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Date:      Sun, 29 Sep 1996 17:02:01 -0700 (PDT)
From:      Greg Lehey <grog>
Subject:   How to get best results from FreeBSD-questions
Message-ID:  <>

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How to get the best results from FreeBSD questions.

Last update 7 May 1996.

This is a regular posting aimed to help both those seeking advice from
FreeBSD-questions (the "newcomers"), and also those who answer the
questions (the "hackers"**).  In the past, there has been some
friction which stems from the different viewpoints of the two groups.
The newcomers accused the hackers of being arrogant, stuck-up, and
unhelpful, while the hackers accused the newcomers of being stupid,
unable to read plain English, and expecting everything to be handed to
them on a silver platter.  Of course, there's an element of truth in
both these claims, but for the most part these viewpoints come from a
sense of frustration.

In this document, I'd like to do something to relieve this frustration
and help everybody get better results from FreeBSD-questions.  I'm
taking the viewpoint of the newcomer here: we have other ways of
handling arrogant hackers :-)

When submitting a question to FreeBSD-questions, please remember:

1.  Nobody gets paid for answering a FreeBSD question.  They do it of
    their own free will.  You can influence this free will positively
    by submitting a well-formulated question supplying as much
    relevant information as possible.  You can influence this free
    will negatively by submitting an incomplete, illegible, or rude
    question.  It's perfectly possible to send a message to
    FreeBSD-questions and not get an answer.  In the rest of this
    document, we'll look at how to get the most out of your question
    to FreeBSD-questions.

2.  Not everybody who answers FreeBSD questions reads every message,
    so please specify a subject.  "FreeBSD problem" or "Can't get this
    to work" aren't enough.  If you provide no subject at all, most
    people won't bother reading it.  If your subject isn't specific
    enough, the people who can answer it may not read it.

3.  Please try to format your message so that it is legible, and
    PLEASE DON'T SHOUT!!!!!.  We appreciate that a lot of people don't
    speak English as their first language, and we try to make
    allowances for that, but it's really painful to try to read a
    message written full of typos or without any line breaks.

4.  Please don't include unrelated questions in the same message.
    Firstly, a long message tends to scare people off, and secondly,
    it's more difficult to get all the people who can answer all the
    questions to read the message.

5.  Please specify as much information as possible.  This is a
    difficult area, and we need to expand on what information you need
    to submit, but here's a start:

    - If you get error messages, don't say "I get error messages", say
      (for example) "I get the error message 'No route to host'".
    - If your system panics, don't say "My system panicked", say (for
      example) "my system panicked with the message 'free vnode
    - If you have difficulty installing FreeBSD, please tell us what
      hardware you have.  In particular, it's important to know the
      IRQs and I/O addresses of the boards installed in your machine.

6.  If you don't get an answer, there could be other reasons.  For
    example, the problem is so complicated that nobody knows the
    answer, or the person who does know the answer was offline.  If
    you don't get an answer after, say, a week, it might help to
    re-send the message.  If you don't get an answer to your second
    message, though, you're probably not going to get one from this
    forum.  Resending the same message again and again will only make
    you unpopular.

For example, let's assume you know the answer to the following
question.  You choose which of these two questions you would be more
prepared to answer:

Message 1:
Subject: (none)

I just can't get hits damn silly FereBSD system to workd, and Im really good at this tsuff, but I have never seen anythign sho difficult to install, it jst wont work whatever I try so why don't y9ou guys tell me what I doing wrong.


Message 2:
Subject: Problems installing FreeBSD

I've just got the FreeBSD 2.1 CD-ROM from Walnut Creek, and I'm having
a lot of difficulty installing it.  I have a 66 MHz 486 with 16 MB of
memory and an Adaptec 1540A SCSI board, a 1.2GB Quantum Fireball disk
and a Toshiba 3501XA CD-ROM drive.  The installation works just fine,
but when I try to reboot the system, I get the message "Missing
Operating System".


** Note that the term "hacker" has nothing to do with breaking into
   other people's computers.  The correct term for this activity is
   "cracker", but the popular press hasn't found out yet.  The FreeBSD
   hackers disapprove strongly of cracking security, and have nothing
   to do with it.

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