"Use the search function next time" critique

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 12:10
ThreadID: 99960 Views:2871 Replies:12 FollowUps:25
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I believe that this is relevant to this forum and other forums and I would love to hear any constructive comments.

How often do you see things like “If you used the search function you would have found it at . . . . etc etc”. Or words to that effect. Most often than not, with a following link to a similar thread. But never have I seen the knowledgeable searcher give the exact text used in the search function. Never!!! And it is so critical what and how you enter a search string.

Defining the search string:
[i]My wife and I have been playing with computers at home since 1983 when we got our first one. Personally I started in 1970 but that’s another story. I am yet to see my wife and I get exactly the same result from a search, including a Google, when we are both looking for the same thing. For example we are updating our laundry and for the life of me I cannot see how we both searched for a laundry tub and she got the one she wanted and I did not even get the same company. I know why. I called it a tub like my parents did and she called it a sink like her parents did. Its exactly the same thing but a different name. Like petrol and gas (USA)!!! [/i]

You also have this scenario:
[i]At uni, and later, I studied Communication (the real hardware and technical type), Electronics (the bits and pieces inside electronic equipment) and Programming (from machine language to higher multi generation packages). If a bunch of us were having a coffee and one asked the group at the table "What is a processor?" I would, according to the “search yourself” fan or Google expert, type approach, tell you to go and study it at uni.

What's wrong with me just telling you right there over a coffee with the rest of our mates listening what a processor is. They all may learn something.[/i]

Why don’t those, who can find the answer, just answer instead of basically saying nick off and don’t bother us now as we have more important things to read about. That’s how some people come across. If we all used Google and only read what had already been written then Google would not get any new information such as may happen if the situation was not exactly as was used in the “found” answers properties.

This is mainly directed at the multitude of forum and internet specialist who believe the only way to live is out of the Google box.

How often as just passive readers of a thread do we just skip over the links. I do and I bet others do also. Why the hell would Bob, who is a highly qualified and widely experienced welder want to know about a processor. I bet he wouldn't follow the link. However, if you answer right there and then, this happens; "Well bugger me" he says to himself, “That’s why I should keep the moisture away from that box. It’s got a processor in it!” That’s why!

I answer and if I know a relevant link I will give it.

Just my ramblings.

Phil
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Reply By: Member - Keith P (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 12:25

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 12:25
Well I did a search before I posted my thread today...and came across heaps of threads about saw and spotted members.
Now as (Ithink) a first time starter of a new thread on this forum..I was unsure if I posted in an existing thread.. it would "bounce it back to the top of the threads like other forums do....as in the past I have wanted to check on comments I made in other threads that I have replied to...and have had to scroll thru past threads until I found them.
Hence the "New Thread".
Hope hoe I have explained this is understandable


Cheers Keith
Nothin is ever the same once I own it ...........

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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 12:59

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 12:59
Hello Keith

If you want to follow a particular thread over time try using the "Thread Watch" function - you then don't need to look far to find it. As shown in the pics below - select "Thread Watch". Then when you want to look at it go to "My Home" tab at the top of the page and click on "Forum Watched" - a list of your watched threads will appear - click on the one you want to look at.





Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 13:02

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 13:02
I cannot see the relevance to my post Keith. You appear to be answering as if I directed my comments specifically at you. I certainly did not. In fact, when drafting my post, I changed it several times to ensure that it was generic.

What thread are you talking about?

Where is the post in which you used the search function, so that I can read it and see what you are talking about?

A hint:
Your use of all those full stops, that normally define the end of a sentence, confuses me. I find it hard to tell if you are starting a new sentence or not. Sorry mate.

Phil
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Follow Up By: braggy - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 13:07

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 13:07
Your. post. has .more. fullstops. than. his.
But. not. mine.

Chill out abit......... Ken
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 13:24

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 13:24
I thought that I asked for constructive criticism Ken. My post to Keith was meant to be helpful and was preceded by two words, namely; "A hint:", which should show to anyone that it was as stated, a helpful hint.

Phil
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Follow Up By: braggy - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 13:53

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 13:53
OK then

"A hint"

Chill out abit
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Jan 14, 2013 at 08:23

Monday, Jan 14, 2013 at 08:23
Keith,
Are you aware that you can choose how the threads are sorted - either by the order in which they were posted or by response time? Its easier to follow an active thread if you choose the most recent response option. The buttons are in the box at the top of the forum page, LH side.

Cheers,

Val
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 13:03

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 13:03
Hi Phil

From thread 99941 I wrote "In the top RH corner there is a red search button - put in something like "Nullarbor fuel prices" and you will see that there are plenty of forum posts on that topic."

I really dont think that was unreasonable. I knew that that particular question had been addressed many times so there was a lot of info already on the forum. Also I pointed out how to use the search function on the forum, something I suspect many users are unaware of.

John wrote this sites most visited blog "Electricity for Camping" as a guide to assist others on the site. While he often takes the time to make an individual reply to posts, we also frequently just give a link to the blog. After all there is not much point (not to mention a waste of our time) in writing it all out again.

How we respond depends on the question asked. I dont think its too much to ask that people do a bit of research sometimes rather than just expect answers to be dished up to them. If someone says something like "I have done a search and still cant find an answer" then we're happy to help, but if someone is clearly asking for info that we know is readily available then I think a link -or even a suggestion to do a search - is appropriate.

Cheers,

Val

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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 13:16

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 13:16
All understood.

I just find some people jump too soon especially when others have already answered the originator and a discussion is going on.

I had a hell of a time with the "sink" and "tub" problem here. That's whiy I mentioned that the search string must be exactly the same and passed to the "asking poster". But then to weed out the irrelevant results to decrease the fog is where it can be tricky. And experienced "searchers" sometimes forget this. You of course did exactly what I am recommending. You gave the exact string. My point exactly.

Yes re your blog and I did the same about antennas and radio wave propagation. A well presented question can also help. I feel "happy" to answer where the enquirer has taken some effort in presenting the question.

Thanks

Phil
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Reply By: Rockape - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 13:20

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 13:20
Phil,
people can be short and just say use search. I differently don't believe it is a good answer to a post it also tends to scare the poster off.

If the person answering a post gives a link, thread ID or gives some key words to the enquirer all is good, but to just say go search is ignorant in my books.

I will give a good example of search words. At work if we wanted to book a 5l water bottle we would have to put in "carboy" to bring it up. Kiwi word on a global network.

Now if you search for an esky. Do you put in esky or chillibin.

I agree with you fully on this and if my wife and myself look up an item we also come up with completely different results.

RA.



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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 14:09

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 14:09
Same same as the sink verses tub. Aaagh And a chillibin? I hadn't heard that one since we went to Australia's "other" islands.

You should read Val's answer above. She has a good point on what Jogn wrote on the vehicle electrics. But then again as for old Bob in my post some people just find is a lot easier getting simple answer without reading a thesis.

I guess there isn't any ideal situation.

Do you realise that I am missing that cold one next to the TV seat with the one day match on. Do you????

Catchya

Phil
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Follow Up By: Rockape - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 14:23

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 14:23
We are a bit backward up here. Match hasn't started yet just the preamble.

I realise what Val is saying. You can advise them to do a search and Val would be pretty tactful or you can can be blunt and give them some.

Many are new to the site and until they find their way around they can be a bit lost.

Have cool drinks.

RA. I even put ice in my red wine. They didn't believe I was a connoisseur.



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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 14:31

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 14:31
Motherhen would say pretty much the same. And a new body is always worth spending a little time with.

On an important issue; The cricket. The outer is a bit soggy and they are going to have another look at it in about 30 minutes.

Ice in wine! Mate that would spoil the ice. You se RA. I am not a wine drinker. However being fair I will split the difference. You have the wine and I will have the ice. At 40+ degrees I know which one that I would prefer.

Phil
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Reply By: Member - John and Regina M - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 14:23

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 14:23
I agree, yet disagree.
Happy to provide assistance (links, solutions, suggestions) to those who have taken the time to check the information isn't already sitting somewhere directly in front of them.

But how many times are questions asked when the answer is obvious, perhaps as in the manual in the glove box (Why does my car's cruise control cut out when the speed drops about 10k below the set)?

Of course, the glove box manual may be missing.
So use the search function first. It may not take you to the solution first off, but you may learn a lot via the path travelled.

I didn't know what it meant when I first encountered it.

UTFSE. Seems its a ubiquitous problem.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 14:37

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 14:37
I think that it is john. Hi

The glove box stuff annoys me also. Even though I am a bloke I did read the glove box books. I admit that I don't always read the "instructions" but hey!! That's for the women to make them think they are better at it than us and we can continue reading the form guide.

There are pluses on both sides and it's good to see both sides from my perspective.

Not UTFSE mean? Not into using abbreviations. Veg instead of vegetables damned annoys me and shows how "Americanised" the user is.

Thanks for the input.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 14:38

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 14:38
Just used Google. Silly acronyms. I fell into that one didn't I?

Cheers

Phil
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Reply By: Crackles - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 16:45

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 16:45
This site in particular unfortunately lends itself to people saying "Go Search" as if you've been here a while you will have seen those same topics repeated time & time again often with the exact answer the poster is looking for & posted as little as the day before. Other sites that have all posts come back to the top will have threads that go on for years with hundreds of replies all in the one place & importantly easier to find.
I think moderators too could also set the tone better by deleting obviously repeated questions messaging offenders a link to the answer (with an explanation), deleting reply's that say "Go Search" when inappropriate & even shifting follow-up questions across to a like thread again to keep it all in the one place.
Really some lazy posters need to be told at times the answer is in the Google Box, some confused posters given a link & others particularly looking for fresh info given an answer.
Cheers Craig....................
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 18:50

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 18:50
Hi Craig. Welcome to the 2013 debates.

This was the main site that prompted me to post. Yes. Say search but along the lines of my "search string" comments it would be handy to have the right text string to find the right result. Add Search this text on this site. Or similar.

About moderators deleting etc. You have to be mindful of their roll its to keep people like myself and others in line. They may not understand the particular parramaters surrounding the question.

Phil
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Follow Up By: ModSquad - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 19:47

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 19:47
Hello, for clarification...

"I think moderators too could also set the tone better by deleting obviously repeated questions messaging offenders a link to the answer (with an explanation)"

This type of moderation is done if necessary (inappropriate rule). Most common "offenders" are those commenting on a thread they previously started (but isn't yet archived). There are only a few Moderators (all volunteers) and suggesting we search the forum for "similar" threads and carrying out an assessment of suitability every time a new post is made could be asking a bit much.

Also, even though a question maybe a "repeat", previous threads may not have provided the answer required. Threads are archived after 1 month of inactivity, at which time no further response can be made. Sometimes it is necessary for people to start again if previous threads, even if on same subject, don't answer their question or if someone comes up with a new idea. Also things change over time, asking the same question again is not necessarily a bad thing, new information may be provided.

So, issue of controlling repeated threads on same subject is more to do with the forum structure and is not something that the Mods should be given the responsibility of solving and repeat threads may not be all that bad in all cases (i.e. is it a significant issue that needs solving?).

"deleting reply's that say "Go Search" when inappropriate"

We do, sometimes, if spotted.

"& even shifting follow-up questions across to a like thread again to keep it all in the one place"

Moderators on this forum don't have this capability and again this is more to do with the forum structure and is not something that the Mods are around to sort out, even if we could (at this point in time).

Cheers
The ModSquad
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 20:29

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 20:29
Speak of the devils. They are watching us guys.

Appreciate the candid response.

Phil
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Reply By: The Explorer - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 17:02

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 17:02
Hi

"Why don’t those, who can find the answer, just answer...."

Understand what you are saying and many different scenarios but in a recent thread I responded to (the beer can protection one) I just provide a link to an archived thread on the exact same subject because I remembered it had been discussed before, albeit 9 months ago (not because I search the forum for answers every time someone posts a new thread just to catch them out).

Based on your philosophy I should have gone through all the posts in the old thread and provide a summary of all the answers (there was no correct answer just a heap of many options). I don't thinks so!! I provided the link - the OP can search for the answer that they are looking for - why should I do it for him/her? I'm suppose to be working :)

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: equinox - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 17:17

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 17:17
Hi Greg,

I do think it is a bit rude when people just say and go search for it when the same time spent replying could have been spent providing the answer.

On the other hand we have great search tools available to us.
Type can aluminium OR beer OR rubbing OR splitting site:exploroz.com into Google search and "hey presto" you have it.

It's not rocket science and that type of algebra has been around for decades now.

Google Operators

Cheers
Alan

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In whatever comes our way.
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 17:42

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 17:42
Yes - some responses seem rude (even ones that don't reference any links :). I have no doubt in many cases the person is indeed being a smart arse but in other instances its a consequence of maybe abbreviating their response (for one reason or another) and it coming across as being abrupt when they only had good intentions.

I do it all the time at home during normal course of conversation..well that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Rubbing beer can at moment while watching Australia getting flogged in the cricket (and working as well - how good is that?)

There is a Help Button for the search function on the forum which provides some advice - not sure if it's comprehensive enough ? Suspect most people don't bother reading it so probably doesn't matter.

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 20:07

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 20:07
Hi Greg

I agree with the first part but not your second paragraph.

You must be taking me literally. The idea was not to just say go and search but to suggest to search for a certain text string and give it to them. Just like in my thing with the laundry tub. When Sue said to use the word sink instead of tub we were able to get on the same wavelength. Just try a bit more to help and guide them. We aren't all as skilled as you Greg (tongue in cheek mate)

Thanks for the input. It triggered more responses and that was my aim. Just to get people to help their mates a bit more. We have some bad relationships here and maybe this would help getting us all back on the same "pitch".

I have read some threads where "common rail" has been mentioned but I have never read any of the links where a poster has said go to xxxx and you can read all, about it. I don't want to know ALL about it but to just sit on the side and get a very brief "what basically is it" answer would be nice. That is the idea for those who don't want to know ALL but just a tad while "listening in" would satisfy them.
The Aussies fell over!!!!

Long winded - Sorry

Phil
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Reply By: Ross M - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 17:54

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 17:54
PJR
I agree with the above comments.
I have just got into trouble because I dared to challenge.
See thread above.
To do with searches like you mentioned, it seems you now have to be able to not spell correctly in order to find something.

I was recommended I join Wikapediia which I thought was Wikipedia, so I looked and it is.
Although I know what Wikipedia is, it is as you have mentioned, American spelling is the cause of many issues.
The Wikipedia is trying to be an electronic encyclopaediia although they have lost the A.
The Yanks very quickly lost the A if they ever had it in the first place.
If we have a soldering issue Aussies have to learn Yankee speak and call it SODER or it may not recognize the word.

On that thread, Rod N noted the issue of searching and mentioned if it isn't spelt correctly, erroneous findings may happen with a search and that makes the search function ineffectual.

Cheers
Ross M
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 20:14

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 20:14
That's another can of worms. We have been "Americanised" so much it's a wonder that we are even allowed to use the Australian term "mate". Yes it's not unique to Oz but we older more traditional and not American Aussies like it. I do anyway.

What about "two times" instead of "twice" and "straightaway" instead of just "straight"

Woa Phil. Back on topic.

My wife found the same when she used "sink" instead of my family's term "tub". But then I bowed to the better side of discretion and used her term. We both identified the right laundry "sink".

Spouse Diplomacy! Hmmmmmm.

Phil

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Reply By: Skulldug - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 18:51

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 18:51
PJR,

Great post and love your ramblings. Experienced posters who share their knowledge in a modest way make any forum a pleasure.

Skull
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 20:16

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 20:16
And I thank you for your response sir. Nice to meet you for the first time. Have a good day.

Hey! It's raining here and lets hope it rains just down the road on that big fire near Cooma.

Cheers

Phil
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Reply By: pop2jocem - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 19:21

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 19:21
Maybe I have a thicker skin than most or maybe it's that I am just thicker than most but what I have found with this and other forums (fora??) is that there is so much accumulated info that it becomes much easier, after wading through a dozen threads and a hundred replies, to just ask. If anyone wants to answer with "go search" I just ignore that and hope someone will take the time to reply with something constructive. Also lots of info gets "dated", fuel prices, road conditions, which roadhouse is open still or shut down etc.
Some also IMHO ("in my humble opinion" for those that hate acronyms) get a little bogged down when 2 or more respondents start a "my qualifications are bigger than yours" debate and wander way off track. I generally put in my 2 bobs worth if I feel that it may have some relevance and try to stay out of further arguments which quite often offer no help and just confuse the OP.

Oh that's Original Poster (;=))

Cheers
Pop
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 20:26

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 20:26
Pop Thanks for dropping in. You reminded me of a big issue with the accumulation of data on the internet. You mentioned "info gets dated". Too bloody right. And how many times have you read something that is out of date and the more recent stuff was missed. Is Walkers Crossing really open is a good point. No signs are evident on the road. Yet the government site says its closed. Go figure.

Google and other professional advanced search engines try to circumvent this and it is a good point to keep in mind in searching with a less intuitive search engine. This issue is easily overcome by one answering and others commenting or contradicting that response. You will not that reliably by just searching.

Good point "oh thick one". Thick indeed! You kid us not.

Phil
a computer being intuitive - cop me saying that????????.
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Follow Up By: Member - Old Girl - Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 23:53

Sunday, Jan 13, 2013 at 23:53
My three bobs worth
Information gets out of date quickly as above.
When im on my smart phone it is quicker and easier to just ask.
Some people also have limited internet.
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Reply By: Member - Greg H (NT) - Monday, Jan 14, 2013 at 08:56

Monday, Jan 14, 2013 at 08:56
The best search function is to ask at the forum. You will usually get told!

Long live the Forum.

Greg
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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Monday, Jan 14, 2013 at 20:24

Monday, Jan 14, 2013 at 20:24
Hi Phil,

Quote
'Why don’t those, who can find the answer, just answer instead of basically saying nick off and don’t bother us now as we have more important things to read about. That’s how some people come across. If we all used Google and only read what had already been written then Google would not get any new information such as may happen if the situation was not exactly as was used in the “found” answers properties.'

I agree with you re people who tell you to "Nick off and do your own search"
I don't know why they bother as it is usually ignored and leads people to a negative opinion of the offender.

Most of people like the personal interaction that this site provides as well as the quick response times. Also many of us get pleasure out of helping others with information or advice so look forward to people requesting help.

That is why this site is so popular, I believe.

Also the search facility can be inconclusive sometimes and as you say, dependent on the search string used.

Luckily those who are offended by someone posting a popular question are in the minority, otherwise people would not bother with this site.

The other bind is people who get off their bikes when someone poses a different point of view or a little known fact which the offended person may not have known and finds unbelievable.

Luckily we can choose to respond, or not, which ever the case may be.
Sometimes I think silence is the best cure for those fools.

But it would be prefferable if people remembered their manners when responding on the forum otherwise it puts a lot of people off. Me included.

Cheers Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Monday, Jan 14, 2013 at 21:53

Monday, Jan 14, 2013 at 21:53
Hi Bruce. Manners!! Thats another lost world I think.

Thanks for the post. You see, I chose to respond.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 12:41

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 12:41
Hahahaha, yes you did Phil (chose to respond) as did I mate.

Should be more of it. LOL

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Reply By: garbage - Monday, Jan 14, 2013 at 21:07

Monday, Jan 14, 2013 at 21:07
"Use the search function" gets my goat too. If everyone just used the search function, how often would someone have a unique question that has never been asked or discussed in the history of the forum? You'd get maybe a couple of posts per week?
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 12:38

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 at 12:38
Hi G,

Preezackly, its the personal connection people are looking for plus the depth of knowledge coupled with a speedy response.

You really should change your name mate, That one reflects badly on your family. To say nothing of your comments. LOL

What about "The Garbologist or The Sanitation Engineer or even Indispensible."

What about 'Garbo'. It has been used before but a long time ago. LOL

Cheers and all the best,
Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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