Trolling to Get Faster Answers in the World of Linux?

How would you, a seasoned red wine connoisseurs feel if you were told by someone, that the Chteau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac does not taste anything exquisite? Well, that was a bad start, and I don’t know how wine enthusiasts react to people like these. Perhaps they think of people like these as being too crude, and just ignore them. I have no idea myself, and by the way, I picked that wine brand name from a list at AskMen. But here is what I have seen happening day in, day out in the world of Linux, and this discussion on Reddit hits the bull’s-eye.

So, the story goes like this: You are unaware of how to do something on Linux, you go ahead and ask a straight question online. You will be surprised to see that people do answer your question, but they won’t exactly answer your query. Instead, they will ask you to go learn five other thing surrounding and including what you wanted to know about, and then get an idea. But then, if you would simply have cursed Linux for making it so hard for you, you would have seen tens of thousands of people come to the rescue, offering you more than one way of doing the same thing.


The world of Linux has had this problem for years. Most people are not too helpful, and the kind of help you get is not very easy to follow either. But then, why does trolling Linux users work? Why do they come in swarms to defend Linux, if you simply curse Linux for being unable to do something?

Here is what I think. When people ask really simple things, they are told to go learn, because Linux gurus see these people as a prospective user, and with this kind of help, they might learn more, and get interested in Linux even more. If along with your question, you also post what you have tried so far, people will take even more interest in you and will definitely help you. Though, looking for a rote solution is like getting homework help, and while you get your stuff done, you do not have any idea of what to do the next time you need help on a variant of that problem. Trolling is like getting homework help, and you are not helping yourself by trolling.

What do you think? Does trolling for answers on Linux work simply because people want to prove that Linux is better?

(Image via XKCD)

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Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.