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NOTE: use Perl; is on undef hiatus. You can read content, but you can't post it. More info will be forthcoming forthcomingly.

All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • An alternate approach is to let the person finish stating their question (as they began to), answer it, and then in conclusion suggest an alternate way to phrase the question next time.
    • Sure. My initial thought was, "Is this guy going to actually ask a question, or just wait to have someone say, 'I am here and listening.'?" That's a common IRC problem.

      There are limits to how solicitous I'm willing to be to people who come asking for free help, too.

      --
      rjbs
      • My initial thought was, “Is this guy going to actually ask a question, or just wait to have someone say, ‘I am here and listening.’?”

        Just ignore him. If he says “hello? anyone awake?”, only then prompt purl for the ask-to-ask spiel. If he doesn’t ever say that, and doesn’t ask his actual question either, well, tough luck.

        I have found that trying to correct people’s behaviour, regardless of how well you mean, isn’t worth the hassle. If they don’t know they are doing something wrong, and their behaviour has not failed them yet, then pointing out their mistake just makes you seem like a pedantic jerk. They need to fail in order to accept correction. If you ignore them, they will get disappointed and/or frustrated about their lack of success at some point, and will then be amenable to suggestions for a better approach. Alternatively, someone else will help them with their immediate problem, in which case they don’t learn anything but you don’t have to deal with them either.

        It might seem cold and manipulative, but the empathic approach generates more ill will than the apathetic one.