Sunday, June 24, 2007

Charlie bit me...

Found them so cute =D. Specially how the kid said "Charlie bit me"..."Charlie bit me."

Loved the accent.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Notes on Alpha Males, NiceGuys(TM), and Jerks

Was classified as a Jerk... LOL. Read up

Notes on Alpha Males, NiceGuys(TM), and Jerks

This document is composed of various postings to on the subjects of Alpha Males, NiceGuys(TM), and Jerks. Shy guys tend to fit the description of NiceGuy(TM), which is explained below, and they therefore have little luck with women.
From: (Craig Bruce)
Subject: Alpha Males, NiceGuys(TM), and Jerks
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 23:50:19 GMT
Organization: University of Waterloo, Canada (eh!)

Someone wrote the following to me in a private message in response to a posting I made. I won't say who so as not to betray their anonymity, but I have more to say on the subject of Alpha Males/Jerks/NiceGuys(TM).

>So what is it about these "shallow psychotic wasteoids" [Jerks] that attract
>women in the first place? I have seen in my years that they usually
>attract the younger, more minsunderstanding or "rebel-stage" women.

This is very true; I have seen it myself.

>But, ya have to admit, there's something that makes them darn attractive
>or they'd never have g/f's.

Yes, there is something that makes them attractive.

I am currently taking a Social Psychology course locally, and in the lecture earlier today, the subject was styles of intimate relationships. What way discussed was generalized theory, so there are no hard-and-fast rules and many exceptions, but the following material just hit the nail right on the head for me. It has to do with "Attachment Styles" in adult relationships. To learn your attachment style, select the one of the following paragraphs that best describes your feelings. Don't read the descriptions of the types until you have picked one.

A. I find it relatively easy to get close to others and am comfortable
depending on them and having them depend on me. I don't often worry
about being abandoned or about someone getting close to me.

B. I am somewhat uncomfortable being close to others; I find it difficult
to trust them completely, difficult to allow myself to depend on them.
I am nervous when anyone gets too close, and often, love partners want
me to be more intimate than I feel comfortable being.

C. I find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I
often worry that my partner doesn't really love me or won't want to stay
with me. I want to merge completely with another person, and this desire
sometimes scares people away.

Which one did you pick? I am guessing that a lot of people in this newsgroup will pick "C", including myself. The names for these attachment styles are: A. "Secure", B. "Avoidant", and C. "Anxious/Ambivalent" (which I'll just call "Anxious" below). The people of the Secure style report more satisfying relationships than people of the Insecure types (either Avoidant or Anxious). "Secure subjects describe highly positive interactions, characterized by happiness, friendship, and trust. Avoidant subjects indicate a fear of closeness. And Anxious subjects report a love life full of emotional extremes, obsessive preoccupation, sexual attraction, desire for union with the partner, and love at first sight. Thus, there are striking parallels between the Secure attachment style and companionate love [(having your mate be your lover and your best friend... Rod Stewart stuff)], as well as between the Anxious style and passionate love [(Romeo and Juliet type stuff)]."

"Looking back, adults with different attachment styles report different childhood experiences. In research conducted in Australia and the United States, secure subjects describe positive family relationships, while avoidant subjects spoke of difficulties with their mother and anxious/ ambivalent subjects mentioned difficulties with their father. ... Among U.S. undergraduate women, an insecure attachment style is correlated with depression." I also think that these tendancies affect all relationships that you have, to some degree.

If we correlate this Social Psychology theory to the NiceGuy(TM) stuff, we get the following classification scheme for male socio-psychology Back to the classification I posted earlier:

------------ -------- -----------
Alpha Males Secure Outgoing, friendly, intelligent, (socially) powerful,
confident, and fun social-group leaders, "have
their shit together"
Regular Guys Secure Much of the stuff above, but not necessarily leaders,
maybe slight NiceGuy(TM) or Jerk qualities
NiceGuys(TM) Anxious Shy, anxious, low social status, maybe many
friendships with women but few real relationships,
a push-over, walked upon by others, "needy",
"clingy", dependent, self-esteem problems,
desperate, tries to move relationships too quickly
Jerks Avoidant Exciting, arrogant, psychotic scum

I'm using a very specific, negative definition of "NiceGuy(TM)" here. Any of the first three types can be "nice" people, in the dictionary sense of the word. And, well, I would guess that there are parallel female equivalents. It is my contention that most human social groups have a male domination hierarchy of some sort, with the more self-confident males near the top and the less self-confident nearer the bottom. Mind you, they don't butt heads or beat each other up; the more dominant ones lead the group, guide the conversation, are the ones that others look up to, etc. The less dominant ones are followers, and in pathological situations, are ridiculed and taken advantage of. There's probably a female domination hierarchy and a "person" hierarchy. To the naysayers and non-believers, I say to take an analytical look around you. It may be subtle and it may be more or less important in different types of groups, but it's there.

Back to attachment style, here is how people with different styles tend to see themselves and other people. Where one sees positively, when there are problems one will think that they are situational and where there good things one will think that they are more typical. Where one sees negatively, one tends to think that bad things are typical and good things are transient, caused by external forces.

-------- ---------- -----------
Secure Positively Positively
Anxious Negatively Positively
Avoidant Positively Negatively

Self-esteem theory says that we always want to maximize our self-esteem and that we derive self-esteem from two sources: achievement and affiliations (friends, groups, lovers). Of course, it takes self-esteem in the first place to get these things, so it is circular feedback loop, which can spiral both upwards and downwards. Secure types have this whole system working in a healthy fashion. Anxious types tend to have a lack of affiliations (or at least close affiliations) and so they draw more of their self-esteem from achievement (things like 4.22 CGPAs). When both sources are cut off, self-esteem plummets. Avoidant types either don't like to be close to other people or they tend to see affiliations as being achievements... in a pathological way. The way for them to achieve in this area is being able to dominate and control people. Avoidants don't care about other people's feelings and are always looking out for #1. They see people as things to conquer.

The types of intimate relationships that people with different attachment styles tend to have is summarized here:

-------- -------- ------------
Secure Secure Smooth, harmonious
Secure Anxious Smooth -- the Secure person is nurturing to the Anxious
Secure Avoidant Conflict -- Secure loses patience, Avoidant is bad
Anxious Anxious Roller Coaster -- highs and lows, intense emotions
Avoidant Anxious Power -- the Avoidant dominates or abuses the Anxious
Avoidant Avoidant No intimate relationship possible

Women tend to look for security in relationships with men and men tend to look for youth and beauty in a female partner. Consequently, women tend to marry socially upwards and men tend to marry socially downwards. Women tend to marry older men and men, younger women. So, women tend to be naturally drawn toward Secure qualities in men, and tend to be turned off by NiceGuy(TM) qualities. Expressed simply, if a woman can walk all over you, she is not going to respect you. If she doesn't respect you, then she's not likely to want a relationship with you.

Now, about Jerks. Jerks tend to see themselves positively and other people negatively, so they tend to have high levels of self-confidence and little respect for other people. It is the high self-confidence that attracts women to them, as it causes them to be rambunctions, energetic risk takers. They think they're God's gift to women. They tend to be spontaneous without really thinking about consequences. They tend to be impulsive, and so give off an air of danger and adventure. If we look at the chart above, we see that Avoidant types (jerks) don't tend to have relationships with each other and relationships with Secure people tend to be filled with conflict since a Secure person is not going to take the Avoidant's "shit". And so, it tends to be the Insecure, Anxious type of women who falls for the Jerk. These are the women who may be called NiceGirls(TM), parallel to NiceGuys(TM), except that instead of being turned off by the type as women tend to be, the Jerks see these women as easy marks, easy to dominate and thereby increase their self-esteem, and, whatever else a man might want to do with a woman.

Think about it... there's this woman who has a low social status, is anxious and insecure, and there is this exciting guy who wants her. How can she resist? And so she falls in love with him, while he is relatively unmoved emotionally (since his self-esteem is derived from social conquest). The relationship is guided by the Principle of Least Interst: the person who is the least interested in the relationship gets to dictate the terms of the relationship. Result: he treats her like shit. He takes advantage of her, dominates and controls her. He sees problems in the relationship as being her fault, and she is inclined to agree since she sees herself negatively, and if she's very lucky, she even gets to be physically abused.

Another thing: A number of people have either said that Alpha Males are defined as the most physically attractive males or that Alpha Males and Jerks are the same thing. I don't think that that is the way things are at all. Alpha Males are the benevolent socially dominant males of a group that tend to be leaders, care about people, and that everyone in the group tends to look up to, including the females, and Jerks are abusive headcases who socialize in order to conquer people. Physical attractiveness is a different issue, although people who are attractive have an extra card in their hand when it comes to self-esteem and how other people perceive them, but this is only a benefit and not a determinant.

Anyway, this is the stuff that I have to say on the subject. But one more thing: human socializing and mating is a very complicated subject, and the stuff I've said is only a component of it; there are many other factors at work, too.



"If you tied buttered toast to the back of a cat and dropped it from a
height, what would happen?" --unknown

From: Marc Meunier
Subject: Re: Alpha Males, NiceGuys(TM), and Jerks
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 08:08:22 GMT
Message-ID: <>
Organization: University of Waterloo

> ------------ -------- -----------
> Alpha Males Secure Outgoing, friendly, intelligent, (socially) powerful,
> confident, and fun social-group leaders, "have
> their shit together"

Craig, this is some really important material you've brought to light here... One thing I've often noticed about shy people is that we seem to believe, "talking to that cute blonde over there = proposing marriage" and we forget about all the intermediate steps, and that fits in EXACTLY with your Anxious concept. If we attach so much importance to minor things, then of course we'll also worry intensely about those things!

> Anyway, this is the stuff that I have to say on the subject. But one more
> thing: human socializing and mating is a very complicated subject, and the
> stuff I've said is only a component of it; there are many other factors at
> work, too.
> Comments?

All in all, excellent stuff. You should save that in case a shyness FAQ ever gets off the ground :)

One thing - I tend to be wary about slapping labels on things, it's often very destructive. Once you give a name to something, that tends to solidify it in your thinking. People are already all worked up about being "shy", "introverted", "non-Alpha", and now they'll be upset about being "Anxious" and a "NiceGuy (TM)". I think it's important that we define this whole thing as a dynamic - that an Anxious type can, over time, become Secure through learning and experience.
From: (arandia)
Subject: Re: Alpha females
Date: 31 Oct 1996 02:49:36 GMT
Message-ID: <559440$>
Organization:, part of Outernet, Inc. in New York City

Rogerio Yick Kwong Fung ( wrote:

: Why is it that we only see posts about alpha males? I guess alpha females
: are also out there, but I hear so little about them? Or..does this have
: anything to do with the fact that we are more guys in here than gals? :)
: Obviously, it seems that shyness affects women less than men, since there
: are so few of them (but those who are in here are the best ;) ) in here.
: And if we also consider that women are more emotional(its a fact) I guess
: shy women get caught by all the non shy guys of the world. Am I right?

Well, the reason that there are no alpha females is because female modes of social contact are egalitarian instead of hierarchical like men prefer. In a society of "equals", there is no clear leader.

In male groups, it's very easy to spot the alpha male. He's the guy giving orders. Everybody follows him.

In female groups, the dynamic is one of suggestion and validation. While one person might propose an action, ideally one would want the group to reach a consensus before acting.

Good books to read on the subject are:

* "You Just Don't Understand!" by Deborah Tannen.
* "Brain Sex" by Anne Moir.

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"Diary" Sundays at 6:30pm on Time Warner Cable of Manhattan's Ch. 35.
email Yianni: URL:

From: (arandia)
Subject: Re: show of hands
Date: 31 Oct 1996 02:44:13 GMT
Message-ID: <5593pt$>
Organization:, part of Outernet, Inc. in New York City

Scott Ramnarine ( wrote:

: How many people out there are dependant on the opposite sex for
: validation? I am currently struggling with this. Any theories as to
: why this exists? Please reply to me personally as I do not have
: newsgroup access very often.

I used to think that I needed a girlfriend to validate me. That once somebody actually said to me how great my life is then my life would be great.

It wasn't until I decided that *I* make my life great that I attracted my girlfriend. And well, my life validates itself.

watch me on tv! Tell Yianni that you're my fan!
"Diary" Sundays at 6:30pm on Time Warner Cable of Manhattan's Ch. 35.
email Yianni: URL:

From: Daeron
Subject: Re: Alpha females
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 16:53:55 -0500
Message-ID: <>
Organization: Netcom

Rogerio Yick Kwong Fung wrote:

> Why is it that we only see posts about alpha males? I guess alpha females
> are also out there, but I hear so little about them? Or..does this have
> anything to do with the fact that we are more guys in here than gals?

There is no such thing as an "alpha" male or female. These are imaginary constructs invented by half-baked sociologists - who probably flunked physics in college! (Which is why they ended up peddling 'theories' about "alpha males" or whatever.)
From: (Eric Pepke)
Subject: Re: I like you shy people!
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 1996 14:13:10 -0600
Organization: Florida State University, but I don't speak for them

> jlee ( wrote:
> : Hey, I don't even believe in alpha females, much less want to be one--
> : in my mind I'd have to be a she-wolf to do that. Ok, so maybe you're just
> : implying that I'm a bitch! (another joke! or perhaps just a bad pun;
> : at any rate not meant to be inflammatory, ok?)

Actually, I was quite serious. The major purpose of postings like the original here and the "Hi" and "Hello" postings is to divide into two groups: a "liked" group and a "disliked" group. This is pure dominance game-playing, and it's a classic splitting maneuver, commonly used by alpha wannabees to start a takeover.

It's one thing to say "I don't think you're right." It's quite another to say "What you are saying puts you in a special category, that of disliked or unaccepted people." The former is a disagreement; the latter is a dominance game.

Eric Pepke
Supercomputer Computations Research Institute
Florida State University

From: "Hugo Drax"
Subject: an intresting quote. (experiment)
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003 12:32:10 -0500

I first noticed that American women are fucked up when I attended Purdue University in the mid-1980's. No man could open a door for a woman without her screaching "I can open the door myself!!!" at the top of her lungs. Purdue, being a internationally-renowned university draws students from across the country....and those ingrate women screaming at anyone who DARED to show them simple basic courtesy, were, likewise, a cross-section of American females from coast to coast.

I've dated close to a dozen American women....from ALL over the country, all but one was college educated. Not one of them was ever worth the effort of keeping the relationship going for more than a couple of months.

Then, about 5 years ago, I happened to start dating a girl I met down at the pool at my grandmother's apartment. Completely different. Not once did she "misunderstand" anything I said resulting in an argument. When I did something for her, she truly appreciated it. Unlike the previous girls, when she did something for me, there was NOT an underlying motive that I owed here something in return. With the previous girls...every favor done for me....was with the expectation that I would have to do something several orders of magnitude more significant. She has a bachelor's degree in economics, and a master's in business, and speaks FIVE languages.

And yet, she *_NEVER_* belittled me, or otherwise made snotty remarks.

Unfortunately, she was only here on a tourist visa, and had to return to St. Petersburg, Russia. After several months, I said to myself, "well, there's at least ONE girl who is capable of holding up her end of the relationship. I wonder if it was because of how her parents raised her, or what?"

So...I started doing research. Magazines, books, AND personal interviews via Internet Relay Chat [I interviewed both American women, and girls from Russia in various cities....and asked them the same sorts of questions]. To each interviewee, I introduced myself as someone doing a study on various cultures, and asked if I could ask them a few questions.

I used a sexually neutral name (Pat), so that responses would not be based on me being a man.

The feedback from these interviews was....absolutely startling.

I interviewed several dozen girls of each nationality, and, using the logging feature of mIRC, recorded each interview in it's own text file.

The American girls, were, to the very last one...of the opinion that a man's problems were HIS to solve, and that she would not exert any real effort to help him...but if she has a problem, he better damn well get her out of it, or she'll be the most pissed off fucking bitch on the planet. Basically, the attitude is one of -- If I marry a guy, that gives me free license to steal his money, resources and time, and, in return, I owe him nothing.

Apparently, the anonymity allowed these women to express views which would NEVER be openly talked about....especially with a man.

The Russian girls, in contrast, expressed opinions that indicate that they view relationships as a partnership. That marrying a man is commitment to a mutually suppportive partnership. Out of several dozen, there was only one that I would not characterize this way.

In some ways, I was truly shocked. On the other hand, I was EXTREMELY gladdened to discover that Maria was not a "needle in a haystack"....but instead, to realize that, per the analogy of looking for a woman, American culture produces hay, but Russian culture produces the MUCH more valuable MASS QUANTITIES!

In general, Russian women PRIDE themselves on being feminine, AND on how well they fulfill the female half of the division of labor within any halfway-organized family--AND they truly appreciate that men are able (and willing) to do many things which they just are NOT well suited for (either psychologically, sociologically, or physically). In other words...Russian women are aware of their limitations...and are quite thankful for men who help them when faced with a problem which brings such limitations into view.

At the same personal experience is....that the character of your typical Russian woman is MUCH more of a true "Can do" spirit than American women. When an American woman sees a problem, her first response is to call a man (husband to move the couch, police to get her out of her poorly-chosen relationship, etc.)....all the while claiming that she's "independant" and "doesn't need men" to get through life. In contrast...the many Russian women who I have met over the years, have never played "incapable woman-child" when faced with a problem well within their own ability to resolve. Nor do they go around badgering

FURTHER research leads me to believe that the qualities I discovered in Maria...and the Russian girls I interviewed...are not limited to just Russian culture...but are fairly common THROUGHOUT the slavic countries (Poland, Ukraine, etc.) least the Northern slavic countries...I don't yet have enough data from Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, and former Yugoslavia(*) to make any well-founded statement about women from those areas.

(*) In slavic languages, Yugo = south thus, lit "South-slav-land.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

How to paint the MONA LISA with MS PAINT

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Friday, May 18, 2007

There's a school by the church of Malate...

Springs back a lot of memories ( dito ko lahat natutunan mga kalokohan hehe jowk)

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Saturday, May 5, 2007



-=| Character Stat Build FAQ |=-

version 1.4

Quick note:

Use the index guides to search for a particular character stat build.
Highlight the six-character index guide, press CTRL+C, then CTRL+F, CTRL+V,
finally Return/Enter.


-=| Contents |=-

I. Introduction
IA. Copyright
IB. About this FAQ
IC. Version History
II. Stats and Builds
IIA. The Knights { ~KN000 }
1. Basic { ~KN01B }
2. Vitality { ~KN02V }
3. Agility { ~KN03A }
4. PK-Type { ~KN04P }
5. Sweller { ~KN05S }
IIB. The Wizards { ~WI000 }
1. Energy { ~WI01E }
2. Hybrid { ~WI02H }
IIC. The Elves { ~EL000 }
1. Hybrid { ~EL01H }
2. Energy { ~EL02E }
3. Battle { ~EL03B }
3. Agility [Battle] { ~EL04A }
IID. The Magic Gladiators { ~MG000 }
1. Ideal { ~MG01B }
2. Spellcasting { ~MG02S }
3. Warrior { ~MG03W }
4. PK Magic Gladiator { ~MG04P }
IIE. The Dark Lords { ~DL000 }
1. PK-Type { ~DL01P }
2. Command Type { ~DL02C }
3. Vitality Type { ~DL03V }
III. Contact Details
IV. Credits


-=| Introduction |=-

IA. Copyright |=-

This guide is written by and copyright 2006 Christopher Arvin Vinluan,
a.k.a. vinceres_lunei for the exclusive use of the website GameFAQS
( may be not be reproduced under any circumstances
except for personal, private use. It may not be placed on any web site or
otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission. Use of
this guide on any other web site or as a part of any public display is
strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright.

All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by
their respective trademark and copyright holders.

IB. About this FAQ |=-

Hi everyone and welcome to my MU Stat Buildup FAQ. This is my second FAQ
to be submitted on GameFAQS (the first being the Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer
Move List FAQ).

IC. Version History |=-

1.0 - Uploaded the Stat Build FAQ (the DL stat builds coming soon).

1.3 - Added a few notes here and there, corrected a li'l slip-up, and I've
finally finished testing the DL stat builds (thanks v_hunter! n_n)

1.4 - Patched up the tiny blank I accidentally left (thanks again v_hunter!)
and added ASCII art.


-=| Stats and Builds |=-

Stats affect every aspect of your character in MU. Whether you are in Bahr,
Titan (the merged Maya & Wigle servers) or Test (where I have my account), the
stats you distribute play a very big role on how you play.

As there are different characters in MU, there are also different ways of
playing them. There are curerntly five playable characters in MU: the Dark
Knight [DK] (which evolves into the Blade Knight [BK]), Dark Wizard [DW] (Soul
Master [SM]), Fairy Elf [FE] (Muse Elf [ME]), Magic Gladiator [MG] and Dark
Lord [DL]. You get the MG by getting one character to level 220, and the DL by
level 250.


MU Philippines has now phased out its Test Server and replaced it with the
Muren (Kara2) Server. The Muren patch now has the Land of Trial, Aida and the
Crywolf Fortress open to the public.


IIA. The Knights |=-

The Dark Knight is one of the most favorite characters in MU Philippines.
He has high power, deadly skills, tons of armor, and a wide array of weapons
to choose from. After completing the Scroll of Emperor and Broken Sword quests,
you can become a Blade Knight.

One reason that the knight is so favored is due to his lethal Combo, a
string of attacks that is unique only to the Blade Knight. The Combo quest is
exclusive to Blade Knights Lv250 and above.

Three attacks make up the Combo, one from the weapon itself and the other
two from your skill arsenal: Twisting Slash, Rageful Blow, and Death Stab. The
first can be acquired while still a DK, the other two require BK status. Most
Blade Knights favor weapons with the Cyclone Cutting skill.

{ ~KN000 }

IIA1. Basic Knight

Str: 700~800
Agi: 700~800
Vit: 300
Ene: 200

Recommended Weapons:
Basically anything

Recommended Armor Set:
Anything up to a +7~+9 Black Dragon Set

The Basic Knight build is, well, ideal for beginner knight players because
of its balanced stat distribution. First-time Knights don't need mana that
badly, and the 700-800 agi points translate into decent evasion and attack

{ ~KN01B }

IIA2. Vitality Knight

Str: 500
Agi: 600
Vit: 800~1000
Ene: 150~200

Recommended Weapons:
Basically anything

Recommended Armor Set:
+7 Dragon Set
+9~+13 Garuda Brass Set

It should be pretty obvious that this build emphasizes more on your HP,
thus making you a *bit* exasperating target for PK'ers and monsters alike.
What more if you're the type who likes to use Greater Fortitude every now and

{ ~KN02V }

IIA3. Agility Knight

Str: 500
Agi: 1600
Vit: 300
Ene: 100

Recommended Weapons: **LIMITED FROM +7 UP TO +9**
Swords (Sword Of Destruction, Knight Blade, Dark Breaker, etc.)
Spears (Dragon Spear)

Recommended Armor Set:
+7 Dragon Set or +7 Black Dragon Set

Agility points in MU reflect your attack speed and evasion, sometimes your
damage (as is the case for Elves). A high-agi knight is necessary for quick
assaults, ambushes, and staying long in duels.

The weapon level limit restriction is due to the possibility that they may
not be able to meet the required stats.

{ ~KN03A }

IIA3. PK-Type Knight

Str: 1000
Agi: 260
Vit: 800
Ene: 120

Recommended Weapons:
Swords (Sword Of Destruction, Knight Blade, Dark Breaker, etc.)
Spears (Dragon Spear)

Recommended Armor Set:
+13 Dark Phoenix Set or +7 or higher Great Dragon Set
+13 Hyon Dragon or Kantata Plate Set

As you can see, the PK Knight has high str, decent agi, and a big chunk of
hit points. This buid is ideal for your sub (second) characters, because by the
time you've leveled your first character up you would've set aside an armor set
along with the weapons. Not to mention this knight would be very in demand when
it comes to duels, guild wars or castle defense/siege.

{ ~KN04P }

IIA3. Sweller Type Knight

Str: 500
Agi: 500
Vit: 800+
Ene: 1000~1500

Recommended Weapons: **LIMITED TO +7**
Blunt weapons (Morning Star, Flail, Crystal Morning Star, etc.)
Swords (Sword Of Destruction, Knight Blade, Dark Breaker, etc.)

Recommended Armor Set:
+7 ~ +13 Bronze Set or +7 Dragon Set
+9 ~ +13 Hyperion Bronze Set

The high ene stat translates to 300+% skill damage, meaning if you have
this knight cast Greater Fortitude while solo or in a party, the hp increase
would be big. As in BIG, with almost a 1.5x increase! One downside is that he
can't be in the thick of the fight at the frontlines, but he can be a big help
along the middle columns, providing cover for the wizards and elves. Hey, a 300
percent skill damage increase is still a 300 percent skill damage increase!

{ ~KN05S }

IIB. The Wizards |=-

These are the magicians of MU. Although they have low physical power, they
make up for it by their astounding magical prowess. Wizards (and their second-
level counterparts Soul Masters) make a big contribution to their guilds with
powerful magic spells such as Nova, Aqua Beam, and Teleport Ally.

{ ~WI000 }

IIB1. Energy Wizard

Str: (Meet the requirements of your equipment)
Agi: (Meet the requirements of your equipment)
Vit: 600~800
Ene: 1200~1500

Recommended Weapons:
Staffs (Staff of Destruction, Legendary Staff, etc.)

Recommended Armor Set:
+7 ~ +13 Legendary Set, Grand Soul or Dark Soul Set
+9 ~ +13 Anubis Legendary Set

As far as I know, this is the most widely used build in MU Philippines for
Wizards. Energy dictates the amount of damage you inflict on opponents (esp.
the special or magical attacks), so having a high energy stat will mean a high
amount of damage inflicted. The downside, of course, would be your VERY LOW
DEFENSE - one hit from close range, or one stray Ice Arrow will almost surely
kill you. Unless, of course, you cast Nova first... (-.-)

{ ~WI01E }

IIB2. Hybrid Wizard

Str: (Meet the requirements of your equipment)
Agi: 800+
Vit: (Any value will do)
Ene: 800+

Recommended Weapons:
Staffs (is there any other weapon??)

Recommended Armor Set:
+7 ~ +13 Legendary, Grand Soul or Dark Soul Set

For those who wish to strike a balance between a fast-casting wizard and
at the same time keep decent damage. Don't expect your wizard to make a one -
hit kill, though...

{ ~WI02H }

IIC. The Elves |=-

Ah, the Elves. They're the only females in MU (aside from Queen Rainiers in
Icarus and Ice Queens in Devias ^^), can use (cross)bows and maces, and some of
the Knight's weaponry. Elves excel primarily in ranged combat and support, thus
making them an invaluable part of any guild.

{ ~EL000 }

IIC1. Hybrid Elf

Str: (Meet the requirements of your equipment)
Agi: 1200
Vit: 50
Ene: 750

Recommended Weapons:
Crossbows (Great Reign Crossbow/Saint Crossbow)
Bows (Arrow Viper Bow/Celestial Bow)

Recommended Armor Set:
+7 ~ +13 Divine Set or +7 ~ +13 Red Spirit Set

The Hybrid Elf is more or less the most common elf build on MU, as she can
heal and buff comrades, as well as actively participate in combat with her
summons and her deadly Ice Arrow skill. On the other hand, her only drawback
is her VERY LOW HP. Once a Knight gets too close to her, it's an almost
assured kill.

{ ~EL01H }

IIC2. Energy Elf

Str: (Meet the requirements of your equipment)
Agi: (Meet the requirements of your equipment)
Vit: (Any value will do)
Ene: 1500+

Recommended Weapons:
Elemental Weapon Set (Scepter + Mace)
Any shield + Kris

Recommended Armor Set:
+7 ~ +13 Vine, Silk or Wind Set (anything higher needs more Str)
+7 ~ +13 Excellent Vine or Slik Set

This is a difficult build, but in the end it pays for itself. Having a low
attack power can be daunting, but when you're in a party your buffing and/or
healing is considerably better.


I've confirmed that using a Kris would enable your Elf to cast spells
faster than using the Elemental Mace, but the Elemental Shield would be your
best bet for additional defense.

{ ~EL02E }

IIC3. Battle Elf

Str: 750+
Agi: 750
Vit: 150~250
Ene: 300+

Recommended Weapons:
Anything but bows/crossbows

Recommended Armor Set:
+7~+13 Divine Set

Why did I say anything but bows? Much as I hate to admit it, Battle elves
deal so-so damage on bows. They're better off using other weapons. Her edge
over other elves is her higher HP, and slightly faster attacking.

{ ~EL03B }

IIC3. Agility [Battle] Elf

Str: (Meet the requirements of your equipment)
Agi: 1200-1500
Vit: 450+
Ene: (Any value will do)

Recommended Weapons:
Bows (Arrow Viper Bow/Celestial Bow/Sylphy Wind Bow)
Crossbows (Great Reign Crossbow/Saint Crosssbow)

Recommended Armor Set:
+7 ~ +13 Red Spirit or Sylphy Wind Set
+7 ~ +13 Excellent Divine, Odin Wind or Argo Spirit Set

Quick attack speed, kicka$$ damage, and excellent long-range combat skills
make this Elf another must-have in any guild. The Red Spirit set goes well with
the Arrow Viper Bow, too.

{ ~EL04A }

IID. The Magic Gladiators |=-

Magic Gladiators are a crossbreed between Dark Knights and Wizards. He can
use the Wizard's magical arsenal, and also utilize the Knight's weaponry. But
in spite of his apparent advantages, the MG cannot use all the skills of either
character. To make up for this deficit, he is granted seven stat points per

{ ~MG000 }

IID1. Basic Magic Gladiator

Str: 450
Agi: 700
Vit: 200
Ene: 700

Recommended Weapons:
1-hand/2-hand swords
1-hand staffs

Recommended Armor Set:
+7 ~ +9 Storm Crow Set

Being crossbred, an MG has a mix of weaknesses. For example, since he has
the Wizard's affinity for magic, he needs to have an adequate mana supply,
and at the same time his Knight's nature requires him to have a minimum amount
of strength to be able to use his (DK's) equipment. See the point?

{ ~MG01B }

IID2. Spellcasting Magic Gladiator

Str: (Meet the requirements of your equipment)
Agi: (Meet the requirements of your equipment)
Vit: (Any value will do)
Ene: 800~1200

Recommended Weapons:

Recommended Armor Set:
+7 Legendary Set or +7 Storm Crow, Thunder Hawk or Hurricane Set

Similar to the Energy Wizard build, this MG has a lot of mana waiting to be
expended and once you start, it's hard to stop this MG from killing monster
mobs in a jiffy. Better to put up a store and say, "Spot Taken!"

{ ~MG02S }

IID3. Warrior Magic Gladiator

Str: 700~775
Agi: 650~825
Vit: 250
Ene: 300

Recommended Weapons: **LIMITED FROM +7 UP TO +9**
Blades/Swords (1h/2h)
Axes (1h/2h)

Recommended Armor Set:
Almost anything +7 ~ +9, even +13

If you'll notice, this build is taken from the Basic Knight. As opposed to
the build mentioned above, this one focuses on the MG's Knight nature.

{ ~MG03W }

IID4. PK Magic Gladiator

Str: 1000
Agi: 600
Vit: 743
Ene: 450

Recommended Weapons:
+9 ~ +13 Blades (Rune, Dark Reign, Thunder)

Recommended Armor Set:
+9 ~ +13 Storm Crow, Hurricane or Thunder Hawk Set
+9 ~ +13 Gaion Storm Crow Set
+9 ~ +13 Garuda Brass Set [there's no helm required, Hyon Set has]

Looking closely, you'll notice that most, if not all, PK builds are based
on the PK Type Knight. Again it is on the PK Magic Gladiator. You still have
to consider your Wizardry damage, therefore the 450 Energy. Oh, that also
reflects your skill damage (Knight affinity).

{ ~MG04P }

IIE. The Dark Lords|=-

The newest character to enter MU, the Dark Lord has FIVE stat parameters
instead of the usual four (Strength, Agility, Vitality, and Energy). The fifth
stat is COMMAND, which dictates how many members a DL may hold in a guild at
any given time, and also how well he controls his "pets" (the Dark Horse and
the Dark Raven).

{ ~DL000 }

IIE1. PK Type Dark Lord

Str: 1000
Agi: 550
Vit: 1000
Ene: 143
Com: 100

Recommended Weapons:
+13 Excellent Lord Scepter

Recommended Armor Set:
Anything up to a +13 Excellent Dark Master Set

The PK Type Dark Lord is basically a reflection of the PK-Type Knight. You
have to sacrifice the (effectively useful) Dark Raven to have greater attack
and more hit points, thankfully the Dark Horse doesn't have any other stat
requirement aside from levels (a Lv50 Dark Horse requires a DL to be Lv318).
Aside from the obvious benefits of the Raven, you also sacrifice the equally
powerful Dark Lord attack spell Electric Spark. The only spells you can use
would be Fireburst and the starting DL skill Force Wave.

{ ~DL01P }

IIE2. Charisma Type Dark Lord

Str: 500
Agi: 250
Vit: 700
Ene: 408
Com: 935

Recommended Weapons:
Anything up to a +9 Great Scepter

Recommended Armor Set:
+9 ~ +13 Dark Steel Set
+7 ~ +13 Warrior Leather Set

If the PK Type Dark Lord has only the Dark Horse, the Command type (also
known as the Charisma type) Dark Lord has both the Dark Raven and Dark Horse,
and he also has the other spells Summon, Critical Damage, and Electric Spark
in his arsenal. Although he has significantly lower hit points than the PK DL,
he makes up for it with his Raven (which has a two full screens-wide area of
reach diameter). And need I say that the Electric Spark would be enough to
stop your would-be attackers?

{ ~DL02C }

IIE3. Vitality Dark Lord

Str: 500
Agi: 250
Vit: 1200
Ene: 400
Com: 443

Recommended Weapons:
+9 ~ +13 Warrior Morning Star
+7 ~ +13 Excellent Kris + any blunt weapon [up to +9]

Recommended Armor Set:
+9 ~ +13 Warrior Leather Set

This is basically a reflection of another Knight build: the Vit Knight.
Although the Vitality Dark Lord has no Raven (a major sacrifice for most DLs),
or a low-level Raven (maybe a maximum of lvl10), he is vital to castle defense,
beside an Energy-type Knight for backup and one Full-Support [Energy] Elf and
an Agility Battle Elf for cover. He has probably the largest HP among all
character types and builds. But, like the Energy Elf, the low attack power can
be a real downright pain in the butt.

{ ~DL03V }

III. Contact Details |=-

That's it for my guide. Feel free to email me at:

or at my new e-mail add:

for any questions, comments, and other what-have-you. I'll try to reply via
email, but if you want your question posted (under the veil of anonymity, of
course), just let me know. That's it for now.


IV. Credits |=-

Thanks a lot to the following:

GameFAQS for the great site. Without you guys, I don't know where I'll be now;

WebZen for making this kickass game;

Mobius(c) for releasing this kickass game to the public;

v_hunter for helping test the Dark Lord builds;

My Hybrid [Guild Master] Elf, sasha06 (now deceased - May Kundun rot in Hell),
and my Blade Knight, [Rylan], for volunteering as stat build models;

My younger brother, Christian Albert, and his Blade Knights (tangax2 and bk2k6)
and his Soul Master for volunteering as well;

and to YOU, the reader, because if it wasn't for you I won't be making this FAQ

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

To Zanarkand FFX

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Haunting The Diabolical

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The Lost Tomb of Jesus ? ? ?

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Thursday, April 12, 2007


  • TAPSILOG - Tapa, Sinangag, Itlog
  • LONGSILOG - Longganisa, Sinangag, Itlog
  • HOTSILOG - Hotdog, Sinangag, Itlog
  • PORKSILOG - Pork, Sinangag, Itlog
  • CHICKSILOG - Chicken, Sinangag Itlog
  • AZUCARERA - Adobong Aso
  • LUGLOG - Lugaw, Itlog
  • PAKAPLOG - Pandesal, Kape, Itlog
  • KALOG - Kanin, Itlog
  • PAKALOG - Pandesal, Kanin, Itlog
  • MAALOG NA BETLOG - Maalat na Itlog, Pakbet, Itlog
  • BAHAW - Bakang Inihaw (akala ninyo kaning lamig ano)
  • KALKAL - Kalderetang Kalabaw
  • HIMAS - Hipon Malasado
  • HIMAS SUSO - Hipon Malasado, Sugpo, Keso
  • HIMAS PEKPEK - Hipon Malasado, Kropek, Pinekpekan
  • PEKPEK MONG MALAKI - Kropek, Pinekpekan, Monggo, Malasado, Laing, Kilawin
  • DILA - Dinuguan, Laing
  • DILAAN MO - Dinuguan, Laing, Dalandan, Molo
  • BOKA BOKA - Bopis, Kanin, Bokayo, Kape
  • BOKA BOKA MO PA - Bopis, Kanin, Bokayo, Kape, Molong Pancit
  • KANTOT - Kanin, Tortang Talong
  • KANTOT PA - Kanin, Tortang Talong, Pancit
  • SIGE KANTOT PA - Sinigang na Pige, Kanin, Tortang Talong, Pancit
  • SIGE KANTOT PA IBAON MO - Sinigang na Pige, Kanin, Tortang Talong, Pancit (Take out)
  • SIGE KANTOT PA HA - Sinigang na Pige, Kanin, Tortang Talong, Pancit, Halo-halo
  • SIGE KANTOT PAIBAON MO PAPA - Sinigang na Pige, Kanin, Tortang Talong, Pancit (Take out with Ketchup)
  • PAKANTOT - Pandesal, Kanin, Tortang Talong
  • PAPAKANTOT - Papaitan, Kanin, Tortang Talong
  • PAPAKANTOT KA BA - Papaitan, Kanin, Tortang Talong, Kapeng Barako
  • PAKANTOT SA YO - Pandesal, Kanin, Tortang Talong, Saging + Yosi
  • PAKANTOT KA - Pandesal, Kanin, Tortang Talong, Kape
  • PAKANTOT KA HABANG MATIGAS PA - Pandesal, Kanin, Tortang Talong, Kape, Inihaw na Bangus, Maruya, Tinola, Ginisang Aso, Pancit
  • SUBO - Sugpo, Bopis
  • SUBO MO - Sugpo, Bopis, Molo
  • SUBO MO PA - Sugpo, Bopis, Molo, Pancit
  • SUB O MO PA MAIGE - Sugpo, Bopis, Molo, Mais, Pige
  • SUBO MO TITE KO - Sugpo, Bopis, Tinola, Teryaki, Kochinta
  • SUBO MO TITE KO BILIS - Sugpo, Bopis, Tinola Teryaki, Kochinta, Bihon, Tawilis
  • SUBO MO TITE KO BILIS, HAYOP! - ...same as #39, minura mo lang yung waiter kasi ang tagal.

Ikaw, anong gusto mo?

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Music and Lyrics

Nice song...Nice movie



I've been living with a shadow over head
I've been sleeping with a cloud on my bed
I've been lonely for so long
Trapped in the past, I just can't seem to move on

I've been hiding all my hopes and dreams away
Just in case I have in need of them again someday
I've been setting aside time to clear a little space in the corners of my mind

All I wanna do is find the way back into love
I can't make it through without a way back into love

I've been watching for the stars that used to shine
I've been searching but I just don't see the sign
I know that it's out there
There gotta be something from my soul somewhere

I've been looking for someone to shed some light
Not somebody just to get me through the night
I could use some directions
And I'm open to your suggestions

All I wanna do is find the way back into love
I can't make it through without a way back into love

And if I open my heart to you
I hope that you'll tell me what to do
And if you help me to start again
You know that I'll be there for you in the end ( more ) ( less )

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

How to Ask Questions the Smart Way

taken from


In the world of hackers, the kind of answers you get to your technical questions depends as much on the way you ask the questions as on the difficulty of developing the answer. This guide will teach you how to ask questions in a way more likely to get you a satisfactory answer.

Now that use of open source has become widespread, you can often get as good answers from other, more experienced users as from hackers. This is a Good Thing; users tend to be just a little bit more tolerant of the kind of failures newbies often have. Still, treating experienced users like hackers in the ways we recommend here will generally be the most effective way to get useful answers out of them, too.

The first thing to understand is that hackers actually like hard problems and good, thought-provoking questions about them. If we didn't, we wouldn't be here. If you give us an interesting question to chew on we'll be grateful to you; good questions are a stimulus and a gift. Good questions help us develop our understanding, and often reveal problems we might not have noticed or thought about otherwise. Among hackers, “Good question!” is a strong and sincere compliment.

Despite this, hackers have a reputation for meeting simple questions with what looks like hostility or arrogance. It sometimes looks like we're reflexively rude to newbies and the ignorant. But this isn't really true.

What we are, unapologetically, is hostile to people who seem to be unwilling to think or to do their own homework before asking questions. People like that are time sinks — they take without giving back, and they waste time we could have spent on another question more interesting and another person more worthy of an answer. We call people like this “losers” (and for historical reasons we sometimes spell it “lusers”).

We realize that there are many people who just want to use the software we write, and who have no interest in learning technical details. For most people, a computer is merely a tool, a means to an end; they have more important things to do and lives to live. We acknowledge that, and don't expect everyone to take an interest in the technical matters that fascinate us. Nevertheless, our style of answering questions is tuned for people who do take such an interest and are willing to be active participants in problem-solving. That's not going to change. Nor should it; if it did, we would become less effective at the things we do best.

We're (largely) volunteers. We take time out of busy lives to answer questions, and at times we're overwhelmed with them. So we filter ruthlessly. In particular, we throw away questions from people who appear to be losers in order to spend our question-answering time more efficiently, on winners.

If you find this attitude obnoxious, condescending, or arrogant, check your assumptions. We're not asking you to genuflect to us — in fact, most of us would love nothing more than to deal with you as an equal and welcome you into our culture, if you put in the effort required to make that possible. But it's simply not efficient for us to try to help people who are not willing to help themselves. It's OK to be ignorant; it's not OK to play stupid.

So, while it isn't necessary to already be technically competent to get attention from us, it is necessary to demonstrate the kind of attitude that leads to competence — alert, thoughtful, observant, willing to be an active partner in developing a solution. If you can't live with this sort of discrimination, we suggest you pay somebody for a commercial support contract instead of asking hackers to personally donate help to you.

If you decide to come to us for help, you don't want to be one of the losers. You don't want to seem like one, either. The best way to get a rapid and responsive answer is to ask it like a person with smarts, confidence, and clues who just happens to need help on one particular problem.

(Improvements to this guide are welcome. You can mail suggestions to or Note however that this document is not intended to be a general guide to netiquette, and we will generally reject suggestions that are not specifically related to eliciting useful answers in a technical forum.)

Before You Ask

Before asking a technical question by e-mail, or in a newsgroup, or on a website chat board, do the following:

  1. Try to find an answer by searching the archives of the forum you plan to post to.

  2. Try to find an answer by searching the Web.

  3. Try to find an answer by reading the manual.

  4. Try to find an answer by reading a FAQ.

  5. Try to find an answer by inspection or experimentation.

  6. Try to find an answer by asking a skilled friend.

  7. If you're a programmer, try to find an answer by reading the source code.

When you ask your question, display the fact that you have done these things first; this will help establish that you're not being a lazy sponge and wasting people's time. Better yet, display what you have learned from doing these things. We like answering questions for people who have demonstrated they can learn from the answers.

Use tactics like doing a Google search on the text of whatever error message you get (searching Google groups as well as Web pages). This might well take you straight to fix documentation or a mailing list thread answering your question. Even if it doesn't, saying “I googled on the following phrase but didn't get anything that looked promising” is a good thing to do in e-mail or news postings requesting help, if only because it records what searches won't help.

Take your time. Do not expect to be able to solve a complicated problem with a few seconds of Googling. Read and understand the FAQs, sit back, relax and give the problem some thought before approaching experts. Trust us, they will be able to tell from your questions how mnuch reading and thinking you did, and will be more willing to help if you come prepared. Don't instantly fire your whole arsenal of questions just because your first search turned up no answers (or too many).

Prepare your question. Think it through. Hasty-sounding questions get hasty answers, or none at all. The more you do to demonstrate that having put thought and effort into solving your problem before seeking help, the more likely you are to actually get help.

Beware of asking the wrong question. If you ask one that is based on faulty assumptions, J. Random Hacker is quite likely to reply with a uselessly literal answer while thinking “Stupid question...”, and hoping the experience of getting what you asked for rather than what you needed will teach you a lesson.

Never assume you are entitled to an answer. You are not; you aren't, after all, paying for the service. You will earn an answer, if you earn it, by asking a substantial, interesting, and thought-provoking question — one that implicitly contributes to the experience of the community rather than merely passively demanding knowledge from others.

On the other hand, making it clear that you are able and willing to help in the process of developing the solution is a very good start. “Would someone provide a pointer?”, “What is my example missing?”, and “What site should I have checked?” are more likely to get answered than “Please post the exact procedure I should use.” because you're making it clear that you're truly willing to complete the process if someone can just point you in the right direction.

When You Ask

Choose your forum carefully

Be sensitive in choosing where you ask your question. You are likely to be ignored, or written off as a loser, if you:

  • post your question to a forum where it's off topic

  • post a very elementary question to a forum where advanced technical questions are expected, or vice-versa

  • cross-post to too many different newsgroups

  • post a personal e-mail to somebody who is neither an acquaintance of yours nor personally responsible for solving your problem

Hackers blow off questions that are inappropriately targeted in order to try to protect their communications channels from being drowned in irrelevance. You don't want this to happen to you.

The first step, therefore, is to find the right forum. Again, Google and other Web-searching methods are your friend. Use them to find the project webpage most closely associated with the hardware or software giving you difficulties. Usually it will have links to a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) list, and to project mailing lists and their archives. These mailing lists are the final places to go for help, if your own efforts (including reading those FAQs you found) do not find you a solution. The project page may also describe a bug-reporting procedure, or have a link to one; if so, follow it.

Shooting off an e-mail to a person or forum which you are not familiar with is risky at best. For example, do not assume that the author of an informative webpage wants to be your free consultant. Do not make optimistic guesses about whether your question will be welcome — if you're unsure, send it elsewhere, or refrain from sending it at all.

When selecting a Web forum, newsgroup or mailing list, don't trust the name by itself too far; look for a FAQ or charter to verify your question is on-topic. Read some of the back traffic before posting so you'll get a feel for how things are done there. In fact, it's a very good idea to do a keyword search for words relating to your problem on the newsgroup or mailing list archives before you post. It may find you an answer, and if not it will help you formulate a better question.

Don't shotgun-blast all the available help channels at once, that's like yelling and irritates people. Step through them.

Know what your topic is! One of the classic mistakes is asking questions about the Unix or Windows programming interface in a forum devoted to a language or library or tool portable across both. If you don't understand why this is a blunder, you'd be best off not asking any questions at all until you get it.

In general, questions to a well-selected public forum are more likely to get useful answers than equivalent questions to a private one. There are multiple reasons for this. One is simply the size of the pool of potential respondents. Another is the size of the audience; hackers would rather answer questions that educate many people than questions serving only a few.

Understandably, skilled hackers and authors of popular software are already receiving more than their fair share of mis-targeted messages. By adding to the flood, you could in extreme cases even be the straw that breaks the camel's back — quite a few times, contributors to popular projects have withdrawn their support because collateral damage in the form of useless e-mail traffic to their personal accounts became unbearable.

Web and IRC forums directed towards newbies often give the quickest response

Your local user group, or your Linux distribution, may advertise a Web forum or IRC channel where newbies can get help. (In non-English-speaking countries newbie forums are still more likely to be mailing lists.) These are good first places to ask, especially if you think you may have tripped over a relatively simple or common problem. An advertised IRC channel is an open invitation to ask questions there and often get answers in real time.

In fact, if you got the program that is giving you problems from a Linux distribution (as common today), it may be better to ask in the distro's forum/list before trying the program's project forum/list. The project's hackers may just say, “use our build”.

Before posting to any Web forum, check if it has a Search feature. If it does, try a couple of keyword searches for something like your problem; it just might help. If you did a general Web search before (as you should have), search the forum anyway; your Web-wide search engine might not have all of this forum indexed recently.

There is an increasing tendency for projects to do user support over a Web forum or IRC channel, with e-mail reserved more for development traffic. So look for those channels first when seeking project-specific help.

As a second step, use project mailing lists

When a project has a development mailing list, write to the mailing list, not to individual developers, even if you believe you know who can best answer your question. Check the documentation of the project and its homepage for the address of a project mailing list, and use it. There are several good reasons for this policy:

  • Any question good enough to be asked of one developer will also be of value to the whole group. Contrariwise, if you suspect your question is too dumb for a mailing list, it's not an excuse to harass individual developers.

  • Asking questions on the list distributes load among developers. The individual developer (especially if he's the project leader) may be too busy to answer your questions.

  • Most mailing lists are archived and the archives are indexed by search engines. If you ask your question on-list and it is answered, a future querent could find your question and the answer on the Web instead of asking it again.

  • If certain questions are seen to be asked often, developers can use that information to improve the documentation or the software itself to be less confusing. But if those questions are asked in private, nobody has the complete picture of what questions are asked most often.

If a project has both a “user” and a “developer” (or “hacker”) mailing list or Web forum, and you are not hacking on the code, ask in the “user” list/forum. Do not assume that you will be welcome on the developer list, where they're likely to experience your question as noise disrupting their developer traffic.

However, if you are sure your question is non-trivial, and you get no answer in the “user” list/forum for several days, try the “developer” one. You would be well advised to lurk there for a few days before posting to learn the local folkways (actually this is good advice on any private or semi-private list).

If you cannot find a project's mailing list address, but only see the address of the maintainer of the project, go ahead and write to the maintainer. But even in that case, don't assume that the mailing list doesn't exist. Mention in your e-mail that you tried and could not find the appropriate mailing list. Also mention that you don't object to having your message forwarded to other people. (Many people believe that private e-mail should remain private, even if there is nothing secret in it. By allowing your message to be forwarded you give your correspondent a choice about how to handle your e-mail.)

Use meaningful, specific subject headers

On mailing lists, newsgroups or Web forums, the subject header is your golden opportunity to attract qualified experts' attention in around 50 characters or fewer. Don't waste it on babble like “Please help me” (let alone “PLEASE HELP ME!!!!”; messages with subjects like that get discarded by reflex). Don't try to impress us with the depth of your anguish; use the space for a super-concise problem description instead.

One good convention for subject headers, used by many tech support organizations, is “object - deviation”. The “object” part specifies what thing or group of things is having a problem, and the “deviation” part describes the deviation from expected behavior.


HELP! Video doesn't work properly on my laptop!

Smart: 6.8.1 misshapen mouse cursor, Fooware MV1005 vid. chipset

Smarter: 6.8.1 mouse cursor on Fooware MV1005 vid. chipset - is misshapen

The process of writing an “object-deviation” description will help you organize your thinking about the problem in more detail. What is affected? Just the mouse cursor or other graphics too? Is this specific to the version of X? To version 6.8.1? Is this specific to Fooware video chipsets? To model MV1005? A hacker who sees the result can immediately understand what it is that you are having a problem with and the problem you are having, at a glance.

More generally, imagine looking at the index of an archive of questions, with just the subject lines showing. Make your subject line reflect your question well enough that the next guy searching the archive with a question similar to yours will be able to follow the thread to an answer rather than posting the question again.

If you ask a question in a reply, be sure to change the subject line to indicate that you're asking a question. A Subject line that looks like “Re: test” or “Re: new bug” is less likely to attract useful amounts of attention. Also, pare quotation of previous messages to the minimum consistent with cluing in new readers.

Do not simply hit reply to a list message in order to start an entirely new thread. This will limit your audience. Some mail readers, like mutt, allow the user to sort by thread and then hide messages in a thread by folding the thread. Folks who do that will never see your message.

Changing the subject is not sufficient. Mutt, and probably other mail readers, looks at other information in the e-mail's headers to assign it to a thread, not the subject line. Instead start an entirely new e-mail.

On Web forums the rules of good practice are slightly different, because messages are usually much more tightly bound to specific discussion threads and often invisible outside those threads. Changing the subject when asking a question in reply is not essential. Not all forums even allow separate subject lines on replies, and nearly nobody reads them when they do. However, asking a question in a reply is a dubious practice in itself, because it will only be seen by those who are watching this thread. So, unless you are sure you want to ask only the people currently active in the thread, start a new one.

Make it easy to reply

Finishing your query with “Please send your reply to... ” makes it quite unlikely you will get an answer. If you can't be bothered to take even the few seconds required to set up a correct Reply-To header in your mail agent, we can't be bothered to take even a few seconds to think about your problem. If your mail program doesn't permit this, get a better mail program. If your operating system doesn't support any e-mail programs that permit this, get a better operating system.

In Web forums, asking for a reply by e-mail is outright rude, unless you believe the information may be sensitive (and somebody will, for some unknown reason, let you but not the whole forum know it). If you want an e-mail copy when somebody replies in the thread, request that the Web forum send it; this feature is supported almost everywhere under options like “watch this thread”, “send e-mail on answers”, etc.

Write in clear, grammatical, correctly-spelled language

We've found by experience that people who are careless and sloppy writers are usually also careless and sloppy at thinking and coding (often enough to bet on, anyway). Answering questions for careless and sloppy thinkers is not rewarding; we'd rather spend our time elsewhere.

So expressing your question clearly and well is important. If you can't be bothered to do that, we can't be bothered to pay attention. Spend the extra effort to polish your language. It doesn't have to be stiff or formal — in fact, hacker culture values informal, slangy and humorous language used with precision. But it has to be precise; there has to be some indication that you're thinking and paying attention.

Spell, punctuate, and capitalize correctly. Don't confuse “its” with “it's”, “loose” with “lose”, or “discrete” with “discreet”. Don't TYPE IN ALL CAPS; this is read as shouting and considered rude. (All-smalls is only slightly less annoying, as it's difficult to read. Alan Cox can get away with it, but you can't.)

More generally, if you write like a semi-literate boob you will very likely be ignored. Writing like a l33t script kiddie hax0r is the absolute kiss of death and guarantees you will receive nothing but stony silence (or, at best, a heaping helping of scorn and sarcasm) in return.

If you are asking questions in a forum that does not use your native language, you will get a limited amount of slack for spelling and grammar errors — but no extra slack at all for laziness (and yes, we can usually spot that difference). Also, unless you know what your respondent's languages are, write in English. Busy hackers tend to simply flush questions in languages they don't understand, and English is the working language of the Internet. By writing in English you minimize your chances that your question will be discarded unread.

Send questions in accessible, standard formats

If you make your question artificially hard to read, it is more likely to be passed over in favor of one that isn't. So:

  • Send plain text mail, not HTML. (It's not hard to turn off HTML.)

  • MIME attachments are usually OK, but only if they are real content (such as an attached source file or patch), and not merely boilerplate generated by your mail client (such as another copy of your message).

  • Don't send e-mail in which entire paragraphs are single multiply-wrapped lines. (This makes it too difficult to reply to just part of the message.) Assume that your respondents will be reading mail on 80-character-wide text displays and set your line wrap accordingly, to something less than 80.

  • However, do not wrap data (such as log file dumps or session transcripts) at any fixed column width. Data should be included as-is, so respondents can have confidence that they are seeing what you saw.

  • Don't send MIME Quoted-Printable encoding to an English-language forum. This encoding can be necessary when you're posting in a language ASCII doesn't cover, but many e-mail agents don't support it. When they break, all those =20 glyphs scattered through the text are ugly and distracting — or may actively sabotage the semantics of your text.

  • Never, ever expect hackers to be able to read closed proprietary document formats like Microsoft Word or Excel. Most hackers react to these about as well as you would to having a pile of steaming pig manure dumped on your doorstep. Even when they can cope, they resent having to do so.

  • If you're sending e-mail from a Windows machine, turn off Microsoft's stupid “Smart Quotes” feature. This is so you'll avoid sprinkling garbage characters through your mail.

  • In Web forums, do not abuse “smiley” and “HTML” features (when they are present). A smiley or two is usually OK, but colored fancy text tends to make people think you are lame. Seriously overusing smileys and color and fonts will make you come off like a giggly teenage girl, which is not generally a good idea unless you are more interested in sex than answers.

If you're using a graphical-user-interface mail client such as Netscape Messenger, MS Outlook, or their ilk, beware that it may violate these rules when used with its default settings. Most such clients have a menu-based “View Source” command. Use this on something in your sent-mail folder, verifying sending of plain text without unnecessary attached crud.

Be precise and informative about your problem

  • Describe the symptoms of your problem or bug carefully and clearly.

  • Describe the environment in which it occurs (machine, OS, application, whatever). Provide your vendor's distribution and release level (e.g.: “Fedora Core 4”, “Slackware 9.1”, etc.).

  • Describe the research you did to try and understand the problem before you asked the question.

  • Describe the diagnostic steps you took to try and pin down the problem yourself before you asked the question.

  • Describe any possibly relevant recent changes in your computer or software configuration.

Do the best you can to anticipate the questions a hacker will ask, and answer them in advance in your request for help.

Simon Tatham has written an excellent essay entitled How to Report Bugs Effectively. I strongly recommend that you read it.

Volume is not precision

You need to be precise and informative. This end is not served by simply dumping huge volumes of code or data into a help request. If you have a large, complicated test case that is breaking a program, try to trim it and make it as small as possible.

This is useful for at least three reasons. One: being seen to invest effort in simplifying the question makes it more likely you'll get an answer, Two: simplifying the question makes it more likely you'll get a useful answer. Three: In the process of refining your bug report, you may develop a fix or workaround yourself.

Don't claim that you have found a bug

When you are having problems with a piece of software, don't claim you have found a bug unless you are very, very sure of your ground. Hint: unless you can provide a source-code patch that fixes the problem, or a regression test against a previous version that demonstrates incorrect behavior, you are probably not sure enough. This applies to webpages and documentation, too; if you have found a documentation “bug”, you should supply replacement text and which pages it should go on.

Remember, there are many other users that are not experiencing your problem. Otherwise you would have learned about it while reading the documentation and searching the Web (you did do that before complaining, didn't you?). This means that very probably it is you who are doing something wrong, not the software.

The people who wrote the software work very hard to make it work as well as possible. If you claim you have found a bug, you'll be impugning their competence, which may offend some of them even if you are correct. It's especially undiplomatic to yell “bug” in the Subject line.

When asking your question, it is best to write as though you assume you are doing something wrong, even if you are privately pretty sure you have found an actual bug. If there really is a bug, you will hear about it in the answer. Play it so the maintainers will want to apologize to you if the bug is real, rather than so that you will owe them an apology if you have messed up.

Grovelling is not a substitute for doing your homework

Some people who get that they shouldn't behave rudely or arrogantly, demanding an answer, retreat to the opposite extreme of grovelling. “I know I'm just a pathetic newbie loser, but...”. This is distracting and unhelpful. It's especially annoying when it's coupled with vagueness about the actual problem.

Don't waste your time, or ours, on crude primate politics. Instead, present the background facts and your question as clearly as you can. That is a better way to position yourself than by grovelling.

Sometimes Web forums have separate places for newbie questions. If you feel you do have a newbie question, just go there. But don't grovel there either.

Describe the problem's symptoms, not your guesses

It's not useful to tell hackers what you think is causing your problem. (If your diagnostic theories were such hot stuff, would you be consulting others for help?) So, make sure you're telling them the raw symptoms of what goes wrong, rather than your interpretations and theories. Let them do the interpretation and diagnosis. If you feel it's important to state your guess, clearly label it as such and describe why that answer isn't working for you.


I'm getting back-to-back SIG11 errors on kernel compiles, and suspect a hairline crack on one of the motherboard traces. What's the best way to check for those?


My home-built K6/233 on an FIC-PA2007 motherboard (VIA Apollo VP2 chipset) with 256MB Corsair PC133 SDRAM starts getting frequent SIG11 errors about 20 minutes after power-on during the course of kernel compiles, but never in the first 20 minutes. Rebooting doesn't restart the clock, but powering down overnight does. Swapping out all RAM didn't help. The relevant part of a typical compile session log follows.

Since the preceding point seems to be a tough one for many people to grasp, here's a phrase to remind you: "All diagnosticians are from Missouri." That US state's official motto is "Show me" (earned in 1899, when Congressman Willard D. Vandiver said "I come from a country that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I'm from Missouri. You've got to show me.") In diagnosticians' case, it's not a matter of skepticism, but rather a literal, functional need to see whatever is as close as possible to the same raw evidence that you see, rather than your surmises and summaries. Show us.

Describe your problem's symptoms in chronological order

The clues most useful in figuring out something that went wrong often lie in the events immediately prior. So, your account should describe precisely what you did, and what the machine did, leading up to the blowup. In the case of command-line processes, having a session log (e.g., using the script utility) and quoting the relevant twenty or so lines is very useful.

If the program that blew up on you has diagnostic options (such as -v for verbose), try to select options that will add useful debugging information to the transcript. Remember that more is not necessarily better; try to choose a debug level that will inform rather than drowning the reader in junk.

If your account ends up being long (more than about four paragraphs), it might be useful to succinctly state the problem up top, then follow with the chronological tale. That way, hackers will know what to watch for in reading your account.

Describe the goal, not the step

If you are trying to find out how to do something (as opposed to reporting a bug), begin by describing the goal. Only then describe the particular step towards it that you are blocked on.

Often, people who need technical help have a high-level goal in mind and get stuck on what they think is one particular path towards the goal. They come for help with the step, but don't realize that the path is wrong. It can take substantial effort to get past this.


How do I get the color-picker on the FooDraw program to take a hexadecimal RGB value?


I'm trying to replace the color table on an image with values of my choosing. Right now the only way I can see to do this is by editing each table slot, but I can't get FooDraw's color picker to take a hexadecimal RGB value.

The second version of the question is smart. It allows an answer that suggests a tool better suited to the task.

Don't ask people to reply by private e-mail

Hackers believe solving problems should be a public, transparent process during which a first try at an answer can and should be corrected if someone more knowledgeable notices that it is incomplete or incorrect. Also, helpers get some of their reward for being respondents from being seen to be competent and knowledgeable by their peers.

When you ask for a private reply, you are disrupting both the process and the reward. Don't do this. It's the respondent's choice whether to reply privately — and if he does, it's usually because he thinks the question is too ill-formed or obvious to be interesting to others.

There is one limited exception to this rule. If you think the question is such that you are likely to get many answers that are all closely similar, then the magic words are “e-mail me and I'll summarize the answers for the group”. It is courteous to try and save the mailing list or newsgroup a flood of substantially identical postings — but you have to keep the promise to summarize.

Be explicit about your question

Open-ended questions tend to be perceived as open-ended time sinks. Those people most likely to be able to give you a useful answer are also the busiest people (if only because they take on the most work themselves). People like that are allergic to open-ended time sinks, thus they tend to be allergic to open-ended questions.

You are more likely to get a useful response if you are explicit about what you want respondents to do (provide pointers, send code, check your patch, whatever). This will focus their effort and implicitly put an upper bound on the time and energy a respondent must allocate to helping you. This is good.

To understand the world the experts live in, think of expertise as an abundant resource and time to respond as a scarce one. The less of a time commitment you implicitly ask for, the more likely you are to get an answer from someone really good and really busy.

So it is useful to frame your question to minimize the time commitment required for an expert to field it — but this is often not the same thing as simplifying the question. Thus, for example, “Would you give me a pointer to a good explanation of X?” is usually a smarter question than “Would you explain X, please?”. If you have some malfunctioning code, it is usually smarter to ask for someone to explain what's wrong with it than it is to ask someone to fix it.

Don't post homework questions

Hackers are good at spotting homework questions; most of us have done them ourselves. Those questions are for you to work out, so that you will learn from the experience. It is OK to ask for hints, but not for entire solutions.

If you suspect you have been passed a homework question, but can't solve it anyway, try asking in a user group forum or (as a last resort) in a “user” list/forum of a project. While the hackers will spot it, some of the advanced users may at least give you a hint.

Prune pointless queries

Resist the temptation to close your request for help with semantically-null questions like “Can anyone help me?” or “Is there an answer?” First: if you've written your problem description halfway competently, such tacked-on questions are at best superfluous. Second: because they are superfluous, hackers find them annoying — and are likely to return logically impeccable but dismissive answers like “Yes, you can be helped” and “No, there is no help for you.

In general, asking yes-or-no questions is a good thing to avoid unless you want a yes-or-no answer.

Don't flag your question as “Urgent”, even if it is for you

That's your problem, not ours. Claiming urgency is very likely to be counter-productive: most hackers will simply delete such messages as rude and selfish attempts to elicit immediate and special attention.

There is one semi-exception. It can be worth mentioning if you're using the program in some high-profile place, one that the hackers will get excited about; in such a case, if you're under time pressure, and you say so politely, people may get interested enough to answer faster.

This is a very risky thing to do, however, because the hackers' metric for what is exciting probably differs from yours. Posting from the International Space Station would qualify, for example, but posting on behalf of a feel-good charitable or political cause would almost certainly not. In fact, posting “Urgent: Help me save the fuzzy baby seals!” will reliably get you shunned or flamed even by hackers who think fuzzy baby seals are important.

If you find this mysterious, re-read the rest of this how-to repeatedly until you understand it before posting anything at all.

Courtesy never hurts, and sometimes helps

Be courteous. Use “Please” and “Thanks for your attention” or “Thanks for your consideration”. Make it clear you appreciate the time people spend helping you for free.

To be honest, this isn't as important as (and cannot substitute for) being grammatical, clear, precise and descriptive, avoiding proprietary formats etc.; hackers in general would rather get somewhat brusque but technically sharp bug reports than polite vagueness. (If this puzzles you, remember that we value a question by what it teaches us.)

However, if you've got your technical ducks in a row, politeness does increase your chances of getting a useful answer.

(We must note that the only serious objection we've received from veteran hackers to this HOWTO is with respect to our previous recommendation to use “Thanks in advance”. Some hackers feel this connotes an intention not to thank anybody afterwards. Our recommendation is to either say “Thanks in advance” first and thank respondents afterwards, or express courtesy in a different way, such as by saying “Thanks for your attention” or “Thanks for your consideration”.)

Follow up with a brief note on the solution

Send a note after the problem has been solved to all who helped you; let them know how it came out and thank them again for their help. If the problem attracted general interest in a mailing list or newsgroup, it's appropriate to post the followup there.

Optimally, the reply should be to the thread started by the original question posting, and should have ‘FIXED’, ‘RESOLVED’ or an equally obvious tag in the subject line. On mailing lists with fast turnaround, a potential respondent who sees a thread about “Problem X” ending with “Problem X - FIXED” knows not to waste his/her time even reading the thread (unless (s)he) personally finds Problem X interesting) and can therefore use that time solving a different problem.

Your followup doesn't have to be long and involved; a simple “Howdy — it was a failed network cable! Thanks, everyone. - Bill” would be better than nothing. In fact, a short and sweet summary is better than a long dissertation unless the solution has real technical depth. Say what action solved the problem, but you need not replay the whole troubleshooting sequence.

For problems with some depth, it is appropriate to post a summary of the troubleshooting history. Describe your final problem statement. Describe what worked as a solution, and indicate avoidable blind alleys after that. The blind alleys should come after the correct solution and other summary material, rather than turning the follow-up into a detective story. Name the names of people who helped you; you'll make friends that way.

Besides being courteous and informative, this sort of followup will help others searching the archive of the mailing-list/newsgroup/forum to know exactly which solution helped you and thus may also help them.

Last, and not least, this sort of followup helps everybody who assisted feel a satisfying sense of closure about the problem. If you are not a techie or hacker yourself, trust us that this feeling is very important to the gurus and experts you tapped for help. Problem narratives that trail off into unresolved nothingness are frustrating things; hackers itch to see them resolved. The goodwill that scratching that itch earns you will be very, very helpful to you next time you need to pose a question.

Consider how you might be able to prevent others from having the same problem in the future. Ask yourself if a documentation or FAQ patch would help, and if the answer is yes send that patch to the maintainer.

Among hackers, this sort of good followup behavior is actually more important than conventional politeness. It's how you get a reputation for playing well with others, which can be a very valuable asset.

How To Interpret Answers

RTFM and STFW: How To Tell You've Seriously Screwed Up

There is an ancient and hallowed tradition: if you get a reply that reads “RTFM”, the person who sent it thinks you should have Read The Fucking Manual. He or she is almost certainly right. Go read it.

RTFM has a younger relative. If you get a reply that reads “STFW”, the person who sent it thinks you should have Searched The Fucking Web. He or she is almost certainly right. Go search it. (The milder version of this is when you are told “Google is your friend!”)

In Web forums, you may also be told to search the forum archives. In fact, someone may even be so kind as to provide a pointer to the previous thread where this problem was solved. But do not rely on this consideration; do your archive-searching before asking.

Often, the person telling you to do a search has the manual or the web page with the information you need open, and is looking at it as he or she types. These replies mean that he thinks (a) the information you need is easy to find, and (b) you will learn more if you seek out the information than if you have it spoon-fed to you.

You shouldn't be offended by this; by hacker standards, your respondent is showing you a rough kind of respect simply by not ignoring you. You should instead be thankful for this grandmotherly kindness.

If you don't understand...

If you don't understand the answer, do not immediately bounce back a demand for clarification. Use the same tools that you used to try and answer your original question (manuals, FAQs, the Web, skilled friends) to understand the answer. Then, if you still need to ask for clarification, exhibit what you have learned.

For example, suppose I tell you: “It sounds like you've got a stuck zentry; you'll need to clear it.” Then: here's a bad followup question: “What's a zentry?” Here's a good followup question: “OK, I read the man page and zentries are only mentioned under the -z and -p switches. Neither of them says anything about clearing zentries. Is it one of these or am I missing something here?

Dealing with rudeness

Much of what looks like rudeness in hacker circles is not intended to give offense. Rather, it's the product of the direct, cut-through-the-bullshit communications style that is natural to people who are more concerned about solving problems than making others feel warm and fuzzy.

When you perceive rudeness, try to react calmly. If someone is really acting out, it is very likely a senior person on the list or newsgroup or forum will call him or her on it. If that doesn't happen and you lose your temper, it is likely that the person you lose it at was behaving within the hacker community's norms and you will be considered at fault. This will hurt your chances of getting the information or help you want.

On the other hand, you will occasionally run across rudeness and posturing that is quite gratuitous. The flip-side of the above is that it is acceptable form to slam real offenders quite hard, dissecting their misbehavior with a sharp verbal scalpel. Be very, very sure of your ground before you try this, however. The line between correcting an incivility and starting a pointless flamewar is thin enough that hackers themselves not infrequently blunder across it; if you are a newbie or an outsider, your chances of avoiding such a blunder are low. If you're after information rather than entertainment, it's better to keep your fingers off the keyboard than to risk this.

(Some people assert that many hackers have a mild form of autism or Asperger's Syndrome, and are actually missing some of the brain circuitry that lubricates “normal” human social interaction. This may or may not be true. If you are not a hacker yourself, it may help you cope with our eccentricities if you think of us as being brain-damaged. Go right ahead. We won't care; we like being whatever it is we are, and generally have a healthy skepticism about clinical labels.)

In the next section, we'll talk about a different issue; the kind of “rudeness” you'll see when you misbehave.

On Not Reacting Like A Loser

Odds are you'll screw up a few times on hacker community forums — in ways detailed in this article, or similar. And you'll be told exactly how you screwed up, possibly with colourful asides. In public.

When this happens, the worst thing you can do is whine about the experience, claim to have been verbally assaulted, demand apologies, scream, hold your breath, threaten lawsuits, complain to people's employers, leave the toilet seat up, etc. Instead, here's what you do:

Get over it. It's normal. In fact, it's healthy and appropriate.

Community standards do not maintain themselves: They're maintained by people actively applying them, visibly, in public. Don't whine that all criticism should have been conveyed via private e-mail: That's not how it works. Nor is it useful to insist you've been personally insulted when someone comments that one of your claims was wrong, or that his views differ. Those are loser attitudes.

There have been hacker forums where, out of some misguided sense of hyper-courtesy, participants are banned from posting any fault-finding with another's posts, and told “Don't say anything if you're unwilling to help the user.” The resulting departure of clueful participants to elsewhere causes them to descend into meaningless babble and become useless as technical forums.

Exaggeratedly “friendly” (in that fashion) or useful: Pick one.

Remember: When that hacker tells you that you've screwed up, and (no matter how gruffly) tells you not to do it again, he's acting out of concern for (1) you and (2) his community. It would be much easier for him to ignore you and filter you out of his life. If you can't manage to be grateful, at least have a little dignity, don't whine, and don't expect to be treated like a fragile doll just because you're a newcomer with a theatrically hypersensitive soul and delusions of entitlement.

Sometimes people will attack you personally, flame without an apparent reason, etc., even if you don't screw up (or have only screwed up in their imagination). In this case, complaining is the way to really screw up.

These flamers are either lamers who don't have a clue but believe themselves to be experts, or would-be psychologists testing whether you'll screw up. The other readers either ignore them, or find ways to deal with them on their own. The flamers' behavior creates problems for themselves, which don't have to concern you.

Don't let yourself be drawn into a flamewar, either. Most flames are best ignored — after you've checked whether they are really flames, not pointers to the ways in which you have screwed up, and not cleverly ciphered answers to your real question (this happens as well).

Questions Not To Ask

Here are some classic stupid questions, and what hackers are thinking when they don't answer them.

Q: Where can I find program or resource X?
Q: How can I use X to do Y?
Q: How can I configure my shell prompt?
Q: Can I convert an AcmeCorp document into a TeX file using the Bass-o-matic file converter?
Q: My {program, configuration, SQL statement} doesn't work
Q: I'm having problems with my Windows machine. Can you help?
Q: My program doesn't work. I think system facility X is broken.
Q: I'm having problems installing Linux or X. Can you help?
Q: How can I crack root/steal channel-ops privileges/read someone's e-mail?

Where can I find program or resource X?


The same place I'd find it, fool — at the other end of a web search. Ghod, doesn't everybody know how to use Google yet?


How can I use X to do Y?


If what you want is to do Y, you should ask that question without pre-supposing the use of a method that may not be appropriate. Questions of this form often indicate a person who is not merely ignorant about X, but confused about what problem Y they are solving and too fixated on the details of their particular situation. It is generally best to ignore such people until they define their problem better.


How can I configure my shell prompt?


If you're smart enough to ask this question, you're smart enough to RTFM and find out yourself.


Can I convert an AcmeCorp document into a TeX file using the Bass-o-matic file converter?


Try it and see. If you did that, you'd (a) learn the answer, and (b) stop wasting my time.


My {program, configuration, SQL statement} doesn't work


This is not a question, and I'm not interested in playing Twenty Questions to pry your actual question out of you — I have better things to do. On seeing something like this, my reaction is normally of one of the following:

  • do you have anything else to add to that?

  • oh, that's too bad, I hope you get it fixed.

  • and this has exactly what to do with me?


I'm having problems with my Windows machine. Can you help?


Yes. Throw out that Microsoft trash and install an open-source operating system like Linux or BSD.

Note: you can ask questions related to Windows machines if they are about a program that does have an official Windows build, or interacts with Windows machines (i.e., Samba). Just don't be surprised by the reply that the problem is with Windows and not the program, because Windows is so broken in general that this is very often the case.


My program doesn't work. I think system facility X is broken.


While it is possible that you are the first person to notice an obvious deficiency in system calls and libraries heavily used by hundreds or thousands of people, it is rather more likely that you are utterly clueless. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence; when you make a claim like this one, you must back it up with clear and exhaustive documentation of the failure case.


I'm having problems installing Linux or X. Can you help?


No. I'd need hands-on access to your machine to troubleshoot this. Go ask your local Linux user group for hands-on help. (You can find a list of user groups here.)

Note: questions about installing Linux may be appropriate if you're on a forum or mailing list about a particular distribution, and the problem is with that distro; or on local user groups forums. In this case, be sure to describe the exact details of the failure. But do careful searching first, with "linux" and all suspicious pieces of hardware.


How can I crack root/steal channel-ops privileges/read someone's e-mail?


You're a lowlife for wanting to do such things and a moron for asking a hacker to help you.

Good and Bad Questions

Finally, I'm going to illustrate how to ask questions in a smart way by example; pairs of questions about the same problem, one asked in a stupid way and one in a smart way.

Stupid: Where can I find out stuff about the Foonly Flurbamatic?

This question just begs for "STFW" as a reply.

Smart: I used Google to try to find “Foonly Flurbamatic 2600” on the Web, but I got no useful hits. Can I get a pointer to programming information on this device?

This one has already STFWed, and sounds like he might have a real problem.

Stupid: I can't get the code from project foo to compile. Why is it broken?

The querent assumes that somebody else screwed up. Arrogant git...

Smart: The code from project foo doesn't compile under Nulix version 6.2. I've read the FAQ, but it doesn't have anything in it about Nulix-related problems. Here's a transcript of my compilation attempt; is it something I did?

The querent has specified the environment, read the FAQ, is showing the error, and is not assuming his problems are someone else's fault. This one might be worth some attention.

Stupid: I'm having problems with my motherboard. Can anybody help?

J. Random Hacker's response to this is likely to be “Right. Do you need burping and diapering, too?” followed by a punch of the delete key.

Smart: I tried X, Y, and Z on the S2464 motherboard. When that didn't work, I tried A, B, and C. Note the curious symptom when I tried C. Obviously the florbish is grommicking, but the results aren't what one might expect. What are the usual causes of grommicking on Athlon MP motherboards? Anybody got ideas for more tests I can run to pin down the problem?

This person, on the other hand, seems worthy of an answer. He/she has exhibited problem-solving intelligence rather than passively waiting for an answer to drop from on high.

In the last question, notice the subtle but important difference between demanding “Give me an answer” and “Please help me figure out what additional diagnostics I can run to achieve enlightenment.

In fact, the form of that last question is closely based on a real incident that happened in August 2001 on the linux-kernel mailing list (lkml). I (Eric) was the one asking the question that time. I was seeing mysterious lockups on a Tyan S2462 motherboard. The list members supplied the critical information I needed to solve them.

By asking the question in the way I did, I gave people something to chew on; I made it easy and attractive for them to get involved. I demonstrated respect for my peers' ability and invited them to consult with me as a peer. I also demonstrated respect for the value of their time by telling them the blind alleys I had already run down.

Afterwards, when I thanked everyone and remarked how well the process had worked, an lkml member observed that he thought it had worked not because I'm a “name” on that list, but because I asked the question in the proper form.

Hackers are in some ways a very ruthless meritocracy; I'm certain he was right, and that if I had behaved like a sponge I would have been flamed or ignored no matter who I was. His suggestion that I write up the whole incident as instruction to others led directly to the composition of this guide.

If You Can't Get An Answer

If you can't get an answer, please don't take it personally that we don't feel we can help you. Sometimes the members of the asked group may simply not know the answer. No response is not the same as being ignored, though admittedly it's hard to spot the difference from outside.

In general, simply re-posting your question is a bad idea. This will be seen as pointlessly annoying. Have patience: the person with your answer may be in a different time-zone and asleep. Or it may be that your question wasn't well-formed to begin with.

There are other sources of help you can go to, often sources better adapted to a novice's needs.

There are many online and local user groups who are enthusiasts about the software, even though they may never have written any software themselves. These groups often form so that people can help each other and help new users.

There are also plenty of commercial companies you can contract with for help, both large and small (Red Hat and SpikeSource are two of the best known; there are many others). Don't be dismayed at the idea of having to pay for a bit of help! After all, if your car engine blows a head gasket, chances are you would take it to a repair shop and pay to get it fixed. Even if the software didn't cost you anything, you can't expect that support to always come for free.

For popular software like Linux, there are at least 10,000 users per developer. It's just not possible for one person to handle the support calls from over 10,000 users. Remember that even if you have to pay for support, you are still paying much less than if you had to buy the software as well (and support for closed-source software is usually more expensive and less competent than support for open-source software).

How To Answer Questions in a Helpful Way

Be gentle. Problem-related stress can make people seem rude or stupid even when they're not.

Reply to a first offender off-line. There is no need of public humiliation for someone who may have made an honest mistake. A real newbie may not know how to search archives or where the FAQ is stored or posted.

If you don't know for sure, say so! A wrong but authoritative-sounding answer is worse than none at all. Don't point anyone down a wrong path simply because it's fun to sound like an expert. Be humble and honest; set a good example for both the querent and your peers.

If you can't help, don't hinder. Don't make jokes about procedures that could trash the user's setup — the poor sap might interpret these as instructions.

Ask probing questions to elicit more details. If you're good at this, the querent will learn something — and so might you. Try to turn the bad question into a good one; remember we were all newbies once.

While just muttering RTFM is sometimes justified when replying to someone who is just a lazy slob, a pointer to documentation (even if it's just a suggestion to google for a key phrase) is better.

If you're going to answer the question at all, give good value. Don't suggest kludgy workarounds when somebody is using the wrong tool or approach. Suggest good tools. Reframe the question.

Help your community learn from the question. When you field a good question, ask yourself “How would the relevant documentation or FAQ have to change so that nobody has to answer this again?” Then send a patch to the document maintainer.

If you did research to answer the question, demonstrate your skills rather than writing as though you pulled the answer out of your butt. Answering one good question is like feeding a hungry person one meal, but teaching them research skills by example is teaching them to grow food for a lifetime.

Related Resources

If you need instruction in the basics of how personal computers, Unix, and the Internet work, see The Unix and Internet Fundamentals HOWTO.

When you release software or write patches for software, try to follow the guidelines in the Software Release Practice HOWTO.


Evelyn Mitchell contributed some example stupid questions and inspired the “How To Give A Good Answer” section. Mikhail Ramendik contributed some particularly valuable suggestions for improvements.

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