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Thread: Attention all Google Mechanics:
04-20-2012, 12:56 PM #1
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Attention all Google Mechanics:
I posted this as a blog, but I wanted to share it in here as well. I have been reading postings on this and other sites that compelled me to write this.
I have noticed on many of the forums that I visit, an increase in "Google Mechanics". A Google Mechanic is someone who reads a question and then goes to "Google it" so they can jump in and answer the original poster's question. Most often, the Google mechanic has no idea how to answer the question on their own or has no knowledge of the system that the question is about.
Why then, do forum runners become Google Mechanics?
For a variety of reasons, I suspect. Mostly for the sake of participation I suppose. Maybe to appear "experienced" for the other members, but these types of postings can do more harm than good. And truly experienced mechanics will see right through you immediately. Think about this for a minute...
You are having a problem on with your car. You go to a specialized forum to ask for help. One of the members without any working knowledge of your vehicle takes it upon himself to go Google it for you and report his findings back, presenting themselves as someone who actually knows what they are talking about. You, then, go out and shell out a bunch of money based on the reply from the Google Mechanic, only to have the solution not work... or worse, cause some sort of damage to your vehicle, or God forbid, get injured by following their advice.
There is no shame in NOT answering a person's question if you don't know the answer. there are people on the boards who DO know, and soon enough, one of them will stop by with some helpful advice. An unanswered question doesn't mean that someone had better hurry up and post SOMETHING...
Oftentimes, you CAN find the solution to your problem on Google. I would suspect, though, that if someone goes to a forum, jumps through all of the hoops to register and validate their account just to ask their question, they probably DID search and didn't find the answer. Yes, there are some people who would rather ask a question rather than to look for the answer, but we have to assume that people have likely searched already.
Google Mechanics: Please know that the web is FILLED with bad and inaccurate information. It is a disservice to answer someone's questions by presenting yourself as something you are not. A good rule of thumb on this, (if I must spell it out) is this: If you have experienced the problem the poster is asking about and you have fixed it; If you have first hand knowledge, then please share it. If you DON'T know the answer without searching the web for it, then leave it for someone who DOES know to answer.
I have actually used a post title as a search term and found the same page where the Google mechanic copied and pasted his reply from.
Working on cars and trucks is not a skill you can get from a search engine. It takes YEARS of experience! That is the type of experience posters hope to get when they come to a forum to ask for help troubleshooting. Leave it to the pros! LEARN from people who know what they are doing! Some of us have been doing this since LONG before there was an Internet!
Anyone here watch House? Dr. House has a team of doctors to help in diagnostics. Notice that you don't see any of them looking up the answers on the Internet. They rely on their experience and knowledge. If you don't have any of that, then you have no business operating on anyone!"It went together didn't it? Well then there has to be a way to take it apart!" - Me.
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04-20-2012, 01:42 PM #2
You are completely right. Anyone can type in Google for an answer. Good post.
Wait so the guy that told me to put water in my gas to get more horse power wasn’t right? J/KTim Walters (Curky)
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04-20-2012, 02:54 PM #3
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There another couple of classes of people that do forums disservice: those that tell others to simply "Google it", and those that say "Search n00b". The first class follow the same theory as the Google mechanics in that all the answers are available via Google, and a good deal are, but not always. The second are the real pains. They tell the OP to use the search function on the site, without actually helping the person find their answer. All this does is create a lot of threads with questions and replies, but no answer because they were simply told to use the search function. As a mod, don't get me wrong, we completely advocate the use of the search feature and resurrecting old threads that are very related to the question at hand, but the person who says "search n00b" should at least look for the thread they're referring to and drop the link in the new person's thread, so there's a trail that can lead other new people to the answer. I can't count the number of threads I've replied to answering common questions such as "what transmission do I have", "what rearend do I have", and "what bodystyle do I have". Every time, I carefully type out my responses to these questions and include graphics to illustrate the answer. Why? Because hopefully some new user in the future will search, find my response, and not need to ask the question, or can form a more detailed question to give an accurate picture of the situation.Christopher
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04-20-2012, 03:08 PM #4
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I remember in one of the forums I used to own, I have several members who would tell people to use the search function. My forum sites have always been "no bashing" zones, and I never had a problem with the same question being asked. There are certain topics that will come up over and over again - Like why the tailgate of the Pontiac Aztek only opens half way when pressing the release button... Every single one of them did uit and every new owner that came to the forum asked about it even though it had been answered hundreds of times. I solved it by making it a sticky and it cut down on the asking. People still asked... just not nearly as many. LOL!
That aside, I like the way the forums are run here. This is exactly the way I run my sites. Friendly and accommodating. I DO have to say, though that there are ALWAYS one or two members who MAKE you want to flame them... No matter how nice you are! LOL!
04-20-2012, 11:26 PM #5
I may be considered on the verge of being a "Google mechanic" but I more or less use Google to validate the information I give. I know as soon I post something that is incorrect, other members will jump in to make the correction so better to be safe than sorry. I also like to provide links if there is a specific product involved. When someone asks "where can I get a..." Is it wrong to use Google to help them? A lot of people don't know the proper search techniques to find what they're looking for in a matter of seconds or minutes. Based on my response here, am I a google mechanic? I also don't post responses to questions relating to mechanical work because I'm no mechanic
I agree that there is an abundance of inaccurate information on the internet; i.e. Answers.com is not always a viable information tool.
As far as why Google mechanics do what they do, maybe it gives them a reason to research something and in the end they'll learn something new too??
You make some very good points here.
04-21-2012, 12:00 AM #6
Holding true to the ranting mood, huh?? Hahaha. Joking! If I don't know anything about the subject, I don't say anything or put in any insite...but if I feel like I might be able to help, then I'll answer...googling for an answer is like the blind leading the blind...but I will use it to try and find images of parts, ect if someone can't provide them.
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04-21-2012, 12:31 AM #7
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Ok,,,, here it goes....I am new to looking for help and advice on the internet.....
But because of the very few people, in this wonderful world,,, have ever heard of a top kick/kodiak and Get this even less seen one,,
and very few have worked on these trucks, at least NOt the way I do.... so being resourceful and wise i search and seek information any way i can get..... and have come across this.... when i search google for my answers to top kick questions, i am now getting results that actually have links to my questions, now folks are coming with emails to me about the questions i have asked and expect an answer.......so I always kindly reply with another question,,,, and very rarely get a reply......
So in in ending this viscous cycle of google abuse.... I say this!!!!!! freedom of speech baby!!! freedom of speech, ,,,,I may not like what they say,,, but will fight to the death for the right for them to say it....... as information, is the key to knowledge,,,, which is just a gift to whom ever will accept it.... SO BUYER BEWARE>>>>>>>>>
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