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Please ask support questions in public
By Dave Winer on Thursday, June 30, 2011 at 9:01 AM.

A picture named accordianGuy.gifIf you send me a support question via email, I'm very likely to ask you to post the question on a mail list or discussion group. I know this will upset some people sometimes, but it's the right thing to do. Here's why. #

If you ask the question publicly one of two things can happen that can't happen if you ask it privately: #

1. Someone else might be able to answer it. #

2. Even if I have to answer it, now there's a record of the answer, in public where search engines can find it. So maybe next time someone else will find the answer without having to ask anyone. #

And by the way, #2 might already have happened -- so did you check a search engine before you asked a human to be your search engine? You'd be surprised how many times people ask people for help where much better answers are available in writing. This is where the acronyms RTFM and LMGTFY came from.  #

For me, answering questions about my software is work. But I want you to be successful using my software. So we answer questions to help people get going, and hope they will do the same for others.  #

It's a price you pay for being generous and giving away your software. But why should there be a price for being generous? There's another motto that goes with this. :-) #

See also: Writing good bug reports#

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