Linking help


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No fingers pointed, just expressing a view. But interested in other opinions.

This has come up before. This is how I see it.
When someone is seeking help and finds and posts his request on this, or any other, forum, is it ethical for a forum helper to then, himself googling, to redirect the enquirer to another site for the answer.
I do on occasions, operate this way myself. This would probably be because the link is more detailed than I care to go into. Often, if I am not sure of my answer, I will google for that answer and rewrite what I found, for the current forum.
In both cases, if my answer is something quite new and unknown, I will, where possible, notify the original author of my action. Keep in mind, however, that tips and hints are oft repeated throughout the web, and are not copyright.
My own feelings are
1. You are wasting the enquirers time.
2. You are sending a potential user off to what he may consider a more suitable site, and,
3. It possibly does damage to the reputation of the current site and its helpers.
 
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And consider another for the list, Is referring someone elsewhere preventing Copy and Paste errors. Some of us are in the upper reaches of life and liable to make mistakes and I like having a reference for things go back to.
 

bassfisher6522

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It's more of a philosophical question as I see it. Personally I don't (send to another forum) simple because the odds of losing said poster is greater than having one stay. As to what others may think or feel about doing that.....well that's up to them....hence the philosophical aspect.
To answer your questions, for me:
1. No
2. Yes
3. Yes and No. It's a risk reward issue.
 
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Trouble

Noob Whisperer
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When I reference other "sites" (never other forums) it is with the goal of being as helpful as possible without reinventing the wheel.
IF a potential answer / solution is well written, I see know reason to reproduce it in any fashion except perhaps if only a portion of the information provided is actually applicable and even then I will provide a "SOURCE" link back to where I found it to provide credit to what or whom might be the original author.

My primary concern in referencing other internet locations for a potential solution is that often the link I provide may contain ads attempting to sell utilities or other software products that may be sketchy and it's sometimes difficult if not impossible to guard against this problem.

I try to use generally well know and respected sites as resources and avoid, whenever possible, those that are less so.
The last thing I want to do is attempt to help someone install a TCP/IP printer port to facilitate network printing and have them end up with a mail-order bride. :eek:
 

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