Looking for technical help online sounds like this:

“Folks, my shower drain is clogged up, how do I unclog it?”

“Why don’t you move to a house with a bathtub?”
“Try not to clog it up in the first place, duh”
“Why would you even need to take your showers at home?”
“Just take out the things that are clogging the drain, how difficult is that”
“If you can’t maintain a shower stall in good conditions, why do you even clean yourself?”

@miramarco I seriously hate my industry sometimes.

I had one the other day that would have been the equivalent to:

Your shower drain is clogged up?? First, remove the faucet handles ... [blah blah blah] ... then you will be able to get water to come out of the faucet again!



This issue has been closed as a duplicate question.

Moderator Note: Please see linked article: My garden hose is clogged, how do I fix it?

@miramarco "Have you tried turning it off and back on again?" 🤔

And then there's the guy who recommends a drain unclogging too, but it only works if you're using a specific brand of pipe in your drain.

@FASA_Andrew_1879 @miramarco As long as you don't provide a video of you trying but failing at unclogging the drain, I'll refuse to help you and say you're lazy !

@miramarco This angers some of my peers, but I make a point to first answer people's questions exactly as worded. Up to them to determine if their question was wrong or not, which they should be able to tell if the shape of the answer also looks wrong.

Sometimes, after making my best effort to answer the question as asked, I may try to suggest a completely different approach (i.e. a different question). But first, the exact question.

Hire lots of tiny elves to climb in and remove the clog, then give them pizza as a thank you.
If you can't find tiny elves, a plunger may work too.

@miramarco "it's not the drain that's clogged, it's the pipes."

Thanks y'all I figured it out (but won't tell you how)
Try this *this link is visible to members - only*


I feel like someone needs to chime in with, "I use a bucket of wet rags, BTW."

I'll see myself out.

@miramarco “I’m having the same problem, my drain won’t unclog! help! (Posted 6 years ago)

Edited 5 years ago: nvm found a way to fix it.”

@miramarco You forgot a big one:
"Why do you want to unclog it? What exactly are you trying to do? Give more precisions on your end goal, maybe there's another way to approach it."

@ChameleonScales @miramarco

This is in many cases a valid response because people are often trying to do the wrong thing due to not knowing enough about the problem.

I answer tech questions daily concerning the FOSS project I maintain.

@jcbrand I've answered many questions on various forums too and got lots of help myself, and although this kind of reply is well-suited for chat rooms or other private or temporary discussions, I think it's rarely well-suited for forums, even if the OP is approaching the problem from the wrong side and here are 2 reasons why: (1/3)

1: Forums are meant to help everyone who stumble upon a similar problem at any time, and the more you specialize your answer towards the specific goal of one person and drift apart from the original question, the less searchable the answer may become and the less helpful the answer may be to the rest of the community. (2/3)

2: People don't like to feel taken for less intelligent, and questioning their way of doing something right from the start kind of has that effect (personal experience talking). On the other hand, answering their question directly and assuming they know what they want and ONLY THEN suggest a different approach makes them feel less judged and therefore more open to criticism. (3/3)


> People don't like to feel taken for less intelligent

Call me old-fashioned, but when asking people (often strangers) to help you with something you're not able to figure out yourself (or don't have the time to), it's a good idea to be humble.

Being humble means accepting that people might rightly question whether you are actually taking the right approach.

Disclaimer: This is not an excuse for jerk-like behavior from the people being asked for help.

@jcbrand That's certain, we should all be humble. And to my experience, showing trust helps others feel humble.
Anyway, it's no big deal, there's no absolute rule on this and we can have different approaches (on how to deal with wrong approaches).

@jcbrand Case in point: I just reported display issues when a file browser is open as root in debian. First answer I get:
"Why do you need to open a file browser as root? I never do that."

I don't think I come in as an angry bastard by saying this is annoying.
Don't worry though, I kept my cool on the forum.


I think it's a fair question to ask.

It takes resources (time and energy) to fix bugs.

If a bug occurs for a use-case that happens extremely rarely, then it might not be worthwhile to spend those resources to fix it. So the question can be seen as a way to determine the priority of the bug.

I don't understand why you think that it's OK to just hand over work to other people without any justification on your behalf as to why this work might be necessary or high priority.

We really don't see forums the same way.
I'm not "handing over" work at all. I'm reporting an issue on a public place as I meet it. Nobody has any obligation to answer, I don't have any expectation and I don't *hand* the work over. Asking a question doesn't mean I stop trying myself. But coming to say you're not concerned with the issue because you're one of the few users who don't use a program the way it's meant to be used is as pointless as it gets. I'd prefer having zero reply.


Could you provide a link to this interaction?

What would you expect to happen? In other words, what would for you be a positive, fruitful response?


I was really talking about issue trackers, which is where I help people, not forums such as this one.

I think my points stand for an issue tracker, but I agree they don't necessarily apply to a forum.

@miramarco "drains are designed not to get clogged, this can't happen"

@miramarco Do you actually need help unclogging a drain or was that just a random example? (I recommend zip-its if the former, especially if you suspect the problem involves hair. Those things are great.)

@lindentreeisle Thank you, but it was an example to show that when it comes to replying to people looking for help on computer-related stuff on the Internet, many people adopt an obnoxious, patronizing, and unhelpful attitude. I translated those replies to a home maintenance context to show how absurd they can sound.

@miramarco Haha, fair enough.

Yeah, I can sympathize. I have spent a lot of time over the years troubleshooting my own computer issues and the depths of people's unhelpfulness is just...astounding. It's like, wow, so you only hang out on this computer forum so you have an excuse to be a self-righteous twat, huh? Cool, cool.

@miramarco it's things like this that make me glad the internet didn't exist when I was in college and I actually learned multiple drain unclogging techniques from housemates in a communal living situation.

I can unclog showers, toilets, and sinks, with or without garbage disposals.

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