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How To Not Get or Give Technical Assistance on Usenet and Web Forums

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 problem.

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 something.

Common Problem Descriptions
  • 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 avail.
  • 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 error something.
  • 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 work.
  • 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 problem?
  • 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 something similar)
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 Web 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.
Subject Line

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 all.

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 Lines:
    • CONFIG_LIST_FAILED error message in XP
    • Command line for Linux backup needed
    • What antivirus do you recommend?
    • How can I boot to DOS in Windows Vista?
    • Problems connecting old HP LaserJet 2100 to XP Pro
  • Very Good Subject Lines:
    • pooter not working
    • help plz
    • Vista makes me want to slit my throat!
    • 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!!!!
      • Important: Messages with this kind of subject must contain nothing in the message body except the words "as above".
Describing your Problem

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 you need:
  • Whatsit
  • Thingamabob
  • Gingamathingy
  • Dooverlackie, or doover
  • Whatchamacallit, or whatyoumaycallit
  • Thingy, thingamajig, or thingamajigger
  • Contraption
  • Dohickey, dojiggy or doodad
  • Fandangle
  • Gizmo
  • The thing that you use to do that other thing
  • Whatnot
  • 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 person.

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 holiday.

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 advance!


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 Problem?

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.
Problems that 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, right?
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 otherwise.

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.
 Take 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, therefore 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 and direction.
Snipping and 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 reply.

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 help.

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 be:

"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 an answer."

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.
 Do Not Take Any Advice Given to you, or Vigorously Dispute the Advice

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 you 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.
Search Engines

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 search for 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.
 Thanks in Advance

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.
 It Didn't Work

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:
  • New to computers. Where is the best place to learn?
  • How do I get internet access?
  • What is email?
  • How do I get an email address?
  • What is an ISP?
  • How do I logon to Windows?
  • Anyone here live in Herring, Alaska that knows a good local ISP?
  • My pooter is broken. Anybody know of a repair shop in Herring, Alaska?
  • 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?
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.

If you read a post in a newsgroup or on a Web forum that vaguely reminds you of a similar situation, reply with "Hey! Me too!"

 Posting 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 problem.
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:
  • 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, but you're 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 later]

      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.
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 the answer.

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
Viruses

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:
  1. Describe the problem.
  2. Now describe the problem accurately.
  3. Please speculate wildly about the cause of the problem.
  4. How severe is the problem?
    • Minor
    • Insignificant
    • Trivial
    • Mildly annoying
    • Immaterial
  5. How will you feel when you are told that your question is stupid?
    • Distressed
    • Disturbed
    • Heartbroken
    • Offended
    • Awful
    • Degraded
    • Cheap
    • Loathsome
    • Wretched
  6. Is the computer plugged in?
  7. Is the computer turned on?
  8. Have you read the manual?
  9. Are you sure you've read the manual?
  10. Are you absolutely certain you've read the manual?
  11. 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?
  12. Are you sure you aren't imagining the problem?
  13. Have you tried to fix it yourself?
    • Yes? You fool.
    • No? Try to fix it yourself.
  14. Have you made it worse?
    • Yes? You fool.
    • No? Oh well, keep trying.
  15. Will you get into trouble?
    • Yes? You fool.
    • No? Oh well, keep trying.
  16. 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 said.

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 wrong.

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 cusses.

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?