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Help Vampire

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SymptomsEdit

A Help Vampire is a community member who is so happy to be part of a helpful and friendly group that their first reaction when they have a question is to ask it in a public forum.

Typical symptoms include:

  • Inability to use web search (eg Google) effectively.
  • Inability to read any documentation.
  • Inability to "try it and see", when asking programming questions.
  • Inability to provide a minimal example of the problem, when asking programming questions.
  • Disinclination to try to find any other source of enlightenment.
  • Prolonged extension of the original question with further questions, after the original question is answered.
  • No apparent increase in comprehension after questions are answered.
  • Provides just a brief and vague overview about the problem, omitting precise information about goal and context . Assumes that answerers already know these aspects, possibly witholding this useful information even when directly requested.
  • Targets new questions to a previous individual answerer, instead of asking everyone in the forum.
  • Targets a previous answerer hours or days later, often on unrelated matters.

ExampleEdit

My program don't run. Help!

Can anyone give me the link to download this?

TreatmentEdit

The solution to help vampirism is to answer questions with pointers to the answer rather than the answer. For example, "Googling with the search terms 'open source conference software' turned up some interesting results" or "Did you have a look at (link to user manual chapter in question) the user manual?" This condition is curable, for the most part. The "Let me Google that for you!" search page is a tongue in cheek approach, which adds some humor to it.

Check out this article on 11 ways you can avoid being a help vampire

Related patternsEdit

For its polar opposite, see RTFM.

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