What are you trying to do?

I’ve been scouring the Internets for the last few days looking for technical notes on installing SBS 2008 in a “non-standard” way, and I have to admit that some of your forum replies really bring me down.

Sometimes I’m reading about a question I have and other times I might just be off on a quick tangent, but the results are the same.  Some poor guy is asking for help doing something, often very specifically and instead of helpful answers, he gets “What are you trying to do?”

I ran into this recently when dealing with a purchase at a well-known computer warehouse.  I mentioned what I wanted and it spured a “conference-call” with their “specialist” to explain “best practices” for what I was trying to accomplish.

You know what?  I don’t need your best practices.  I don’t need to tell you what my goals are in a hundred 8×10 color glossies.  I just have a simple question and I’d like a simple answer.  If you don’t know the answer, don’t worry about it – I don’t hate you.  What I do hate, is when you don’t know the answer but you respond with comments/questions like:

What are you trying to accomplish?

Why would you want to do that?

You realize that Microsoft won’t support that.

That’s not a best practice.

Thank you.  I have a spam filter, but I don’t have a “BS Reply” filter.  For now, I’ll do my best to ignore such comments, but they still tend to waste my time.  Someone out there knows the answer.

One of my best examples of this was when someone wrote a request in a forum years ago looking for a way to decode american pay cable tv with software using a PCTV card.  There were maybe 30 reponses such as “this can’t be done” describing all of the reasons that there was just no technical way to decode pay tv.  Then down about the 31st response was a link to a download with the software that would do it.  Oh, it looked horrible and required your imagination and almost constant tweaking but it did, in fact, decode TV.  No, not like a cable box and not for the average joe who might want to use it for any real-life purpose.  But, it did the job despite the comments that it was technically impossible.

Remember – just because you don’t know something, doesn’t mean that no one else knows either.

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