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Thread: forum culture debate :/

  1. #1
    Just burned his ISO
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    Default forum culture debate :/

    Hello!

    I am very new to the backtrack community, and I have been cursed with the incompatibility problems of trying to dual-boot BT4 on a macbook, get the sound + wifi + my life to work. I just started today.

    Now I've been a good 'hacker initiate' and started reading the beginner forums + done my own searches, and I must admit that they have been helpful in solving my own problems.
    Something strikes me rather odd though: many people on the forum express disapproval when newbies post questions like "can I install Backtrack 4 in Vmware" or "how do I get started?". These questions have been answered many times already and these newbies should use Google, but I think that telling newbies to use Google or find other resources by themselves is not very helpful.

    At any rate, searching for answers by oneself (especially when one is new to all of this) is incredibly painful. An expert spending 3 minutes of their time explaining a basic concept may save a newbie hours and hours of trouble.

    I hope I don't come off as bias or sore - this is the first thread I am posting. Just food for thought

    -ejang

  2. #2
    Super Moderator lupin's Avatar
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    Default Re: forum culture debate :/

    Im going to allow this because this is actually something I would like to get some community feedback on myself. While the moderators here will reserve the right to moderate however they please (since this is not a democracy), this is also a community resource, and while we can't please everyone, we want to aim to provide something that's as useful for as many of the members here as possible.

    Let me be very clear in saying that I do not want this to turn into a flame war or a complaint fest. Nor do I want to provide an excuse to attack anyone else on this forum, so if the discussion turns in that direction any of the moderators here may close this thread and/or delete offending posts without notice. So keep the language clean and provide constructive comments only please.

    My perspective is that since BackTrack is an advanced Linux distribution, designed for penetration testing (an activity that requires the ability to exercise independent thought), new users should be able to:
    • search properly,
    • use basic computer and Linux skills,
    • solve common problems themselves,
    • perform simple troubleshooting, and
    • express a coherent thought via the appropriate language of the area they post in, with something resembling proper grammar and spelling (for this section of the forum: English).


    The "just spend a few minutes helping the user" argument is one I have seen before, and since I'm pressed for time right now I'm just going to respond to it in short form. Experts in any subject are also usually very busy. Consequently, if they do choose to provide help, for free, in a forum such as this, they generally want to provide that help to those who are best capable of understanding it and using it. Therefore, help is provided to those who show they can help themselves. Just read this link for more.

    Also, any support community will have a subject for support, as well as an intended audience with an appropriate level of skill. This helps focus the discussions, and creates a community of like minded people. Stray from the subject of focus and it can be hard to find the appropriate information amongst all the noise, try and provide information for all audiences and you frustrate those for whom the information is either too simple or too difficult, potentially making them go elsewhere. In this forum the subject for support is BackTrack 4, and the audience, (as appropriate for the type of user who BackTrack is intended for), are technically skilled, security minded people. My opinion is that if we start answering every single simple question, we flood the forum with repetition and lower the level of the forum to the point where advanced members leave.
    Last edited by lupin; 07-05-2010 at 06:28 AM. Reason: Tidied it up a little
    Capitalisation is important. It's the difference between "Helping your brother Jack off a horse" and "Helping your brother jack off a horse".

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  3. #3
    My life is this forum Snayler's Avatar
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    Default Re: forum culture debate :/

    I agree with lupin's perspective. But I'll add my point of view regarding your argument as follows:

    Quote Originally Posted by ejang View Post
    At any rate, searching for answers by oneself (especially when one is new to all of this) is incredibly painful. An expert spending 3 minutes of their time explaining a basic concept may save a newbie hours and hours of trouble.
    (Let me point out that I consider myself a newbie at Linux and even more newbie at Pentesting/Network Security)
    Yes, it can be incredibly painful. I myself had spent hours, days, even weeks searching for answers for specific problems/projects I had, and for some of them I reached nowhere. But even in that kind of situations, I learned somethings that I'm certain that will be useful in the future. And when I reach the answer I'm looking for, even if I have been researching for weeks, the feeling I got paid off all the trouble I went through. More, my searching skills have improved at a level that I can solve my own problems faster and without asking for help.
    So, my point being: Yes, the experts could spend 3 minutes explaining the basic concepts, but the troubled newbie would probably become dependent of that help for the rest of his journey, or he would get tired of BackTrack very quickly (because there would be no challenge). Not to mention the flood it would cause in the forums (for some reason, most of the new members I see here have a huge laziness towards searching before asking. Imagine if the mods didn't exist... It would be a total chaos).
    Last edited by Snayler; 07-05-2010 at 12:35 PM. Reason: minor addition

  4. #4
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    Default Re: forum culture debate :/

    I agree with lupin on the fact that people coming here should have a lot of knowledge on computers and linux, and especially knowlegde on 'hacking', by that I mean they should have a basic understanding of how penetration testing works already, so when they come here, they can get elaborations on specific tasks and improve their skills. This forum is far from a beginners hacking forum, although it may have a beginners question section.

  5. #5
    Very good friend of the forum Gitsnik's Avatar
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    Default Re: forum culture debate :/

    So my brief take on this whole thing has been garnered from various forums around the internet, many of them "elitist" in some way, and from private IRC channels and the like.

    For me the big issue with any request like this is not that I am or am not helping a user - anyone who has spent some time under my tuition and/or support "banner" knows that I quite happily answer most questions, so it's not like I never help - it's the constant requests for the same pieces of information. I find it insulting to both the mods excellent work, and to my own post count, that so called newbies show up, ignore the sticky posts at the top of the thread and then say "help I can't type in the password field" or "my integrated wireless doesn't work in my VM". The people who make such a phenomenal effort in keeping these forums clean are constantly looking at information they have written before being re-spouted out.

    This is not a "too hard to search" complaint - this is just flat out ignoring of the thread. We get support requests in the howto section despite said section having text that says "this is not for your support requests", VM requests that have clearly been answered, and a constant flood of "my teacher/friend/neighbour/girlfriend/husband/grandmother/local_police_office said I can hack this... how do I do that?" questions. It's only understandable that a lot of senior members get jaded and look after only those we've seen doing this properly.

    My personal favourite bit to hate is the *bump* posts, which I personally think should be an insta-ban, but that's getting off track. The bump post is an incessant "answer my question... NOW!" that clutters up my RSS feed. People seem to forget that we are all here supporting you for free, on our own time. One enjoys seeing a new script or video being released, even if it is rehashing the same statements. Not so much someone complaining that noone told them how to break into an unpatched 2003 server when their post count is currently "2".

    If it really, really comes down to it, and you want an expert (if you want to think of me that way) to give you three minutes of their time, you can pay for the 15 minute block and send me $100 US. Those are my rates, and if you are going to demand my time, then I am going to demand my payment. The information may be freely available, but when you hire someone to do a job you are hiring them for their skillset (how quickly they solve the problem) - not for the fact that they eventually solve the problem, otherwise we'd all be on the same pay rate.
    Still not underestimating the power...

    There is no such thing as bad information - There is truth in the data, so you sift it all, even the crap stuff.

  6. #6
    Administrator sickness's Avatar
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    Default Re: forum culture debate :/

    As master lupin specified let us see where this goes.
    Quote Originally Posted by ejang View Post
    Hello!

    I am very new to the backtrack community, and I have been cursed with the incompatibility problems of trying to dual-boot BT4 on a macbook, get the sound + wifi + my life to work. I just started today.
    Hello and welcome, hope you will enjoy it here. As for the dual-boot I really recommend getting a flash and install BT on it, you really shouldn't install BT4 on your HDD unless you have very advanced knowledge in Linux/Pentesting/Computers, or you could just use the live CD.[/QUOTE]

    Now I've been a good 'hacker initiate' and started reading the beginner forums + done my own searches, and I must admit that they have been helpful in solving my own problems.
    Something strikes me rather odd though: many people on the forum express disapproval when newbies post questions like "can I install Backtrack 4 in Vmware" or "how do I get started?". These questions have been answered many times already and these newbies should use Google, but I think that telling newbies to use Google or find other resources by themselves is not very helpful.
    You don't understand out point here, we like answering questions but the thing is that no one bothers to try anything, they just ask it.
    They come and just post "Networking doesn't work", "Can't crack WPA2", "BT on VMware help!?" they don't try anything to make it work, if for example a user posts that his wireless doesn't work, what he tried, what he found on google, what guides he followed I am sure that more users would help him but when a user just comes and says "My wireless doesn't work, FIX IT!" that just shows the laziness that he has.

    At any rate, searching for answers by oneself (especially when one is new to all of this) is incredibly painful. An expert spending 3 minutes of their time explaining a basic concept may save a newbie hours and hours of trouble.
    You are right an expert could take 3 minutes of his time to explain something to a newbie, but what if that newbie doesn't understand it? And here I am talking from personal experience. After I've made that HowTO explaining how to use Metasploit with postgreSQL, I've answered to almost 15 threads and like 20 private messages with the same with the same answer and yet they keep on asking the same question. So why should an expert take 3 minutes of his time for every newbie asking the same question ?

    I hope I don't come off as bias or sore - this is the first thread I am posting. Just food for thought
    Naaah don't worry ... be happy!
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  7. #7
    Super Moderator Archangel-Amael's Avatar
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    Default Re: forum culture debate :/

    From Lupin: My perspective is that since BackTrack is an advanced Linux distribution, designed for penetration testing (an activity that requires the ability to exercise independent thought), new users should be able to:

    * search properly,
    * use basic computer and Linux skills,
    * solve common problems themselves,
    * perform simple troubleshooting, and
    * express a coherent thought via the appropriate language of the area they post in, with something resembling proper grammar and spelling (for this section of the forum: English).
    Those 4 things above in bold are not only very basic but keys to being able to "get around" with Back Track. No one here is here to hold someone's hand.

    Since I have been on this forum (not just as a moderator) I have seen, reported, deleted hundreds of posts that fail the above bullets.
    I mean the example of how to crack-wep, it is so over played. There is no need for any new information to be added to the discussion. The entire aircrack-ng suite of tools has a ton of documentation at the host website. Many of those posts show that the OP didn't bother to read up on the subject. Now while I don't believe these types of questions will ever go away (and to some degree that is ok) I will do my best to limit those questions to the ones where the person asking has done some basic research into the subject area. Not to mention we have a faq section where a majority of the typical answers are already laid out for those who would just bother to look at it. Not to mention I made a post designed to help those who are new to Back Track get into linux in general. There are hundreds of tutorials from our other members who also wish to share with the community.
    And last, but not least there is google.
    I will also state again for those who don't know; There is not one spam post on our forums. There are also members of this forum who are loyal to our community and as such look out for it (by reporting posts etc.). Those of you who do I thank you for it. There are lots of posts that don't even make it out of the moderation queue. They are deleted before others have a chance to make the "please search" et al response. Granted some do get through either on accident or on purpose.


    As for the "3 minutes of your time" bit, remember it is free and freely given time.


    As for the culture, I don't see anything wrong with expecting our members to follow a few simple rules, and desiring to not be one of those forums. The standard is high due to the type of audience and the nature of the beast, and should always be a high standard.
    Last edited by Archangel-Amael; 07-05-2010 at 10:59 AM.

  8. #8
    My life is this forum Barry's Avatar
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    Default Re: forum culture debate :/

    I think most of us here will spend a few minutes to answer a question. The problem comes from spending a few minutes answering the same question over and over, that adds up to quite a bit more than a few minutes! If someone really really wants to learn this stuff, take some classes! I'm pretty sure all the folks that really know what they're doing have taken classes in one form or another with regards to networking or computer security. I'm pretty sure I've heard Thorn say, information is free, but sometimes you gotta pay for the delivery, or something like that.
    Of course, if you really wanted to have some fun, go to Wal-Mart late at night and ask the greeter if they could help you find trashbags, roll of carpet, rope, quicklime, clorox and a shovel. See if they give you any strange looks. --Streaker69

  9. #9
    Just burned his ISO
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    Default Re: forum culture debate :/

    For me one of the key skills in Pen testing / Network Security is the ability to research and be creative, if you can't search a forum that is dedicated to a topic then move on.

    only issue i have is i am dyslexic and some times in the past i have had post torn to pieces for bad spelling an grammar and the question left unanswered.



    Alan

  10. #10
    My life is this forum thorin's Avatar
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    Default Re: forum culture debate :/

    Lupid, Gitsnik, and Archangel-Amael have covered my thoughts on this topic pretty well so at this point I'll just add...
    Quote Originally Posted by ejang View Post
    Something strikes me rather odd though: many people on the forum express disapproval when newbies post questions like "can I install Backtrack 4 in Vmware" or "how do I get started?". These questions have been answered many times already and these newbies should use Google, but I think that telling newbies to use Google or find other resources by themselves is not very helpful.

    At any rate, searching for answers by oneself (especially when one is new to all of this) is incredibly painful. An expert spending 3 minutes of their time explaining a basic concept may save a newbie hours and hours of trouble.
    If you feel like wasting your time re-posting details that some newbie couldn't be bothered to search for in the first, place please feel free, no one here will stop you.

    It's also not just 3m helping a newbie. It's 3m for each for the 25 (or more) newbie posts every day. 75m is more than an hour, do you have an hour or more free in your day for people would couldn't even be bothered to type a few terms in a search engine and click a button? Now add the fact that you're not being paid.
    Last edited by thorin; 07-05-2010 at 01:07 PM.
    I'm a compulsive post editor, you might wanna wait until my post has been online for 5-10 mins before quoting it as it will likely change.

    I know I seem harsh in some of my replies. SORRY! But if you're doing something illegal or posting something that seems to be obvious BS I'm going to call you on it.

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