Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Does Visiting a Website Entitle You to Free Information?

Why is it that so many people think that just because a website exists, they should get unfettered access to the minds behind the website? Or is it that these people actually don't realize that websites are run by humans - perhaps they think that websites are some type sentient beings put on earth by God to help the stupid navigate through life.

The usual format of questions from people seeking info goes something like this: [No greeting] "I have this antique that was my grandma's.  It looks like a duck without a head, wings, feet or tail, but is pink and I'm sure it is made of gold. What's it worth? [no thanks, just signed] Mr. Stupidwebvisitor" [no photo attached]

This happens on a daily basis, a friggin' hourly basis! What makes you think that I want to provide you with free information that took me years of education, trial and error and hard knocks (oh and don't forget reading hundreds of books) to learn?   ...and for free! The hundreds of thousands of products in my online inventory didn't get there by themselves and there is no free database of antique descriptions that I can use to describe the item and categorize it. No, that stuff I had to learn on my own, or pay employees to do it for me.

Perhaps it is I, who is the stupid one. Perhaps that next time I have a leaking pipe, I should go to the first plumbing website I find and send them an email describing my problem, without a picture, and ask them to help me. Or go find the first doctors website that I find and email a list of symptoms and demand a diagnosis. If you thought to yourself about either example, "Hmm, that's a good idea!" you should be dragged through the streets by your ears. You wouldn't open up the yellow pages and start calling retail businesses or service providers looking for free information, so why do so many people feel it's OK to do so online?

While I'm ranting on the subject.... What's up with seems like a lot of these people being unable to ask an actual question? I've gotten to the point where I just ignore most questions looking for free info, but I most certainly ignore any question that, well, isn't a question. It seems that half the world missed the three week period in second grade where they covered sentence types, specifically interrogative sentences.

This is the basic structure for many o' questions: "Hi. I have (something). It has (lame description that could describe anything from a turd to a FabergĂ© egg). (signed with a first name)." Statements are not questions! Therefore they should not require a response. If all webmasters out there implemented a policy not to respond to statements, maybe these people would eventually get it.  

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