Are the posted questions getting worse?

  • Is it me, or are the posted questions getting worse these days?

    I just read a post by someone apparently in charge of something who was asking how to take a database backup and restore it on another server.

    It seems like the general feeling of a lot of DBA's (term used loosely) these days is that they do not need to learn anything by reading or studying and they should simply post questions without doing any work themselves. I would expect that they can click the search button at least once before posting a question in a forum.

    Anyone else disappointed lately, or am I just getting bitter?

  • Hi Michael,

    I do also think sometimes that people don't make enough effort to find the answers themselves.

    Some questions about syntax and things can simple be found in BOL or by using help in SSMS.

    But I think people find it "easier" (less work) to simply post and wait...

    I also find that the amount of info that some people post when asking for help is getting worse.

    I often see posts with a question that is asking alot, but no data, not tables, no queries nothing, and then it still takes 3 or 4 post but others asking for more data before it's actually delivered 🙂

    I guess the OP's are trying to challenge us he he he

    Try to learn something about everything and everything about something. - Thomas Henry Huxley

    Posting Best Practices[/url]
    Numbers / Tally Tables[/url]

  • I don't know if they are getting worse, just more basic. I think a lot of it is because so many third party apps use SQL Server Express or Workgroup, so some guy or gal in an office all of the sudden has to support SQL Server.

    When I started with my current employer they told me thay had no SQL Servers, FoxPro shop, but were looking to migrate to SQL Server. Well, it turns out the Finance department had bought a third party application that came with SQL Server 2000. I found out about it AFTER the box crashed and msdb had been corrupted a few months before so the backup jobs weren't running, thus backups. The vendor had created backup jobs for their databases but NOT for the system databases. If this had happened prior to my being there they would have been in even more trouble.

    I think situations like this are why we are seeing more basic questions.

  • I can understand basic, foundational questions, but what has been driving me batty lately are the questions that you can copy and paste into google and click "I'm Feeling Lucky" and get the correct answer.

    I am just seeing a lot of people that do not do any work before posting. Then they proceed to make you pull teeth to get enough information to actually answer the question.

    It could just be that I haven't had enough coffee.

  • I think in a way - we as a community tend to (inadvertantly perhaps) encourage the behavior. On many other similar sites, ask even a well-formed simplistic question, and invariably you will get back some amount of responses like (see if you've ever seen these):

    - Click here to go learn how to use Google

    - What are you, a moron?

    - Turn your machine off - you don't deserve to compute

    - etc....

    And yet - you really don't see a lot of that here. Even with questions with no specifics and no way to even know what the actual question even is, you will see a lot of "here's how you should ask the question if you want to be helped". Which, frankly, is a much better way to answer the topic in my mind.

    Only when you run across a repeat offender (who should by now know how to get answers, has been asked multiple times already, etc....) do I ever recall even seeing any form of attitude coming out early in a thread.

    Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part...unless you're my manager...or a director and above...or a really loud-spoken end-user..All right - what was my emergency again?

  • I agree. Many times my posts include a quote from BOL that answers the question word for word. It does seem that people will post here without using BOL or on-line search . I think most of the regular contributors to SSC have tried to let others know that we want to help, but please show us that you have tried something.

  • I have to agree as well. Most of us do want to help others who are having difficulties. Look at how many of the regular contributors now have a link to Jeff Moden's article in our signature block. It is important to get people to know how to ask a question, to provide as much information as possible to help them.

    Some people, however, I think some people have started feeling entitled, that they don't need to provide much information or do much of the work themselves. Hey, I just post my request on SSC, and 5 or 6 gurus provide me with the answer, no problem. But do they understand what we have provided them, usually not.

    But, just like officiating soccer, I'll keep helping as long as I a can.

  • IMO sqlserver in finally entering companies because msaccess no longer suites their needs (performance / size).

    "insert disk and run" now gets some shop it guy to the point they actually need to perform some system stuff with it.

    I recently did a presentation on SSMS to a developers public. The big aha-moment was when I pointed them to BOL.

    That highlighting a keyword and hitting Shift+F1 actually gets you to BOL and positions you at the keywords help topic.

    So, many of them just don't know and keep not knowing...

    Then ..... a popular forum is the way to go.


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  • It comes and goes in waves. Plenty of new people being thrown into SQL Server every day, struggling to learn.

    Most people aren't like those of you that answer questions. They're not driven and are looking for an answer, not knowledge. Sad, but it seems to be that way.

    We also have younger generations that have less desire, patience, or skill in asking questions. Everything is a JIT query to them, with only a very limited amount of information provided.

  • I've gotta agree with Michael... the questions have gotten a lot worse. Yeah, I agree that they're probably for the reasons Steve and a couple of others have identified, but WOW!

    And, it's not only the questions... it's some of the gosh-awful answers... in one very recent post for SSIS, one poor fellow wanted to know how to get the numeric value out of a string like A07689 and join it on a column that had 007689 in it. Now, forget how bad a design that is... consider the answer that one wiz kid gave...

    "You should be using derived column transformation, and use substring or available string functions. This would help." ... and that's ALL that was given as an answer.

    Technically correct and, yet, totally useless. There's been a rash of such answers, lately... must be the economy... seems like when the DOW goes down, so does the IQ of the general public. 😛 Just imagine... some of these folks actually have jobs in the IT world. :hehe:

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    Change is inevitable... Change for the better is not.

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
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  • I'm sorry to say this guys but this thread is sounding a little elitist.

    I can certainly understand the frustration caused by a distinct lack of detail provided (or not) by OPs, however, I also think that there are a genuine number of people out there that have a DBA-type role dumped on top of their usual job. If SQL Server was not your main priority you wouldn't want to be wasting time that could be spent on your main role, whatever that might be, searching around the internet for a SQL solution when a good repository of information lies within communities like this.

    Having said that, there is no excuse for OPs not providing the relevant amount of information required to help solve their problem; if there isn't enough info, point them to Jeff's article and leave the thread alone. Likewise, if the answer can be found in BoL, point the OP to BoL. If the community treats these posts consistently and points people to the source of the answer, maybe (and it's just a maybe) the OPs will start to build their knowledge and even learn some researching skills. :w00t:

    Lastly, there's the obvious bad designs (a la Jeff's example). I know when I've pointed out a problem in the design of a system in a post the general replies have been "hey, I didn't build it" and "I can't do anything about that"; which are rather sorry statements. I do try to point out how a to better design the system and save people a lot of time but most of the OPs think they have too much red tape to cut through to the get the changes made or that they are not in a position within the company to drive, or even recommend, system changes. Hopefully, OPs can start using their new research skills - forced upon them by the community not doing the easy work for them - to find out just how important a DBA is. 😀

    Personally, my cage gets rattled when the question posed is blatantly homework. :crazy:


    A Freudian Slip is when you say one thing and mean your mother.
    For detail-enriched answers, ask detail-enriched questions...[/url]

  • I don't think the comments here are meant to be elitist, just frustration. There have been threads on some forums where more information has been requested, the OP has been pointed to Jeff's article (not once but many times), and they just don't get it.

    To make things more frustrating, they aren't getting the answers they want on that thread, so they start another one, asking the same question and still not providing the information needed to help them.


  • I'm trying to be elitist.

  • Michael Earl (11/19/2008)

    I'm trying to be elitist.

    Is it possible to be constructively elitist?:ermm:


    A Freudian Slip is when you say one thing and mean your mother.
    For detail-enriched answers, ask detail-enriched questions...[/url]

  • I think in most cases companies try to put double duties on SQL Developers and now they have to do administrative work. It is definitely in my company, all the SQL Developers are DBAs too. My company sends them to get a MCDBA certificate but the certificate definitely does not make them into an experienced DBA overnight. Actually the person who just got the certificate never touch SQL Server 2005.

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