of them easier to answer than the big question.

d) the person you ask is not a paid problem solver, so don't blame
them if they can't help you. You can raise your chances by making it
more interesting to them, by putting the question in simple words or
to make it a riddle that challenges the others. But you can't demand
that they help you, it's all up to them.

To sum this up: To get the most out of a mailing list you have to find
the right way of asking.
Be persistent (no pun intended).

Hope this helps,


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