How to Help New Linux Users
Nov 21, 2008, 13:33 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Hall)
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"Computer people are fine human beings, but they do a lot of
harm in the ways they "help" other people with their computer
problems. Now that we're trying to get everyone online, I thought
it might be helpful to write down everything I've been taught about
helping people use computers.
First you have to tell yourself some things:
Nobody is born knowing this stuff.
You've forgotten what it's like to be a beginner.
If it's not obvious to them, it's not obvious.
A computer is a means to an end. The person you're helping
probably cares mostly about the end. This is reasonable.
Their knowledge of the computer is grounded in what they can see
and do -- "when I do this, it does that". They need to develop a
deeper understanding, but this can only happen slowly -- and not
through abstract theory but through the real, concrete situations
they encounter in their work."