Open letter to "the pwnz0r"

I thought about doing this in a PM, but i rather liked to make this public as it may be interestering for others to read as well, especially since it may resemble the opinion of others, too.

You may seem to get the impression of this community being rude, unlikable and maybe in way evil as we treat you in every posting like someone who has no idea of anything at all.
The main reason for this is, that this community, one of the few programming communities, where the users dont act like godlike untouchables, is build on the basis of ‘help and get helped’.
If you watch closely you will see that every member here has questions and answers and everyone is ready to share them. Yet you seem just to have questions. Granted, you are new to this, as we all have been, and so you cant be very helpful and that is no problem at all! But what i would like to ask you is to be at least part of the community by sharing an even deeper going fundament - try to be nice(!) and try to ask for help in a way we can understand it, so we can answer your request as fast and also as good as somehow possible.
See, if we can not even tell what you want how are we supposed to help? Imagine to be in our position - a newbie comes to the board and all information you get is ‘it aint work’. Maybe you get some malformated code and a few hand drawn pics. Sometimes even an excuse that you didnt give a damn about the spelling as you were to lazy for it. Dont you think that tjose who are about to help you are about to get ‘fed up’? Do you think they will take their time to look into your problem or at all read another posting of you ever again? I found it rather hard to follow most of your posts especially when i came to the point of finding out what you actually want.
So, please think about what you write a few more times if needed, state as precise as possible what does not work and what all is about. If we wont find an immediate answer to the main question we can find ways of circumventing the problem but ultimativly we need to know what all is about.
Oh, and please dont bump your topics, there are days it takes time for people to answer and you dont make yourself look better if you try to force people into answering your (maybe) unanswerable request…
Finally i would like to say one more thing. You may be young and so i dont expect an 11yr old to act fully mature, but you can try - especially where language is concearned. Slang is not considered being precise in terms of technical problems, so, if possible, try not to use it.
Sorry for doing such a post, but i guess that if you think about it you will find the community here far more understandable and helpable…
And although i dont expect such a thing here, please, everyone, this is not a place for a flame war…


The moment I saw that kid’s posts, I could barely stand it.

Nice post.

Too polite, though.

Yet another place where the old, abandoned technology (network news) is far superior to the replacement: forums have no killfile. :slight_smile:


Dear Mr. Nachtwind (nightwind?, just curious)

Being a “newbie” myself, and having experienced some of the “stumbling blocks” that we nicky-new-guys face on this forum, I can’t say that I totally agree with your admonishment of the 11 year old kid. I think you were directing it towards those, so called, “newbies” as a whole.

I see, by your thread “What is your job”, there are many highly trained, experienced, working technological professionals on this forum. That’s a pretty tough group for (I really hate to use this term anymore) newbies to try impress with succinct, well informed, properly worded questions, especially with the short space allowed to post the original question. I also see that the “profs” (how’s that for a label?) enter posts that are very technical, seemingly meant for other “profs” to read, and not understandable to (here we go again) “newbies”, posts which end up being discussion threads between “profs”.

I also think that “newbies” can ask"too darn many questions" (not my opinion, of course), and the “profs” grow tired of answering them, whether the questions are politely and properly asked, or not.
Myself, I’m 65 years old, and have found enjoyment in discovering and understanding the use of microcontrollers and have gotten into arduino boards. I’ve studied electronics, electrical technology and engineering in the past, and enjoy electronics as a hobby, but I will never match the expertise of the professionals on this board. I’ve asked several questions, with about half of them being answered, of which about half were answered by other newbies. I have politely removed most of my unanswered questions, because its kind of embarrassing to see my posted questions sitting there with a big fat zero in the replies column. I know someone will remark, “well, I’ve answered his questions”. True, but always to the point when, apparently, I’ve asked enough.

About the kid, he’s probably strongly under the influence of today’s pop culture, mainly ‘rap’. Today’s pop culture has been brought to you by people who refused to take part in the free education that was offered to them in their younger days. People who are intent on tearing the English language to shreds, thus the purposeful poor writing, and use of “shortened” words, such as “wuz”, in place of the, just as easy to spell, but less cool, proper word, “was”. I’ve read his posts, and even his youth can’t excuse that.

OK, I’ve overdone it. I’m sure to be firmly in the doghouse, now. :wink:

The old br?., :smiley: I mean, Pakrat.

You were right about ‘Nightwind’ its the direct translation from German to English of the name :0)
But as the rest is concearned… well, i di not aim this at so called newbies as i dont like that term myself and i am myself not far from it - it is just that i have seen two things coming to life here which i would like to describe now…
First thing was that i have felt a strong tension here… you know, you can almost feel the atmosphere in a forum or in a thread, and here it is very often friendly, calm… you simply feel welcome because everyone gives his best, no matter what he is, does or wants. And especially in our 'pwnz0r’s" threads i had the feeling that a high tension was building up because people got frustrated which does not in any way fit into this forum. I have had such things before in other boards i used and ran and seen that such tension could build up. By doing this letter i wanted to have some sort of valve to release some of the tension by bein polite on the one hand yet showing pw0nzer what might be not right about his way of being here.
And the other thing is a direct consequence… I guess you, as have many others, have seen various programming or technology related boards and it is my impression that most boards totally seperate ‘newb’ from ‘pro’ and also act like that (one of the reasons i dont like those terms!) and i got the impression as well, that a someone, especially if he is new to the matter, reacting like this could provoce the beginning of such a mentality here as people are almost bound to answer from high above and others may become used to that kind of question answers and begin themselves in the same manner… Soon that could cause that ‘newb’ ‘pro’ mentality one sees everywhere else - and that would a shame for this board because, as you said, it consists of all kind of poeple and some professionals (now in terms of work) who all share a common interest and a common way of sharing their knowleadge here without showing others that they are better… it’s quite hard to say that in english, but i guess you know what i want to say…
I hope I could make clear what i intended and what not…

The kid’s 11 years old. Give him a break.

Be glad he’s playing with an Arduino instead of trying to steal cigarettes and let the air out of your tires.

a high tension was building up because people got frustrated

I think it’s important for everyone to remember that there’s no requirement for any person to read or respond to any other person’s post. I also think there’s a responsibility on more X* members of the community to model positive community behaviour. Personally, I think modeling is much more effective than admonishment. My success at implementing this approach varies. :slight_smile:

Be glad he’s playing with an Arduino instead of trying to steal cigarettes and let the air out of your tires.

…I’m trying really hard to resist the temptation to add “ditto for both the professionals and retirees”. :smiley:


X* – where X = mature | experienced | extroverted | …

I also see that the “profs” (how’s that for a label?) enter posts that are very technical, seemingly meant for other “profs” to read, and not understandable to (here we go again) “newbies”,

I suppose given my number of postings this is aimed somewhat in my direction.

It is very difficult to estimate the level of knowledge of a person asking a question. I remember being on a stand at an exhibition, I was only 21 and was showing some active filter work we had done for submarines. I explained how these filters cut out different frequencies and that allowed the submarine to here better what was coming. One man asked “what is frequency”, so I scaled my answer down appropriately and started again. When the very next person arrived on the stand, I started by asking if he knew what frequency was. He glowered at me and said “I am professor of Electronics at Imperial Collage”, he was not too happy.

That is the problem, some questions require quite a bit of knowledge just to understand the answer, and it is difficult to know where to pitch things. But if an answer is not understood then nobody minds explaining it further if it is made clear what is not understood. What is annoying is the response like “Well this is all rubbish to me”, or the sort of response that says “don’t teach me stuff, just tell me what to do to solve my problem”. What is good to see is if someone has made an effort to understand something and is stuck on some detail or indeed some concept.

seemingly meant for other “profs” to read, and not understandable to (here we go again) “newbies”, posts which end up being discussion threads between “profs”.

This does happen when some one asks “Can I do X” and the truthful answer is, well given your state of skill and knowledge the answer is no. But nobody likes to give those sorts of answers hence the pinging about of ideas which I think can be useful to those who only read but never post. In the radio ham world these are known as lurkers, but this is a valuable part of learning and being comfortable with the forum.

So advice for beginners who feel they are not being given the answer they require is to read the answers, search the forum for like minded threads, google what you asked about and then ask again a more directed question bringing the new found knowledge into play. That way everyone gets the best out of this forum.

It seems to me like there are two issues that are being addressed by the OP:

  1. Leet-speak/chat/cell/text page style posts are difficult at best to understand. I can imagine they are especially difficult to understand for a person who does not natively speak English. It can also be annoying to the older generations as it can come across as immature behavior. Posters should refrain from this type of writing.

  2. Be forthcoming and clear with information about your problem. The people here WANT to help, but they can only help if they have information to work with. Write posts with a descriptive subject and be more descriptive in the body of the post. Take your time. A few minutes spent will yield vastly more useful responses. (I spent an hour writing a post one time, but it’s usually about 10-15 minutes)

Your subject line is what will catch the eye (or not, if it’s poorly stated) of the people best suited to help you. Most users do not read every post, but rather look at the subject lines to find posts they may be interested in.

Going “bump” isn’t a good way to behave, and is not the way I would go about getting help, also shooing someone off a post selfishly isn’t going to make other’s log on to help him, is it. I hope he has read this letter, is I think it may help. He may be 11 but that doesn’t allow him to not take part as a comunity. PS don’t be patronizing, just treat him as an adult.

Please consider reading this post before commenting further:




That last post is (prelude to) SPAM.