What is with the internet? Its greatest strength seems to be the wonderous ability to deliver an endless supply of jerks and morons direct to you. These parasitic people are the ones that truly gain from the internet. Those that provide content, and put energy into producing something on the internet invariably are connected to these countless jerks and morons — as their puppy chow.
I have written a lot of web content over the years. I have released lots of free programs, and published serveral papers, all of which are available online. And here is the rub. After going through all the work — hard work — of producing these free and valuable items for public consumption, it only leads to the expectation by the masses that you will and *must* do everything for them.
I get countless e-mails now, because of these products I’ve given to the world. The majority are inane questions and demands for new features or source code to various programs. These two types of demands drive me up the wall. There are the ones like “Hi Aaron, Can you tell me how to program a good poker program?” Um, sure buddy. Go to University for six years, and learn to become a really good programmer and do a thesis on Artificial Intelligence, and then read all the literature on AI and poker, and also learn to play poker well yourself. Christ, what am I supposed to say? Don’t get me started on their spelling and grammar.
There are also the brilliant ones like “Hi. How do you compute pot-odds in poker?”. Okay buddy. WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME SUCH A BASIC QUESTION!? If you spent 30 seconds on google, or in a library you could answer it yourself. It’s infinitely better than wasting my time. Really, you are wasting your time because I’m not going to reply. See this? It’s me deleting your email.
Then there are the really brash folk that get mad if I ignore their inane questions. HOW DARE I not help them. After all I OWE them an answer. I OWE them a new feature in my free program, I OWE them the source code to all my software, and I OWE them my first born child, and so on. WRONG. Get this through your heads retards. I owe you nothing. Send me some cash or some beer and then I’ll think about it.
The worst part is that 5% of these emails are well written, kind, and intelligent. I can’t just ignore them all. And the line between ignorable, and answerable is hard to find. I don’t mind answering intelligent, kind questions because really, I don’t mind helping people. That is why I give away free things afterall.
Ignoring the dumb requests seems to be far better than answering them. In the past, when I answered these people, like the leechy parasite leg-humpers they are, it just generates more questions. If you ignore them, they don’t know WHY. They might forget they asked, they might think I’m dead or in a coma. Maybe the email never got through. But once I answer, they know I’m alive, and like a wood louse, they bury their heads in and attempt to feast on the goo inside until they are so engorged with blood they pop. Okay, the last part was kind of wishful thinking.