the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur (plonq) wrote,
the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur
plonq

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The pointlessness of online help

I would like to say that I am reminiscing about a time when the internet was not useless for learning important information, but I would be lying. That is not to say that one cannot find good answers on the internet, but there is so much useless noise, it can be hard to find a good answer.

In past, there were a couple of wonderfully pointless results that would clog up my searches. I would search about an issue that should be easily resolved with a simple, one-line answer.

Scenario 1:

Q. Hi, I am getting an "impacted string error" when I try to join two tables in Product X.

A. What are you trying to do with these joined tables?

Q. I am trying to build a heat map of user engagement by cross-referencing these two values.

A. Why are you using Product X for this? Enterprise Product Y is better for that.

Q. Our company doesn't have Enterprise Product Y, it has Product X. Product X should let me do this.

A. You shouldn't be using Product X.

This topic has been marked as closed.

Scenario 2:

Q. Hi, I am getting an "impacted string error" when I try to join two tables in Product X.

A. Have you tried adding more fish to your diet?

A. That was already answered here --> http://404ErrorNotFound

Q. Thanks everyone, I got it working.

This topic has been marked as closed.

Scenario 3:

Q. Hi, I am getting an "impacted string error" when I try to join two tables in Product X.

A. I don't understand what you are trying to do. Can you please send me the source code?

Q. I am trying to link these two tables on this field.

A. I have no blessed clue what you are talking about. It's like English has stopped working for me. Send me the query.

A. OK, I see what you've done wrong, and I've sent you a private message with the fix.

Q. Thanks, that fixed it!

This topic has been marked as closed.

Now though, when you search for something that should be easily answered in one sentence, you find a list of 10-minute Youtube videos.

The first thirty or fourty seconds are music and graphical overlays, with swooping text and fade-in effects.

The next minute and a half:

"Hi, my name is Abdul Alhazred, and I am a professional [user of Product X] with over fifteen years of experience using [Product X that has only been out for ten years]. I have worked for blah and blah blah blah..."

The next minute:

"I hope you will find this tutorial useful. I also have other tutorials on tangentially-related subjects. Please like this video and subscribe to my channel for blah blah blah..."

Usually this is followed by a couple minutes of shaky camera and mouth breathing, followed by a minute or so reitterating the problem that brought you there in the first place. Uh, right, because I didn't find this video by searching for that specific problem in the first place.

There usually follows a couple more minutes of mouth breathing and shaky camera while he painfully mouse-clicks his way through things that would be simple keyboard shortcuts to anyone else.

Finally the video gets around to the answer, which may or may not be the one you actually needed. This is followed by another minute of...

"I hope you found this video useful. Please remember to like and share this video if you found it useful, and subscribe to my channel for more tips and tricks on blah blah blah..."

The ideal solution:

Q. Hi, I am getting an "impacted string error" when I try to join two tables in Product X.

A. Go to Tools/Options/Extras and ensure that "Allow me to link tables" is selected.
Tags: youtube
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