If you are seeking help in a Usenet newsgroup or
on a Web forum, this resource will ensure that you do not
get the technical assistance that you need to fix your computer
If you are offering technical support to others
on Usenet or on Web forums then this resource will help you to learn
how to not do it right.
If the link to this page
was given to you by someone on a Web forum or Usenet newsgroup it's
probably because they are trying to tell you
There are many people with the knowledge or information that you
seek, but posting questions like the ones above is a sure-fire way
of not getting many replies, if you get any at all that aren't rude
or abusive. Newsgroups and
forums are manned
by volunteers who give their time to help others, freely. Many of those
volunteers are very busy and cannot spare the time to decipher
nonsensical or hysterical gibberish, so your plaintive plea will
generally be ignored by those who can actually help you. Follow these simple tips
and help others to not help
you at all.
how do i fix window flashing all sorts of start up prompts all over
the screen to the point @ times i cannot move the mouse?
I did what tech support said to do and it didn't help. I couldn't
get any where with customer support either. Won't let me in anymore.
I have spent all day on this and have done several things to no
hello got a problem with moving XP to another partition (with win98
after copping old system to new HD I booted from floppy and typed
"sys h:" where h was a new partition and that was it - os would
start up no problem- xp doesn't have this command) please help out
I think it seems that the user was overwritten. Is there a way to
get these files back?
Something has happened to my moms computer awhile ago, Wheen u start
the computer half way through the start up it stops and its says
I managed to set up a peer network, but can not seem to get the
Internet access going. Any help would be great!
My computer crashed and gave me a blue screen with white writing.
What is wrong?
When I do any kind of thing like game, music, software ect... the
computer isn't reading it and there is nothing I can do to get it to
when i go to start up and click on something it tells me to goto set
up that there is a file missing or something, m how do i fix this
I HAVE NO CLUE ABOUT ANYTHING! MY EMAIL DOESN'T WORK AND I DON'T
KNOW WHAT MY PASSWORD IS!!!!!!? CAN YOU TELL ME MY PASSWORD
PLEASE???? SOMETHING HAS GONE WRONG! I KEEP GETTING AN ERROR
MESSAGE!!!! WHAT DOES IT MEAN????!!!!?????
when I fire up the PC, I get a
pop up saying "the interned is not available" (or
The subject line is almost as unimportant to your readers as
the body of your message.
Try not to draw attention to your message with a descriptive subject line. A good
subject line will help people avoid your question or problem
and to decide they do not want to help you at
A subject line of “Help!!!!!” or "It's broken" says nothing
at all about your problem, this is an excellent way to
attract wannabe technical types who don't know what they're
talking about, and to immediately repel
anyone who truly knows their stuff. A subject line of
“Problem installing win98 programs on XP” lets everyone know
basically what information you are seeking or what you need
assistance with and must be avoided at all costs.
If your subject line is clear, concise and to the point
then those who feel they have experience in the
general area indicated by your subject line will immediately
have their attention drawn to your message; this is not a
good thing if you don't really want their assistance.
Remember, your technical problem is unimportant to you so
you must make others feel the same about it. Just
make up a bland, non-descript subject line such as "pooter
problem" or, better still, "hello everyone", then post away.
- Very Bad Subject
message in XP
Command line for Linux
What antivirus do you
How can I boot to DOS in
Problems connecting old HP
LaserJet 2100 to XP Pro
- Very Good Subject
pooter not working
Vista makes me want to slit
Any of you out there have a
laptop with a solid-state drive as your main hard
drive and a super quiet economical Socket 754 CPU
Cooling fan????? I've looked everywhere and need
some advice please!!!!
Messages with this kind of subject must contain
nothing in the message body except the words "as
If you get an error message, never exactly state in your
post what that error message tells you. Always include vague
and nebulous expansions to indicate your utter disinterest
in having the problem solved, like this:
"I get a blue screen with some white
writing on it. It says something about an error blah blah
blah or something like that!!!!"
Remember, "blah blah blah" is an excellent substitute for
technical information, especially when you're not genuinely
interested in having the problem fixed.
If you feel you haven't adequately described the problem and
need some highly technical terms to cover up your lack of
technical knowledge, use as many of the following terms as
- Dooverlackie, or
- Whatchamacallit, or
thingamajig, or thingamajigger
- Dohickey, dojiggy
- The thing that you
use to do that other thing
- blah blah blah
Do Not Include any
Necessary or Relevant Details
Not including relevant or necessary details may be somewhat difficult to achieve. Since you can't
fix the problem yourself, you cannot be expected to know
what information to include or not include.
"My computer freezes" is a woefully inadequate description
of your problem and you are almost guaranteed not to get
replies from knowledgeable people; some tin-pot wannabe
might have a go at replying, and lead you down the garden
path, filling your head with utter rubbish, but a
technically competent person will think twice about
answering because the technically competent person will
suspect, and probably rightfully too, that getting the
necessary technical information out of you will be like
extracting your teeth without anaesthetic.
If, say, your computer freezes, never say under what
circumstances the freeze occurs. If only one application
freezes, do not say which one, in fact, do not even hint
that only one application freezes. If many of your programs
freeze, do not say so. If the freeze occurs at regular
intervals that you could set your watch to, do not say so;
instead you should assert that the freezing is completely
random and totally unpredictable. Why? Because the people
who are willing to help you, for no charge and often at a
cost to themselves, have nothing better to do than run
around guessing the real symptoms of your problem. They need
to be forced to earn their wages, right?
Similarly, "I get a blue screen with some white writing on
it" is also acceptable if you don't want to get the help you
desperately need. The average helpful Usenet or Web forum
reader will just laugh and move on to try and help the next
If there is anything on the screen that looks like it might
be important, under no circumstances should you write it
down using a pen and paper. If you make the mistake of
writing the information down exactly as it appears on the
screen then make sure that you do not include the
information in your message.
Here is a fine and wholly genuine example (yes, it's real)
of how to post about your computer problem. Spill the beans
and share the ins and outs of your chaotic family life with
the world, like this guy did:
First I apologize. Looking at the
newsgroups through MS's web site I know
microsoft.public.windowsxp.work_remotely exists; but my ISP
doesn't carry it or it's not available externally so I'm
posting here to see if anyone can help.
I'm running XP Pro here in PA. My sister in NYC is also
running XP Pro. The finace in NJ has it also, with 7 users
(not all her kids, thankfully, but five of them are). My
father (the least experienced of all at 75 years of age) I
donated my copy of Win 2K Pro to. He's in Canada and I went
there to set it up for him and spent some time teaching him
a few things before I went back to PA at the end of my
Now they're all set up with each person's permission I'd
like to be able take control or at least help remotely with
out having to travel 100 miles one way - except the
girlfriend of course or have to visit my father in Canada
too soon. I know XP has remote abilities; are they enabled
as is? Do I need to go to SMS for remote administration?
What about crossing domain lines? How can I go about
establishing network drives? I know I have to share out a
drive or a portion of it. But when I try to connect even
within the "rcn.com" domain, but across state lines I cannot
find the other machine. What am I missing here? Thanks in
At least we know his family life is intriguing.
He could have trimmed the entire post down to a single
question: "How do I establish network drives through remote
administration?", but because of his failure to be clear and
concise he got abused by posters, which is what he really wanted.
Surely he didn't want to solve his problem, did he?
One other point, the poster who wrote the above did
something that he should not have done. He nominated the
operating systems involved in his problem. However if you
make the same
oversight then you can be balance it all out by neglecting
to include your hardware specifications.
Can You Reproduce the
If you know the exact steps needed to recreate the problem
that you are experiencing then never state them, not ever.
“My icons don't work” doesn't mean anything. What icons? Are
they in a menu? What menu? On the desktop? For what
application? The murkier the details of your problem, the
quicker you will not get a reply. If you can reproduce the
problem and articulate the steps that cause it then those
who are willing to help you will be in a much better
position to do so, which is to be avoided at all costs.
Happened Weeks or Months Ago
Some people will tell you that there is no point posting
about your problem if it occurred three weeks ago on your
90-year old mother's computer who happens to live on a
different continent and whom you just happened to be
visiting while you on a whirlwind whistle-stop tour. You
will be told it is a pointless exercise because you can't
reproduce the problem, nor can you provide any
additional meaningful information about the symptoms, nor
can you access the machine and perform any troubleshooting
steps you might be asked to take. In short, anything you
tell a technical person about even a one-week old problem
will be suspect to that technical person therefore the older
the problem the better.
If anyone takes you to task for posting about old problems
that you have no hope of troubleshooting, you just tell them
where to stick their opinion and post your questions about
ancient problems anyway, even if it's just to see if some
fool will reply to you. Heck, it's your time you're wasting,
Cross Posting and
Relevant Forums or Groups
If you have a technical problem, cross-posting to relevant
newsgroups is not good. Don't stand for anyone telling you
Posters make two big mistakes with cross-posts. The first
is, they cross-post a single message to multiple relevant
groups; Instead they should post the exact same message to
five different groups or forums by making five different
posts in the space of a few minutes. This is totally
counter-productive posting because nobody in the other
places that you've posted to will be aware of any advice you
may have received in some other group. This causes those
people with the answers to spend their time seeing the same
post in many different places, whereupon they get frustrated
and promptly ignore your plea for help, which is, don't
forget, what you are aiming for. The next time you need
help, experienced people who remember you will be even more
reluctant to help you. Success!
The second big mistake with cross-posting is, posters
cross-post a single message to multiple relevant groups;
instead they should post the exact same message to five
different groups in five different posts, then they should
post the very same series of messages every day for one full
week without mentioning what advice they were given
previously, and without mentioning why they feel the need to
repost the same question all over again to five different
groups in five separate posts on seven separate days.
So, never, ever cross-post a single message into multiple
relevant groups, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise
because your intent is clear; you don't want anyone's help
at all, do you?
If you are intent on generating vigorous feedback then
cross-post a Windows XP question into a Linux forum or group,
for example. You have an issue that needs resolving and you
are entitled to the widest possible audience, even if the
audience has no idea what your problem might be.
it to E-Mail
Always ask for replies by e-mail; this way, nobody other
than you benefits from any advice you may be given and
nobody learns for the next time someone comes along with a
similar problem. Besides, if you can't be bothered reading
the group or forum, it's perfectly reasonable for you to
demand e-mail replies, right?
Sometimes you'll get unlucky and someone will send you an
e-mail, but mostly the people who reply to you in e-mail
generally don't post into the group because the other
posters in the group deride them for their often silly and
stupid advice that is likely to cause you far more grief
than you can bear. However not resolving your technical
problem and getting more grief than you already have is your
true objective in not getting good technical assistance,
attracting techno-morons who will mess up your system or
endlessly waste your time is highly desirable.
The natural benefit of newsgroups and Web forums is that
messages about your problem appear in search engine results,
so anyone who has a similar problem cannot benefit from your
experience if the information is in your e-mail inbox. Heck,
you spent days sorting the mess out, right? Why on earth
should you let others benefit from your now exceedingly
great knowledge in solving your particular problem?
Asking for the problem to be taken to e-mail is almost
guaranteed to attract people who don't know what they are
doing because they can safely tell you whatever they like,
safe and secure in the knowledge that their peers (read
detractors) cannot review their bad advice and make
corrections. So, if you are certain that you do not want
good help, and if you are bent on making sure that your
problem gets far worse than it already is, by all means, ask
for it to be taken to e-mail.
Start as Many New
Threads as Possible
Under no circumstances should you keep all of your replies
within the single thread that you started off with. When you
are asked to provide additional information, start a
completely new thread. This scatters information about the
place and makes it almost impossible to go back through
the history of messages to review them for any clues to the
likely cause. Technical people find this exceedingly
annoying and it's guaranteed to get you abused, which is
what you really want. Really, who in their right mind needs
a pressing technical problem solved as quickly and
painlessly as possible?
If your newsreader or Web forum allows you to mark your
message as being watched then steadfastly refuse to use the
feature so that you can never find your thread again.
Technical people, being what they are, do not take kindly to
being forced to read bits of detail here and bits there so
creating many new threads without reference to what happened
previously is a great way to ensure that they either abuse
you or avoid you.
Keep it Irrelevant
and Keep 'em Dancing
If you are hell-bent on getting nowhere in a hurry with your
computer problem, break your posts into little bits and
create new threads all over the place to see if you can get
someone to do a merry jig down the garden path, prancing and
dancing and leaping and praising nature behind you as you
prance and dance yourself to the tune of your own
scatterbrain posts by giving your helpers the run-around
with useless details. Also draw innumerable obtuse
conclusions from broadly general information that isn't
pertinent to the problem. Your would-be helpers will take
your message-posting style as indicating that you are fully
focussed on the task at hand, which is, if they interpret your
posts correctly, ensuring that the problem never gets fixed.
The very last thing you want to have is clarity of thought
Preserving the Content of the Message
You must be obsessively over-enthusiastic about snipping. In
fact, snip everything, especially if you didn't write it
because you are the one with the problem therefore it is far
more important that others listen to you rather than you
listen to them. When you reply to someone who wants
more detail from you, snip out all of their text so that
nobody knows what you are talking about when they read your
You are the one with the problem that you cannot solve
therefore you are the one who is in the very best position
to know what should and should not be snipped. Snipping is a
wholly logical thing to do if your intent is to not get
If snipping is needed, do not let the people who are helping
you decide what is and isn't required; if they snip your
text because they they feel it's not needed, you go right
ahead and put it back in. How dare they?
Keep in mind that you are not the only person being helped.
It is not uncommon for a helpful poster to be dealing with
five or six other problems at once. Eradicating all of the
previous text from your reply or simply not quoting anything
at all is a sure-fire way to get
nowhere fast. Well, people may be very quick to abuse you
for doing this kind of thing, so that's something.
Helping Others When
you Can't Fix your Own Problems
Trying to solve the problems of other people when you can't
even solve your own problems is a very good way to upset a
lot of people who might be able to help you. This technique
really gets up the noses of technical types, and if you
really do want to make them mad at you so that your problem
never gets fixed then this trick will do it.
The fact that you have posted a request for help into a
newsgroup or Web forum automatically conveys qualifications
upon you to provide technical advice to anyone you see fit
on any issue you desire to expound upon. That you know of someone who owns a
computer or that you have heard rumours of anyone owning a
computer in your local area fully qualifies you to provide
technical responses. Posters who use this neat trick almost
always follow the bigjon (jhyatt@NOSPAMtopqualityfreeware.com)
rule of technical support:
The bigjon Rule of Technical Support:
"I just post thoughts and ideas that
may or may not be of use."
By applying the bigjon rule, you should be in a position to
reply to the following genuine problem:
"My system hard disk is developing
problems and I want to transfer the contents of C: to a new
drive without buying new software to do this (e.g I do not
want to have to buy Norton Ghost)."
If you correctly apply the bigjon rule, your advice would
"Use Norton Ghost."
If you think the above is intended to be humorous, it isn't.
"bigjon" posted exactly what you see above.
Applying the bigjon rule of technical support can get you
into an argument with the original poster who has the
problem that you are not qualified to solve. In cases where
you do get yourself into an argument because you tried to
solve a problem for someone else while not being able to
solve your own problems then you can always apply the gregh
rule of technical support:
"Look, you low-grade moron, you got
The gregh rule of technical support is, "An answer is an
answer, no matter how stupid it is and you are a thankless
piece of trash for not knowing that."
And again, like the bigjon example, the above is a true and
correct representation of real events. If you want to
succeed at getting nowhere in a hurry with your technical
problem then try to solve other people's problems using the
bigjon and gregh methods. Success at failure to get the help
you don't really need is guaranteed.
Not Take Any Advice Given to you, or Vigorously Dispute the
It is quite acceptable to receive top-notch technical advice
but to NOT take that advice and instead accuse the helpful
poster in the newsgroup or forum of not knowing anything at
all. If you have preconceived ideas of what the fix should
be then you should immediately proceed to dispute the advice
that anyone provides you with. You're on a fast track to the
twit list with this trick and it's highly recommended that
use this technique in conjunction with the bigjon anf gregh
techniques previously mentioned. If you have no intentions
of taking the advice and desire only to dispute it, ensure
that you construct a question that elicits only the reply
you are specifically looking for. A good example question is
"Do I have to have two different programs or is there a way
to put one program on two computers?"
If the advice you get is good advice then indicate your
displeasure by asserting that you DO NOT like the advice.
Persist in demanding only answers that will make you feel
better and get you on the twit list. An especially effective
strategy to getting nowhere fast is if you also ensure that
you give absolutely no indication whatsoever about what you
are trying to do or achieve or why you think such and such
is the technical truth, and certainly never give away
whatever it was that led you to your conclusion. Here is a
good example of how to get nowhere in a hurry; the example
categorically, albeit erroneously, states what the cause of
the problem is then demands a fix that will stuff up the
system completely. In short, it asks the wrong question:
"As Windows installer was required I
made a download from Microsoft, yet soon after I discovered
that it now was impossible to leave a website in my browser
without using the reset function. I have a lot of
indications pointing at a problem in the Installer, so how
can I get rid of it?
Disputing the advice you get, demanding only answers
that will not fix your problem, and deliberately asking the
wrong questions by trying to expand your limited knowledge
into something that it isn't, are all excellent strategies if you
truly want to excel at not getting the help you need.
Nine times out of ten, posters to newsgroups and Web forums
DO NOT know what a search engine is, let alone know how to
use one. Refusing to use a search engine is acceptable in
groups or forums where you might expect to obtain technical
support but don't really want it. The losers in forums and
groups who freely give their time to help you have plenty
more free time on their hands and should be more than happy
to undertake a search for you.
If you are posting into a newsgroup or forum and you do
actually know how to use a search engine, simply exercise
sheer mental laziness and superiority by expressing your
firm expectation that some mug in the group will do the
you. By refusing to use a search engine first then insisting
that someone else does it for you, you may wait for days for
a response, which is a good deal better than the 1 second it
takes to start your browser, plus ten seconds to think up
some keywords, plus the 0.12 seconds it takes for Google to
search almost the entire web for you.
If you are truly serious about not solving your computer
problem then employing downright arrogance and outright
rudeness is always an excellent way to guarantee that your
problem remains unresolved.
By offering thanks in advance you are indicating that you
desire an immediate fix, that is, you do not wish to answer
any pertinent questions; this is true because you should
offer thanks when the problem is fixed, not before. In
short, by offering thanks in advance you are asserting that
you desire no further interaction with the posters in the
newsgroup or Web forum who can help you. Furthermore you are
asserting that you are only willing to read the replies of
others without you replying back to them. If you post thanks in
advance you can expect to be told to get lost in advance,
which is a highly desirable outcome if you don't want your
problem sorted out.
Another generally accepted principle is that when you obtain
a clear cut solution, which did not work, never say why it
did not work. Better still, don't even hint at what happened
when you tried the solution. And even better again, don't
try the solution.
If you are offered a solution that doesn't work, under no
circumstances should you reply with any notion or indication of what
happened, and you must make it clear to whomever it was that
helped you that you no longer wish to accept advice from
them. To achieve this objective, simply reply to your helper
with "It didn't work. Anyone got any better suggestions?"
Become a Pest
If you truly desire to become the pariah of your favourite
newsgroup or Web forum then being a pest who asks
innumerable simple questions is your ticket to infamy. Post
the following series of clear but simplistic questions, one,
perhaps two, each day, to your favourite group or forum.
Don't forget to post them in the order shown:
Also make sure you post lots of test messages with "TEST!
TEST! TEST!" or "TEST! Is
this thing working?" in the subject field. The best
way to post test messages is to make it clear in the subject
that your message is a test and to leave the body of the
message completely empty. If your Web forum or newsgroup
service is functioning correctly there will be many eager
helpers replying to you and advising you of your success.
- New to computers.
Where is the best place to learn?
- How do I get
- What is email?
- How do I get an
- What is an ISP?
- How do I logon to
- Anyone here live in
Herring, Alaska that knows a good local ISP?
- My pooter is
broken. Anybody know of a repair shop in Herring,
- Sorry, I forgot.
How do I logon to Windows again?
- There are only two
numbers in the phone book for Herring, Alaska. Where
else can I find a repair shop here?
- Haha, silly me. I
forgot again. How do I logon?
If you read a post in a newsgroup or on a Web forum that
vaguely reminds you of a similar situation, reply with "Hey!
Date and Time
If you want a fast response to your plight then set your PC
clock forward by at least 48 hours before posting. This way,
your message remains on the top of the stack and guarantees
that anyone entering the group will see your message first.
It also guarantees you lots of abuse and no solution to your
Overstep the Mark
with Grossly Exaggerated Expectations
Just because someone may have been kind enough to help you
once you have every right to the expectation that the helper
is at your beck and call. Here are some very common examples
of how to overstep the mark:
One final example of overstepping the mark is in order. The
poster in this example seems to change his posting identity
every year. in 2002 he was d2002xx, in 2003 he is
d2003xx. d2003xx has a massive noise to signal ratio and has
made a complete twit out of himself in his continual quest
to perpetuate Linux v Windows arguments. d2003xx suddenly found himself genuinely needing
assistance with Windows XP, but nobody in the group would help him, so he
exercised his frustration by accusing people of not knowing
My business depends on you helping me!
- In this example,
you need professional assistance. Many
of the helpers on Usenet and Web forums are also professionals,
not going to get the help you need unless you are prepared
to fly your helper across the world, business class at
least, all expenses paid. However if you have the money to
waste, please feel free to indicate just how much cash you
are prepared to part with for someone to come over and fix
it for you.
I know this Web forum is for Windows XP and I got good
advice here before. I just figured you guys knew your stuff
and that you wouldn't mind helping me with ideas on how to
dispose of my dead cat, which is now rotting in the
vegetable crisping compartment of my refrigerator. Sorry to
have bothered you, you bunch of ungrateful ratbags.
- In this example, if the helpers in the group had knowledge or
interest in the field of helping people dispose of dead cats
then it is reasonable to assume they would also
be subscribed to an appropriate group or Web forum that
dealt with the disposal of dead cats.
There is an enormous number of services
listed on my computer. Anyone know which I need and which I
don't (in both startup and services)? Anyone know what
each one actually does? Thanks in advance for any help.
- In this example the solution is to use a Search Engine, but
if you've learnt any lessons from this page the one you
need to remember at all times is NEVER USE A SEARCH
ENGINE, even if you do know how to use one.
I have this programming problem
that involves complex statistical calculations...
- [Five pages
You need to hire a programmer with statistical
experience, or at least you need a programmer who
can understand your algorithms. However since your
intent is to get nowhere at all, other than
resoundingly abused, you have every right to expect
that some mug will offer to do the work for free
therefore you should close your five page
dissertation with a line like this:
- Anyone got time to knock up a
sample that will solve this?
- If that doesn't rile up your
would-be helpers, nothing will.
d2003xx had no understanding of the
subtle difference between "can not help" and "will not help".
If you are to succeed in your quest to fail in getting the
help you need then you must never be able to recognise the
ever so slight difference between someone refusing to help
you and not being able to help you. In all cases, accuse
everyone of not being able to help you because they are
stupid and don't know the answer.
Death by Asphyxiation
Five technical people died of asphyxiation trying to read
this post. To have the same effect on those who are silly
enough to help you, never use commas or full stops. Not
everyone can read posts like this and still remember to
breathe, so the longer your post is and the lower the punctuation
count, the better chance you have
of not getting help:
ok on my computer I had a word pad
that had a paper that I typed for my school and when iwent
to get it and send it my word pad vanished when i went to my
documents I found what i was looking for BUT it says this
file dose not have a program associated with it for
preforming this action create and association in the control
panel file option when I went to do that I got lost I really
need to get that back its for my school and its very
important please help me katherine ps please help me in mail
i dont have time to read this gruop coz i have to get ready
for a date with martin hes really cute
IF YOU HAVE A VIRUS, ATTACH IT TO YOUR POST.
This is vital. Posts about possible viruses cannot be
answered without the actual virus being attached. Make sure
you do this.
How To Not Give
Technical Assistance #1
As mentioned previously, as soon as you have posted your very first
technical question to a
newsgroup or Web forum you have earned the right to assert that you
are automatically qualified as an expert
computer problem solver. If you want to stand apart from the
crowd of technical whizzes in your favourite group or forum
then you can
use this troubleshooting guide to display your monumental
technical genius. Whenever someone posts a
technical problem, simply ask this series of questions, one
annoying post at a time:
- Describe the
- Now describe the problem accurately.
- Please speculate wildly about the cause of the problem.
- How severe is the
- Mildly annoying
- How will you feel
when you are told that your question is stupid?
- Is the computer plugged in?
- Is the computer turned on?
- Have you read the manual?
- Are you sure you've read the manual?
- Are you absolutely certain you've read the manual?
- Do you think you understood the manual?
- Yes? If you
understood the manual, why can't you fix the problem yourself?
- No? Why buy a computer if you don't understand them?
- Are you sure you aren't imagining the problem?
- Have you tried to fix it yourself?
- Yes? You fool.
- No? Try to fix it yourself.
- Have you made it worse?
- Yes? You fool.
- No? Oh well,
- Will you get into trouble?
- Yes? You fool.
- No? Oh well,
- Can you blame someone else?
- Yes? Problem solved.
- No? Go back to Question 16.
How To Not Give
Technical Assistance #2
Do not read anything that posters in need of help write.
Instead, to support your impromptu and ill-considered
technical position, offer an interpretation of what you
thought they might have said. You may also expand on this by
offering an opinion of what you think they should have said.
If you are inadvertently forced to read something written by
a poster seeking help, never read it in sequential order and
certainly never, ever, read the post in context. It is
imperative to try to understand what _you_
think the help-seeker is trying to convey rather than what
he or she is actually attempting to say. Reading a post from
a help-seeker in any sort of order will only retard your
assessment of what you think they might have or should have
If you find yourself reading a request for help from an
assistance-seeker, you should take great care to remember
that what you think the person meant to say is far more
important than what he or she really tried to say.
You should always interpret posts that are seeking your help
as actually describing the way the poster of the message
actually thinks, though this does not apply if the
help-seeker is trying to describe the way they think things
should be. This is an extremely difficult call to make and
if you are having difficulty confusing the help-seeker just
take the message out of context, misquote it and use it in
evidence against them. This is a very good fallback position
because help-seekers are so worried about their technical
problem that they rarely ever notice what you've done, and
also because you are superior by default because you are a
technical person and they know no better. However be aware
that some nations have a Constitution to protect the rights
of citizens thus some help-seekers have the right to remain
stupid despite your assertions to the contrary.
You should always, and at all times, consider every
help-seeker to be vacuous and stupid and you should treat
them accordingly, with great rudeness and superciliousness.
Do not allow bleating and whining help-seekers to convince
you that you are being unfair to them as their tactics will
merely divert you from the truth, which is that people
needing help are stupid and incapable of helping themselves,
therefore they should be treated with great disdain.
Remember that help-seekers always post complete
fabrications, which are devoid of scholarship and never
contain a single considered thought that might assist you to
solve the problem. It is best to skip a help-seeker's
requests for help altogether because only very small
fragments of their posts will be meaningful anyway. This
rule does not apply if you had a bad day at work and need a
punching-bag to take your frustrations out on.
If you must reply to a post from a help-seeker in order to
prove that you are right and the help-seeker is wrong then
the following procedure will assist you:
Cut out all the odd-numbered paragraphs from the
help-seeker's post. Keep only every even-numbered sentence
from the remaining odd-numbered paragraphs; this can be
varied according to the phases of the seasons, the days of
the week, or even the music being played on the radio. For
example, if today is Wednesday and it is winter and Elvis
Presley music is being played on the radio then cut out
three lines from each paragraph, cut out every second
paragraph that is left, cut the last sentence and paste it
to where the first one was.
If you are not too concerned about being sensitive to the
needs of help-seekers and if you do not care about their
self-esteem then, by all means, paste quotes from other
people's messages and force the help-seeker to admit they
were his or her own words.
It is quite acceptable and within the limits of permissible
discussion with a help-seeker to leave words, phrases,
sentences, and entire paragraphs out of the quote. It is
also allowable to engage in stealthy fact swapping and
expansive exaggeration in order to conceal and confuse the
original context of the help-seeker's problem beyond
recognition. In short, if it is to your benefit and to the
help-seeker's disadvantage, it is allowable. However you
should be wary of even hinting to the help-seeker that you
have done any of these things because the help-seeker may
become psychotic and start following you from one newsgroup
or Web forum to the next, maniacally posting 90kb messages
containing what he or she thinks is proof that you are
If you feel that the help-seeker you are trying to assist is
attempting any of these devices then you should wail loudly
and accuse the help-seeker of typical small-mindedness,
under-handed fact swapping, deception, deceitfulness,
treachery, dishonesty, duplicity, perfidy ... and use
whatever other words your superior (by default) education
has provided to your repertoire of imposing words and
In conclusion, the method outlined here for engaging
help-seekers will almost guarantee that you will be in the
forefront of their battered mind... along with his or her
psychoses, hallucinations, nausea, dizziness, anxiety, panic
attacks, insomnia, confusion and depression.
If you play the technical support game right, you can bypass
the help-seeker's conscious mind (well, what little there is
of it, anyway) and enter whatever information you so desire
directly into their thick bone-heads and they'll never ever
know -- unless you keep archives and rub their faces in your
victory when they psychotically chase you around the
Internet yelling, "I WIN! I WIN! I WIN!"
Remember now, what is important is what _you_
claim the help-seeker said, not what the help-seeker
_actually_ said. You are technically superior to the person
seeking help so you have earned the right to be untruthful,
deceptive, ambiguous, arrogant, condescending, pompous,
patronising, scornful and wishy-washy. Who cares? The
help-seeker might, but does anyone else?