Living Out Loud

Remember When They Called It Netiquette?


Back in the 90s when most folks of a certain age were discovering online communities through USENET, BBSs, AOL and the like, no one really new how to act. Each community had a certain culture and through trial-and-error people came to an agreement on what was good manners and what was not. Someone decided that typing in all caps was not a good thing™ and ever since then you pretty much get told off if you do it too many times. Of course, some elderly folks will try to explain that they have poor eyesight and it's easier for them to type that way but even then, a certain section of people don't want to hear it. There are some serious rule followers out there.

Personally, I think that what goes for manners IRL applies online most of the time. People should mind their own business, not tell others what to do, refrain from hateful speech and practice tolerance. It's not hard.

There is one area though where I am a wee bit prickly and it has to do with people's laziness. When someone barges into a forum or subreddit having made no effort to do any research or reading and demands help by asking the exact same question that approximately 1 miliion other people have asked, I get get a little vexed.

As an example, tonight on Reddit in r/ObsidianMD, the sub for the note keeping app, Obsidian, a self described newbie comes in and asks the most common of all questions, "How do I get away without paying the $4 a month it costs to sync my data by using something not officially supported by the app?"

After half a year of reading the same question in some form every day, I finally just said what needed to be said

"Spend $4 a month and get Obsidian sync. Seriously, half the questions on this sub are about janking together some alternative way to sync a vault. If you just go ahead and use the built in method, you get a lot of features that none of the janky ways support (batch file restoration, selective sync, per-platfrom preferences and more). You suport the development of the app and you get to not have problems caused by jankiness. If you are a student, educator or work for a non-profit you get a 40% discount. If you absolutely, positively cannot afford $4 a month, I apologize. I'm just trying to be honest and up front about the best solution to your problem and the best solution is don't take the janky way out."

Notice, I didn't even call them out for not doing any research. I didn't post a link to "Let me Google that for you." I just gave them the best advice I could without trying to help them with their desire to achieve a sub-standard outcome. If felt kind of good.