There’s a whole Internet out there, folks, you might want to check it out

If you're going to add a topic to the Suggestion Box,¹ at least do the courtesy of researching the question before asking it. It takes me an hour to answer each question; it's only fair that you spend ten minutes making it a good question.

For example, one entry in the Suggestion Box asked for the story behind the MANUALLY_INITIATED_CRASH hotkey. But even the most cursory search on the Internet for the phrase manually initiated crash reveals as the #1 hit an explanation of the circumstances under which you would want to enable this feature in the first place.

As another example, one commenter asked where I got the grayscale conversion formula from, but a few minutes of tinkering with a search engine will reveal all sorts of articles on grayscale conversion. (Heck, that's how I found the formula in the first place!)

Generally speaking, I just ignore questions that are poorly-researched, but I felt the need to call out the issue in the first place so you can understand why I ignored your question.


¹Yes, the Suggestion Box is closed for now, since it's got enough suggestions to last me for years. If your suggestion is that totally awesome, then you will surely remember it when the Suggestion Box reopens in early 2010.

Comments (22)
  1. Steve says:

    In other words JFGI!

  2. Nils says:

    You’re aware that by closing the suggestion box you’re inevitably turning comment sections of individual entries into new suggestion boxes, right?

    Think about it:

    “Hmm, the suggestion box is closed. My question is so awesome though — I want him to see it; he’ll surely answer it before 2010. Oh! I know, I’ll just reply to today’s blog post, cluttering it up with another unrelated comment. That way he can’t miss it.”

    That’s my 10 cents.

    [Hasn’t become a problem yet. Fingers crossed. -Raymond]
  3. Adrian says:

    I certainly sympathize when asked questions that are easy to research as the examples Raymond gave.

    Other times, though, searching isn’t as easy as it seems when you don’t know the magic search terms.

    For example, a couple posts ago, Raymond told me there were debug versions of the Windows DLLs for developers to use to find bugs.  I had a vague recollection of something like that back in 3.1 days, so I went searching to see where to find these beasts today.

    I checked the indexes on MSDN, Live Search, Google, Petzold, Richter, Robbins.  All of the terms (Windows, system DLLs, debug, user32, WinAPI, win32, Platform SDK, etc.) were too generic.  I asked my co-workers here at MSFT and at previous companies.  No leads.

    Two days later, after having given up, I stumbled on the magic phrase "checked builds".  Lo and behold, there it is in the Device Driver Kit documentation.

    Point is, researching is a lot easier if you know what you’re looking for, like looking up a word in the dictionary when you already know how to spell it.

  4. John says:

    What if you die before the suggestion box reopens?

    [Same thing that happens if I die before I get to your suggestion. -Raymond]
  5. David Walker says:

    There’s a whole Internet out there?  I thought the Internet crashed.

  6. One of my favorite writers, Piers Anthony, uses word-puns in his Xanth books that were submitted by fans and gives credit for these submissions.  As one might expect, this has created a huge backlog for Mr. Anthony and he has enough material to last several future books.  You might want to check-out how he handles the volume with his "suggestion-box" instead of closing yours — just a suggestion.

  7. John Dunn says:

    Please don’t die :(

  8. Time traveler says:

    2010?!?  By that time, you’ll have become twice the curmudgeon you are now!

  9. Miles Archer says:

    Half the time, what I need from the expert is advice on what to google!

  10. DriverDude says:

    Welcome back, good ‘ole straight-to-the-point Raymond!

    The STP trip reports were a nice diversion.

  11. DewiMorgan says:

    2010?!?  By that time, the monoliths will have started to visibly eat Jupiter!

  12. foobar says:

    Google has pointed me here many, many times. Sometimes I even use ‘’ because I know what I’m looking for is here, somewhere.

  13. John Doe says:

    Alternatively, if you’re going to ask *anyone* smart (and Raymond definitely qualifies there) *any* question, and if you’re not paying them to answer your question, then you might do them the courtesy of reading "How to ask questions the smart way". Despite how it reads, it doesn’t just apply to questions asked of open-source hackers about software.

    I’m not going to bother posting a link – if you can’t find it yourself when I’ve given you the title, you’re not likely to read it anyway! :)

  14. Michael Puff says:

    If Raymond dies I know what on his gravestone will be written: "Start" and the four colored Windows flag. ;)

  15. Brian says:

    foobar: You realize he has a "search" box in the top-right, right?

  16. mh says:

    If somebody can credibly demonstrate that they’ve at least *tried*, I see no harm.

  17. Erik Caymen says:

    I wonder how much legacy Win32 code will be written in 2010. Of course there will always be a need, but in the last decade I would estimate that approximately 98% of my work has been managed code (Java, .Net), and that number is growing every year.

  18. Worf says:

    Hey, aren’t you supposed to link to (Windows) Live Search these days? I know no one uses it, but still…

    (I’ll blame it on muscle memory… Hard to retrain many years of “www.g” nowadays)

  19. Tomer Chachamu says:

    Apologies for the double post.

    So you use Google, eh? DO YOU HATE AMERICA?

  20. foobar says:

    Brian: Just tried it, gives a 404 error -_-‘

  21. Tomer Chachamu says:

    "As another example, one commenter asked where I got the grayscale conversion formula from, but a few minutes of tinkering with a search engine will reveal all sorts of articles on grayscale conversion. (Heck, that’s how I found the formula in the first place!)"

    Yes, but how were they supposed to know that that’s how *you*, almighty Raymond, found *your* grayscale conversion formula? :-)

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content