Psychic IRC Support In 10 Easy Steps
This list is somewhat specific to
Django and #django channel
Psychic support is what people are looking for when they expect
others to just know their development environment and their
code. If one doesn’t supply enough information on the problem, no
matter how good a hacker the person on the other end of the
conversation, it becomes a silly guessing game. So the following
list is actually about avoiding psychic support and similar
What Not To Ask
- Don’t ask to ask! Just ask your question. Don’t ever say
“I have a question about X, can anybody help me?”. Even worse is
“Hello! Is anyone there?”.
- Don’t ask for competency. It’s unkind to try testing people
whether they are worthy of your question or not. This’ll only
decrease your chances to get an answer.
- Don’t ask what’s already documented. This is the most frequent
and the most disturbing problem in IRC support channels. Django is
exceptionally well documented. Nobody wants to parrot docs just
because you’re too lazy to read them.
Psychic Support? You’ll Have To Wait… Long.
- Ideally you should supply related code with your question. But
it’s understandable for beginners to not know what to paste. Even
so it becomes annoying when the person asking the question has a
you-dont-need-to-know-that attitude. If you know so much, why
are you asking here?
- Don’t paste in the channel. It’s unreadable, I can’t copy &
paste it for testing and worst of all you’re flooding the channel.
If it’s more than 1 (in writing one) line, use a pasting
- When pasting tracebacks always use the plaintext version. Don’t
insist it’s plaintext when you have selected it with mouse from an
HTML page and copied. Instead use Switch to copy-and-paste view
link right next to Traceback header. Django is civilized.
- This is an unsolved mystery. Enter the chat room, send your
question, leave as soon as you see it on screen… If you don’t get
an answer immediately, don’t get discouraged. If there’s no
activity, your message will be noticed when others check their
clients. If there’s activity and your message gets scrolled, you
can repeat your question in reasonable intervals. If you don’t
have time to wait for and work through answers, you should postpone
your question. Better not waste somebody else’s time for nothing.
- IRC support is for practical problems. So if you are asking a
question; please be kind enough to try out the proposed solutions
and tell us about the results. Asking the same question again and
again, even tough somebody has suggested a solution, won’t help you
much. Instead try building on the topic, interact with whoever has
joined the conversation and give feedback for their answers.
A Winning Effort Begins With Preparation
- Django runs on Python. Python is a dynamic language. Just fire
up the Django shell and try out different possibilities. Make
this a habit and you’ll see it is much more effective to run a
couple of commands than asking someone else to guess their result
- Again, read the relevant docs before you ask. Don’t expect the
title of a documentation page to be your exact question. Just read
whatever you can find on subject. If people see that you’ve done
your homework they will be willing to give you more attention.
- Google your question. If your question is generic enough there
is probably a blog post about it somewhere.
StackOverflow has quite an
impressive repertoire of Django related questions as well. In fact
I suggest you to use SO for your non-trivial questions.