Why questions aren't answered and what to do about it (was: Disappearin

Subject: Why questions aren't answered and what to do about it (was: Disappearing Crescent Honeyeaters)
From: Paul Foxworthy <>
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2001 08:58:38 +1000
At 12:05 AM 30/03/2001 +0930, David & Sue Harper wrote:
It appears to me the only way to get anything out of this lot is to come up with something controversial.

Unfair. The people here who know about Quail Thrushes and Crescent Honeyeaters (and I'm not one of them) are not, in general, the ones who indulge in controversy. They don't indulge in much at all, at least not on this mailing list! They're too darned busy.

There was a classic message posted to one of the Usenet newsgroups with the title "Please Do My Homework For Me". Guess what? Most people won't do that. I'm not talking specifically about the Quail Thrush and Crescent Honeyeater questions, but there are a proportion of questions on birding-aus that anyone with modest research skills and a halfway decent search engine can answer for themselves.

I think birding-aus subscribers are extraordinarily generous when the request is specific. Many people don't have the time to write an essay, particularly just because someone else has asked them to.

I delete over half of the posts to birding-aus based on the subject line alone. It's a fairly high volume group and I couldn't keep up any other way. I suspect I'm not alone and vague subject lines will lose you many readers. To get specific, "Disappearing Crescent Honeyeaters" doesn't look like a question to me.

To summarise:

1. Do your homework first
2. Ask short, specific questions
3. Choose subject lines carefully


Paul Foxworthy

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