people who shouldn't use irc

An unedited transcript from #vim:

00:11 -!- Randy_Johnston [n=randyjoh@d27-223.rt-bras.wnvl.centurytel.net] has 
          joined #vim
00:11 <Randy_Johnston> Hi
00:18 -!- daniel [i=daniel@unaffiliated/daniel] has quit [Read error: 110 
          (Connection timed out)]
00:20 <Randy_Johnston> umm
00:20 <Randy_Johnston> is anyone available?
00:22 <Randy_Johnston> hello?
00:22 <deryni> Asking questions tends to get better answers.
00:22 <Randy_Johnston> hello?
00:22 <Randy_Johnston> sigh
00:22 <Randy_Johnston> I'll figure it out on my own
00:23 <rjbs> ??
00:23 -!- Randy_Johnston [n=randyjoh@d27-223.rt-bras.wnvl.centurytel.net] has 
          left #vim ["wow are you guys jerks"]

People seem to expect really unrealistic things from IRC, and they seem to be really angry when their expectations aren’t met. This guy probably thought he was calling a for-pay help desk, and was expecting someone to say, “Yes, Citizen, I’m here. How can I help you?”

For those of you who don’t know what he did wrong, here’s my free lesson how how this should have gone:

00:11 -!- Joe_Blow has joined #vim
00:12 <Joe_Bloe> Hi.
00:12 <Joe_Bloe> Every time I paste into Vim, everything gets all indented.
What can I do about that?
00:20 <rjbs> Joe_Bloe: Look at :help 'paste'
00:21 <Joe_Bloe> Aha!  That was it, thanks.

Note that:

  1. Joe just asked his question, assuming that oneeee of the 195 users could answer without first responding to a ACK request.
  2. Joe didn’t part when he didn’t get an answer immediately, but waited around until someone replied.

I try to be patient with these types, even (sometimes) on #perl, where they are less welcome than usual. I send Randy a privmsg telling him that we’d be glad to help if he’d just come ask his question. He replied, “no you guys were rude leave me alone.” Maybe he was a secret agent provocateur sent by the #emacs crew, but that seems unlikely.

Still, it could be worse. There was the guy who joined #perl earlier today looking for help with filehandles. He wanted to know how to pass symbol names into a subroutine so he could get at filehandles by symbol name. I fought off attempts to force him from the channel, trying to be helpful. I explained lexical filehandles and how they’d solve the problem. “But I need to be able to store the filehandles in globals!” he protested.

Right. That’s why God invented /kick.

Written on April 1, 2006
irc   stupid