When the Internet was just gaining popular notice, a document floated around about Netiquette - a guide for newbies for getting along on the World Wide Web. It was a good idea, and I pointed a fair number of new users at it.

Over the years, the Internet has become standard fare in classrooms, the workplace, and at home, making this document less read (though sometimes still sorely needed).

We (the DevCentral Staff) spend a lot of time out and about on other bulletin boards answering questions. F5 encourages us to participate in other forums and help those who are looking for answers. On top of participating in our forums more and more, I participate in other programming and load-balancing related forums. Outside of work I frequent a decent number of hobby forums.

And I grow weary of the self-appointed know-it-all. Thankfully, DevCentral doesn't have any of these, but they are endemic to the Internet.

It is time to develop a Netiquette document for those people who think they're someone important. People who sneer at new/inexperienced posters, or offer nothing but diatribe to those seeking help. Funny how some people assume their opinion is so important that they don't have to contribute to the communities they belong to.

Before you fire off that post that does nothing but harm, think about it. The new person asking a question for the fiftieth time likely hasn't see the other forty-nine answers. The person who sounds like they want you to solve all their problems without having done any of the prep work likely has some specific questions that need answers, and "you're an idiot" or "stop trying to get us to do your work for you" isn't going to pry those questions out so that they can get answered.

I don't have any problem with conflict online, every human endeavor has disagreements. My issue is with those that circle like vultures waiting for anyone to slip up so they can demonstrate their "superiority". Sadly, no amount of online interaction will convince someone that they are not superior, only pedantic.

So my last request is that we all stop responding to these very important people. Clearly we shouldn't waste their very (self) important time by answering their evocative posts.

And again, thanks to all of you that there is no evidence of this type of behavior on DevCentral, because I'd be forced to call you on it. DevCentral and a couple of other sites are places I call home, and on those sites I'm willing to "take it outside" to keep them friendly. Thanks to you all, I don't have to.



imbibing: Flavored Coffee

reading: Still Paladins