There is way too much being read into all this.
Nowhere have I criticized newbies for anythingI I have simply made observations. Or said that we should be rude to them. Words and ideas are being put where there are none. My point is that newbies would benefit from this site by reading the archives, so if we want to be helpful to them, promote the archives (and yes, definitely provide links to threads) as well as answering questions.
Unfounded attacks are being made here. If we want newbies, or anyone, to use this site, this should not happen.
Yes, sigh indeed.
A minor epiphany thankfully achieved...
Look, there are four levels of competency in any field of expertise.
(1) The student doesn't know enough to know how much it is that he doesn't know.
(2) The student knows enough to know how much it is that he doesn't know.
(3) The student doesn't know enough to know how much it is that he already knows.
(4) The student knows enough to know how much it is that he already knows.
By definition, first-time newcomers to any field, including film, are at that first level. Also by definition, when at that level no one—including the usual smug responders around here when they were at that same level—can even begin to formulate a meaningful question beyond, "I really don't know what you're talking about."
Because they don't even know what it is that they are supposed to be asking about.
The idea is to get them to the second level as quickly and painlessly as possible. And to do so without turning them off. If you can do that, THEN they will be in a position to start researching their own questions, and asking new questions when they tried and failed to find an answer.
And the best way to get them to the second level is to answer their initial first level questions as if it were the first time they had ever been asked. Because for them, it often is.
This arrogance of trying to make things as difficult as possible for others by hoarding knowledge just pisses me off. It's another manifestation of the "tribalism" that 'blansky' correctly refers to. It reflects poorly on traditional photography. It reflects poorly on APUG. And it REALLY reflects poorly on those smug information hoarders, making them look as insecure and immature as a bunch of teenagers.*
I've been known to kill and eat instructors, especially paid ones, who answer sincere student questions with gratuitous follow-up questions...
* Apologies to you APUG teenagers reading this who are, in fact, secure and mature enough to have stuck around APUG even after having this sort of BS tossed at you. You have my quiet admiration.
I think it would be fair to chastise someone like me (9,600 +) posts for failing to look through the archives for answers to questions.
But then, I would be much more likely to ask for help finding something here that I've lost then to ask for something "new"
The search functions themselves are fairly frustrating to use. A "How To" on using them would perhaps be useful.
I disgree Matt...
There's probably not much that I might know about this stuff that you don't. Probably nothing, in fact. But if you WERE to ask a good faith question about something I DID know the answer to, I would immediately stop what I was doing, type up a reply laying out that answer as best I could, and send it off. Even if I happened to know that it was answered in a previous post five years ago.
How rude of me to force you to waste your valuable time to look for something when I already know the answer. I won't do that. To you, or to me. As a member of this community, you deserve better than that. And I am better than that.
RKP, if you feel you are being attacked, that is most unfortunate. However, your most recent post makes your position clear in a way it wasn't before, and thank you for that.
It seems to me that people's "information seeking skills" are changing. Someone schooled before the wide availability (or even invention) of personal computers and (especially) the web & associated search engines may have a much more systematic - or even rigid - approach to finding out information than someone whose experience is of being able to find information "instantly".
(I'm in the former group myself, by the way; I do my research diligently before asking for help anywhere. Of course that doesn't stop me from posting dim-bulb questions when I haven't thought things through properly, as a few of my posts here will quickly testify )
Good point, JBrunner: "Sometimes a newb doesn't really know how to phrase the search, sometimes a search doesn't turn up the good thread or the exact answer, sometimes people just want fresh new info, and yes, sometimes they just don't search."
But what about this: as we 'experienced' know that sometimes the seemingly trivial can be annoying (but such 'annoyance' is duly mitigated by the FACT that they are fresh blood!) why not have a special 'catch-all' forum just for new comers? That way they would not feel so intimidated (like overweight people entering a gym for the first time) and said forum would be a central focus dedicated to their 'unlearned' concerns.
We should be in the business of such encouragement. - David Lyga
Aside from the frustrating search function (I use Google instead), the variety of different answers to the same questions can be off-putting. I have spent quite some time sifting through hundreds of threads only to realize that, at some point, I will have to ask questions that have been answered many times in the past; only a small percentage of which I have even found (and I spend hours searching and reading old posts). It took a _great_ deal of reading to find that certain individuals, or certain styles of answers, are what to look for.
As a matter of fact, there are some things I've decided to go ahead and figure out on my own, resolving to ask certain questions only after I've failed - and I will fail, because 30-some threads on each subject often show no consensus.
Over time, we will be losing more and more of the old-timers who grew up with analog photography and had a large knowledge base about it, and being replaced by more and more who grew up in a digital world and simply do not have the knowledge of the old-timers. Knowledge relating specifically to analog photography, over time, will be diluted and lost. This results in the potential for newbies and others getting incorrect or incomplete answers. But even though we are losing the old-timers we still have their knowledge in the archives. The more the archives are read, the more the old-timers' knowledge base will be passed on to the newbies who seek it and be preserved.
For those who don't know, the search function is not the only way to access the archives. At the bottom of each page you can click on Archive-Search and a page will come up with all the forums. Click on a forum and you can access any thread out of the past.
RPC, nice idea. It may come in handy to look at the forumn that way.
What others have said about the difficulty of searching the archives is true. I recently acquired my first large format camera and have been looking for different kinds of information. There are about 6500 threads in the large format archive alone. Yes, it is hard to get a search just right.
Wow, this thread really devolved...
Can you explain to me what f stops are???