Distinguishing between asking for help with a product and asking for help with a product's installation

Raymond Chen

Raymond

Internally at Microsoft, we have a programmer’s tool which I will call Program Q. On the peer-to-peer mailing list for Program Q, somebody asked the following question:

What’s the best way to look at all tables created in the past week? I want to repeat this command across multiple table repositories.

Somebody chimed in with the answer.

You are looking for something like q find table -age lt 7d. If you want to repeat across multiple table repositories, you would say q -server xxx find table -age lt 7d, replacing xxx with the table repository server name.

This seemed to work, but there was a follow-up question:

What’s the best way to get the repository server name for any given repository? For example, what are all the repository servers used by my test team? Is there a central database I can query?

To get the repository servers used by your test team, you um ask your test team? The people on the Program Q peer-to-peer help mailing list do not know the names of your test team’s repository servers. There is no central database of all Program Q servers.

It’s like asking, “What’s the best way to get the name of somebody’s SharePoint site?” Answer: You ask them, “Hey, what’s the name of your SharePoint site?” SharePoint itself does not maintain a central database of all SharePoint sites, but your test team might have a policy that all new SharePoint sites should be registered in some central database. You’ll need to ask them.

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