[mythtv-users] Please shut up!

Ivan Kowalenko ivan.kowalenko at gmail.com
Mon Jan 29 18:08:47 UTC 2007

Hash: SHA1

On Jan 29, 2007, at 01.33, Yeechang Lee wrote:

> This message is not going to make me popular. I don't care. It will
> also be my only statement on the subject.
> mythtv-users is way, way, way too busy. My archive of digests for the
> first six months of 2006 contains 1110 digests, each averaging about
> 25 messages. That's 27,750 messages for those six months alone, or
> about 152 a day (!). gossamer-threads.com says there have been 168,729
> messages since the list started back in 2003 or so. This is an
> almost-overwhelming volume for even a speedreader like me.

Yeah, so? I went away for my Winter Break this year and when I  
connected I had 800 messages waiting for me on MythTV alone.

> While many messages contain worthwhile questions on
> previously-unanswered or inadequately-answered topics, and answers to
> said questions, I see far, far, far too many that fall into at least
> one of three camps:
> 1) Questions that have been covered over, over, over again on the
>    list, on the Wiki, in the FAQ, in Jarod's howto and other popular
>    resources, and elsewhere on the Internet. In some cases, questions
>    get asked mere days or hours after the question has been previously
>    and thoroughly dealt with.

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and  
you know it." --K, "Men In Black"

> 2) Questions that don't contain the information necessary for  
> others to
>    help diagnose and solve the problem.

Yeah, so we ask them for more information. Have you ever read the  
Matroska mailing list? Half the people on there are Windows using  
n00bs who rely on a single splitter pack to make Windows Media  
Players (of all monstrosities) play MKVs and usually just send a  
"help! it's broke!" message.

> 3) Questions that don't have anything to do with MythTV or, more
>    generally, using a computer to record and play back televisions at
>    all.

Huh, that sounds like MythTV. It's usually experimental stuff that  
can eventually be applied to MythTV (like the experimental H.264  
broadcast by the BBC)

> Two examples from today, 28 January 2007:
> * A poster with 461 messages going back to February 2004 asked for
>   suggestions for inexpensive, S/PDIF-equipped, ALSA-friendly
>   soundcards. Never mind that asking the gossamer-threads.com search
>   engine for "sound card optical" pulls up as the very first result a
>   thread from April and May 2006 that answers this question with two
>   suggestions, one of them being the same card that gets recommended
>   pretty much every single time this question gets asked (about twice
>   a month), as the subsequent hits to the search query show.

Yeah, sounds like MythTV hardware questions.

> * A poster with 1,225 messages going back to December 2004 asked how
>   to SSH from work through a firewall. His message achieved the
>   dubious distinction of falling into all three of the above
>   categories:
> 3) because it was off topic (the poster, like so many others, believes
>    that putting "OT:" in the subject line somehow makes this magically
>    OK). Yes, he wanted to log into a MythTV system, but otherwise
>    there's absolutely nothing MythTV-specific about his question. If
>    he wanted to ask, there is no shortage of firewall-, security-, and
>    SSH-related newsgroups, forums, webboards, and listservs that are
>    more relevant.

It can be relevant. SSH tunneling to pull MythWeb data or MythTV  
data. Or could even me remote management. But we're lax. So?

> 2) because his message didn't contain enough information. There was no
>    indication of whether the workplace firewall blocks just port 22 or
>    SSH packets in general regardless of port. This very much impacts
>    how he would solve his problem (unless the answer is "Get back to
>    work!").
> 1) because his message is very, very, very well-discussed elsewhere
>    already. Just asking Google "work firewall ssh" pulls up 1,300,000
>    hits, with (on the first page alone) the first and third hits
>    appearing to be promising.
> Two suggestions, one to Isaac in his role as the list owner, and the
> other to list members in general:
> To Isaac: Point newcomers in their initial welcome message to
> gossamer-threads.com, wiki.mythtv.org, wilsonet.com/mythtv/, and
> www.mythtv.org/modules.php?name=MythInstallRequire. Have them read and
> follow Yeechang Lee's[1] Two Rules of Posting
> (<URL:http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.sf.written/msg/ 
> 23dd66853fa24261?hl=en&>):
>   (1) Read a [mailing list] for two weeks before posting to it.
>   (2) If you do not understand the reason for rule (1), make it a
>       month.

Yeah, but that would depend on people reading the opening message.  
Most people don't.

> To list members: gossamer-threads.com, wiki.mythtv.org,
> wilsonet.com/mythtv/, www.mythtv.org/modules.php?name=MythInstall, not
> to mention the all-purpose google.com, can answer pretty much every
> MythTV-related question you can think of and most you can't. If you
> can't find the answer:
> A) Wait a day or two. Seriously.

I agree. Many people are just too impatient.

> B) Try searching the above resources again.

I'm in favor of this.

> C) If still unsuccessful, then--and only
> then--send a message off to mythtv-users. Provide all the relevant
> information you can think of.
> D) Wait. If no one responds, maybe you haven't done what C) advises
>    you to do. Wait longer.
>    D1) Don't "bump" your message; this is a mailing list, not a
>    webboard for The OC fans discussing whether Ryan/Marissa or
>    Ryan/Taylor is the better couple.[2]
>    D2) If using GMail, understand how it treats your own messages to
>    lists.
> E) If still no answer, follow steps A) and B) again.
> F) Ask again, this time rephrased and with as much additional
>    information you've gleaned in the meanwhile.

Yeah, sounds like general information. The trick is getting people to  
do it.

> I am not a developer. I don't work "in IT." I am not a database
> administrator. My knowledge of SQL is limited to the few lines in
> Jarod's MythTV howto. I am not a professional sysadmin. I do not have
> the letters RHCE, CNE, or MCSE after my name.[3]
> How is it, then, that my 1920x1080p, Bob-deinterlacing, working
> MythWeb-graced, custom modeline-using, auto-transcoding, FireWire- and
> ATSC-supplied, RAID 6-storing, optical surround-sound, wireless remote
> control- and keyboard-equipped MythTV system filled with 39 days and
> 13 minutes of almost-entirely high-definition MPEG-2 recordings works,
> and has worked ridonkulously well[4] since day two or three of the
> start of my MythTV adventures almost fourteen months ago, while
> mythtv-users sees a constant influx of people--many, if not most,
> answering to one of the above job descriptions--who can't get past the
> first or second step?  I can only believe that it is because I learned
> a long, long, long time ago how to apply steps A-F in just about
> everything I do in life, whether MythTV-related or not.

I dunno.


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