0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby RogerB » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:00 pm UTC

Worst of all is when you get a result but it's on Yahoo Answers. You just know there'll be no point in clicking it, but you have to anyway, just in case.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby neoliminal » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:02 pm UTC

Anyone else see a correlation to this:

http://xkcd.com/963/
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0073YYXRC
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby ladycygnus » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:03 pm UTC

After coming across the "Oh nevermind I figured it out" I swore even if I looked like an id10t I would go back and post the solution.

Which reminds me...I need to go back and post a solution on a thread.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Magiko » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:04 pm UTC

alanh wrote:There's one thing worse: a single followup reading just
Never mind, I figured it out.


Actually, there's worse, and it seems to happen to me often. Moderator Nazis stopping threads that are the #1 result on google. It goes something like this:

Google an error message. Result #1, which should be the most answer-riffic thread:
person A: "i have problem X. what's answer?"
person A: "nevermind. figured it out."
[optional discussion of people with similar, but not quite similar enough, problems, making the thread useful to a few of the people, just not me]
time (sometimes years) passes
Person B: "I'm having this problem now, same as A... what is the answer?"
Moderator: DON'T BUMP OLD THREADS MAKE A NEW ONE *LOCKS THREAD*

I rage a little because it's #1 on Google, and some moderator didn't think about that when he decided further discussion should be done elsewhere (which I can't find).
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby ladycygnus » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:05 pm UTC

RobFreundlich wrote:What's needed to solve this problem is a site where someone who has had a problem and found the solution can write up the problem and its solution, without all of the irrelevant crap. Imagine a "new problem solution" page with fields like this:
...
What do folks think of the idea?


Sounds awesome!
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby nogling » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:08 pm UTC

GOOMHR.

I particularly hate it when the long-dead thread's "solutions" involve, "That isn't possible. Are you sure you got the error code right?"

Look, I just got this seemingly "impossible" error. Someone else did, too. From the other threads I've found, dozens of people have gotten this EXACT SAME ERROR. I think it's possible. Now tell me how to f*cking fix it.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Fire Brns » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:14 pm UTC

^Sounds cool are you gonna make it?

And I saw at least 2 other people mention this: This comic applies to pretty much every google query. This comic can be tied to the last one as everyone except you is does anything usefull on the internet and no one generates real information.
Last edited by Fire Brns on Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:17 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby dacaldar » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:15 pm UTC

This has happened to me many times, and I did feel quite alone.

However has anyone else besides me tried to email or message the person, find the account is dead, then use google and Internet Archive and other tricks to try to track down the current email address or website of anyone using the same handle, and ask them if they remember how they resolved that question years ago? One time I actually did manage to get in touch with the person, although they had only the vaguest recollection of the issue.

If nobody else has done this, I'll still feel alone :)

PS: LOL on the RogerB post about Yahoo Answers. Exactly! There's always that small chance it will have something useful, so you just have to try...
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby timbits » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:21 pm UTC

ladycygnus wrote:After coming across the "Oh nevermind I figured it out" I swore even if I looked like an id10t I would go back and post the solution.

I thought I was the only one who did this! How can you NOT post the answer when that thread is the only decent hit on google!?

I registered a forum account for this thread. Favorite xkcd comic ever.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby sohmc » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:27 pm UTC

This is usually one of two reasons:
* The solution is so simple that techies don't think of it until they've had a good night's rest or a drunken night of gaming
* The problem is so rare that it only happens once

In most cases, for me, it's the former. More often than not, I get a "aha!" moment and then figure it out.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby gnoitall » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:27 pm UTC

Heh. GOOMHR, indeed. Obscure driver problems in outdated hardware is a guaranteed recipe for that effect.

This kind of search is the closest I can come to the job Vernor Vinge described in Deepness in the Sky: "Programmer-Archaeologist."

The feeling that the answer is out there someplace, even if all your searches find blind alleys and not-quite-relevant answers. And lots and lots of postings going "Bump!"
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Jerr » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:30 pm UTC

Yep, I've totally been there. Glad to see I'm not the only one.

Also, I swear I've seen a comic like this before. Might have been one of those rage comics (not sure), but I clearly remember reading one that had this same setup and the response in that comic was along the lines of "nevermind, I fixed it." Gonna drive me nuts until I see it again.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby rabidmuskrat » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:31 pm UTC

This comic hits WAY too close to home.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby radtea » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:34 pm UTC

Even better than "fixed it!" with no explanation--which at least implies some rational process of discovery--is "it's working now!" from someone who clearly has no clue what they did to make it work.

Instead of capturing the accumulated wisdom of the past the Internet is a snapshot of a billion monkeys bashing away at our keyboards until something works, at which point we use a forum to hoot our success to the rest of the troop and go back to our bashing as rapidly as possible.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby wsdenker » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:36 pm UTC

I am the one who necros these threads and answers them even when they're almost ten years old once I finally find the answer.

You're welcome.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby AvatarIII » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:59 pm UTC

Magiko wrote:Moderator: DON'T BUMP OLD THREADS MAKE A NEW ONE *LOCKS THREAD*



If there's one thing about online forums I hate, it's when the policy is to always start new threads rather than to bump old ones even if the subject would be exactly the same.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby gnoitall » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:01 pm UTC

alanh wrote:There's one thing worse: a single followup reading just
Google it.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby brainslugs » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:10 pm UTC

This whole category of experience generally makes me want to punch out the guy three cubes down, who regularly and piously intones "Google is your friend" in response to all technical questions.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby cookrw » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:30 pm UTC

gnoitall wrote:
alanh wrote:There's one thing worse: a single followup reading just
Google it.

Or the infamous "Let Me Google That For You" (http://lmgtfy.com/?q=solve+problem+%22x%22)

I hate the "Solved the problem, thanks!" and nothing on how they solved it...
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby JCCyC » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:30 pm UTC

alanh wrote:There's one thing worse: a single followup reading just
Never mind, I figured it out.


OH, THIS, HOLY FUCKING THIS!!!!
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby JCCyC » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:32 pm UTC

gnoitall wrote:Heh. GOOMHR, indeed.


More like GOOMJR. (Job)
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby tehvd » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:34 pm UTC

I feel exactly the same way when this happens (I registered just to post this).
Other things that annoy me when searching for programming issues:
- getting hits to that silly "experts-exchange" site, which is not helpful anyway;
- whenever searching for something database related, I'm always getting hits to the many sites of that Oracle consultant with his face on every page.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby JCCyC » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:46 pm UTC

KShrike wrote:And so the quest begins
to find the poster of the question
it will bring the user to the ends of the earth
but what will happen when he discovers the truth?

Find out on next week's episode of--

Nah, I can't.


He now plays the banjo in a folk band in Sausalito, having given up the cruel world of IT circa 2008.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby jqavins » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:01 pm UTC

Please forgive me for being such a cultural ignoranimus*, but there's a part of this I don't get. "Who are you [name]? What did you see?" and "DEAR PEOPLE FROM THE FUTURE: Here's what we've figured out so far" sound like they must be paraphrases from some movie or something. What's the reference?

* From Allan Sherman's Peter and the Commissar:
[Everyone agreed]
It was practically unanimous,
Except for one who disagreed,
The stupid ignoranimus!
Or something very close to that.
-- Joe
"[Some people don't believe in coincidence, but] I believe in coincidence. Coincidences happen every day. I just don't trust coincidence."
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby RebeccaRGB » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:34 pm UTC

This. All the time. And I thought I was the only one. Now I don't feel quite so alone anymore. :)
Stephen Hawking: Great. The entire universe was destroyed.
Fry: Destroyed? Then where are we now?
Al Gore: I don't know. But I can darn well tell you where we're not—the universe!
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby jpk » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:43 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:
Magiko wrote:Moderator: DON'T BUMP OLD THREADS MAKE A NEW ONE *LOCKS THREAD*



If there's one thing about online forums I hate, it's when the policy is to always start new threads rather than to bump old ones even if the subject would be exactly the same.


Depends on the purpose of the forum. If it's aimed at real-world issues, I agree with you. A workaround for this bug or that misfeature only needs to be discovered once, there's not a lot to be learned by re-discovering it. But a lot of forums see mostly questions about student code, and there I think the new threads policy makes sense. If someone posts a question about their CS assignment, what they need isn't the code, it's a push towards the part that they're missing - in that case, a new thread is the right thing. There might be a thousand threads about "fibonacci with recursion" on that forum, but each one is a different problem, for the person with the problem.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby dbosst » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:21 pm UTC

Happened to me just two days ago... except the solution was so unlikely:

Windows networking fubar to the point that nslookup resolves, but everything else network wise is broken: ipconfig doesn't work at all (reports rare failure message), and ping, dns client not working, dhcp, etc ... broken

Try all sorts of technical stuff .. windows restore (fails to even restore ... USELESS), resetting tcpip / winsock in registry (does nothing), etc ...then

After hours of googling and find single forum thread on the internet about problem of ipconfig & its rare failure message...

The solution: "Rename your Computer Name" ... I skeptically try it expecting nothing, and of course, it ends up freaking working!
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Coyne » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:21 pm UTC

I didn't know there was any other type of "error" thread. Every time I query an error, all I ever see are questions with no answers.

I guess I just have higher level errors, or maybe unimportant ones.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby MrRubix » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:33 pm UTC

I think most people say "NVM figured it out" without much more elaboration simply because they're pissed. When you post for help on a forum and either get no responses/unhelpful responses, the instinct is sometimes to just say "You know what, screw you guys" and let them know you solved it without any help. At that point, the incentive to post your solution to help others is gone because, well, you've solved your problem.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby gamecreator » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:43 pm UTC

marsman57 wrote:
alanh wrote:There's one thing worse: a single followup reading just
Never mind, I figured it out.

I came here solely to post this.

Same. It happens to me a few times a year.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby need4speed » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:45 pm UTC

Just a couple of other common, VERY frustrating scenarios:
1. ExpertSexChange.com paywalled. (I know there are sometimes tricks to finding the answer anyway, but sometimes it's just not there.)

2. MSDN thread. . . *#$%hole MVP posts "The Answer" - - - and it's not the answer, thread goes on for days, weeks, months, obviously not solved. Listen, the guy has paid a freaking PER-SEAT-LICENSE-FEE, and your $#!+'s borken! fix it! fix it now! (I should just keep a folder of bookmarks to these threads, and just show them to every customer who INSISTS on a 100% Microsoft solution. . . )

3. linkfarm result - - - leading to, a whole list of hundreds of thread summaries of related issues. .. each link leading to SPAMMMM! No solutions, no discussions.

4. "upgrade to version 2", (I'M ON VERSION 5 G*DDAMMMIT!!!) yeah, I know. >:(.

5. Search results also include the return string from the error condition in the source code. . . (caused by obscure lower-level failure. . . )

6. DenverCoder5 has pasted his 500 MB error log into his message. He has YOUR error message, but he's posting about a completely different problem, and hasn't actually noticed that he has the problem YOU'RE searching on.


- - - > I complain about these, but figuring this stuff out is like 90% of my job.
If someone were to build some kind of ontological search engine that could sort all this crap out and actually yield meaningful research results, I don't know if that would make my job obsolete, or allow me to be 100x more productive. . . ?
I'd certainly be more productive if people who write software would just properly test and document their crap in the first place.
I want to blame crappy open source stuff. But frankly, it's the very expensive closed-source stuff (ORACLE!!! (excluding former Sun property) MICROSOFT!!! IBM!!!) that is the worst.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby timthecodemonkey » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:57 pm UTC

I'm working through my database II plsql homework....I gave someone my scripts at school, he spend hours looking for Oracle 10g numeric code for my user defined exception....

Randal, where can I get a high res version of this comic for my background?
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Ugly customer » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:02 pm UTC

I wonder if there might be an obscure reference to Stieg Larsson´s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? As Mikael Blomkvist investigates the disappearance of Harriet looking at the photos from the Children´s day parade from the sixties and noticing that on the photo her fearful gaze is not on the parade but at a point across the street hidden from view. He looks stares at her image in the photo and asks “ What did you see?”
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Ronsonic » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:04 pm UTC

I do hardware, not software and this sort of thing happens to me all the time.

My favorite is when the only result is my customer asking around on forums about some obscure electro-musical implement before he brought the thing to me.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby akf2000 » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:05 pm UTC

jqavins wrote:Please forgive me for being such a cultural ignoranimus*, but there's a part of this I don't get. "Who are you [name]? What did you see?" and "DEAR PEOPLE FROM THE FUTURE: Here's what we've figured out so far" sound like they must be paraphrases from some movie or something. What's the reference?

* From Allan Sherman's Peter and the Commissar:
[Everyone agreed]
It was practically unanimous,
Except for one who disagreed,
The stupid ignoranimus!
Or something very close to that.


The first part sounds like any Charlton Heston film, Omega Man, Planet of the Apes, you can see him saying that.

I love this comic/ thread, there's a genuine opportunity for someone to develop THE solution engine.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby gianconstantine » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:30 pm UTC

This is the best post on the entire Internet. I experience this way too much, usually followed by a lot of muffled cursing.

alanh wrote:There's one thing worse: a single followup reading just
Never mind, I figured it out.



Gian
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Samik » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:36 pm UTC

Yup.






*(I had written out quite a longer post, but went to read back over it and realized it could basically be summed up as above.)
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby _rq » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:48 pm UTC

jpk wrote:
Ronfar wrote:If that text on the left-hand side isn't a poem, it should be.

Depending on what you mean by "poem", either it is or it isn't. Should doesn't enter into it.

For me, a poem is metrical and rhymed, so this isn't one. But if you want it to be a poem, I don't mind.


much of modern poetry tends to disregard strict rhyme and meter (to the point of "rhyme poetry" becoming a pejorative term), so actually, poetry would be whatever is written in verse and makes you feel reading it that way.
differently put, it's poetry when the grouping of words and thoughts is governed by aesthetical consideratons above writing conventions.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby Samik » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:55 pm UTC

Oh, oh!

Then there's the times when you had a great website bookmarked that had an awesome, detailed rundown of everything you needed to perform maintenance on your ancient, obscure piece of hardware/software, plus working download links to all the decade old hacked drivers/whatever-else.... but you weren't smart enough to download a copy of everything you had any reason to believe you might need in the future, and just rolled with the bookmark instead.....


....and then Geocities shut down, and while the page got archived, the download links are now all dead.




Yeah.
Last edited by Samik on Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:59 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 0979: "Wisdom of the Ancients"

Postby diavel » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:56 pm UTC

The Ancients have no respect for us, mere contemporaries. At least most of them don't. They don't understand that the main purpose of their ancient threads is to be discovered aeons later by a lone cyber-adventurer.

- OP posting later: "Nvm, got it. /thread"
- "lmgtfy.com" - I just googled you, dammit.
- "Use forum search before posting." and similar kind of patronizing without ANY helpful answer, not even a single link to one of the supposed billiards of related threads.
- "Don't bump ancient threads!"
Last edited by diavel on Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:57 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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