Groundhog Day at TH Forums

When I decided to build a new computer last summer, I started researching the internet for articles and forums to help me make decisions on components. I was fascinated by Tom’s Hardware (TH) Forums because you guys had this great form to fill out to ask for advice. If someone filled out the form completely, the chances were good that several members could offer excellent advice. I mostly lurked here for awhile until I figured out what I wanted to build, and in the process I gathered information that helped me make informed decisions regarding performance and price considerations of various components. Since I found this site to be so helpful, I decided to try to give back to the community by participating in the forums, and trying to stimulate people to think about their options.

For the last few months I have been actively participating in the forums, and it has come to the point where I feel like Bill Murray in the movie “Groundhog Day.” In this movie, Bill Murray wakes up each morning and has to go through the same day’s events over and over again. After a few days, he knows exactly what each person is going to say, and after a few interactions with that person, he figures out their mindset and eventually helps them all, and in the process he becomes a better person. That is exactly my experience.

Here is a brief list of the type of people I have interacted with, and I am sure the veterans can add a few more:

Noob with Money -- This person has lots of money and doesn’t care about price. Bragging rights are their most important consideration. They want the best possible components regardless of their needs. If the ATI/Nvidia XYZ123 graphics card is the current best card available, they will buy two, or three, or sometimes four of these – Thank You. The best thing you can do with these people, is to tell them what the most expensive component is for each category, and let them spend their money.

Noob without Money – Every penny is important for this person because they are struggling to survive. You really want to help this person (I even thought about sending them some money), but when they say they cannot spend $10 more to get a better power supply, they mean it. You do what you can to help them make the necessary compromises, and hope they do not run into problems.

I Want Advice – NOT! This person often starts out their post by specifically stating that they really want someone to critically review their build because they are buying their parts today or tomorrow or soon. Yet when offered good advice, they become very defensive about their build. For instance, people who want to buy velociraptor drives oftentimes do not want hear suggestions about saving a little money by buying a fast normal drive, or spending a little more to get a solid state drive. With these people you don’t want to offer any advice regarding their CPU or motherboard choice, or you will be chastised for even going there.

Please Read My Mind – This person doesn’t want to waste their time filling out the form to ask for advice. They may say, “I want to have a good gaming computer. Can you please help me put together a computer?” When pressed about their budget, they will often say, “Budget is not as important as performance, just put something together, and I will then be able to judge if it suits my needs.” When someone offers an excellent, low-cost, AMD build, they come back and say, “Oh, I know nothing about AMD, can you build me an Intel system.”

Appreciative Builder – Fortunately, many posters fit into this category. They are genuinely seeking help for their build, they take the time to fill out the form, and they appreciate the help they receive.

I have decided to take a break from participating in these forums because of other pressing time commitments, and the fatigue of dealing with the same issues over and over again. I commend all of the regular posters and moderators here who have far more patience than I do, and who really make this site the most valuable resource for computer enthusiasts on the internet. I will stop back to visit occasionally, and when my time commitments ease, I will probably rejoin the discussions. Keep up the great work!
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  1. ^ Very good observation I would say...
    And one more to the list -
    Well-Educated Bulder - A person who knows why he chose those parts in his build.

    And yes like you said, it is not always easy to be hanging around in the forums...
  2. Best answer
    I can't help giggling at this one

    I Want Advice – NOT!

    Some have this notion that they need $3k machines when all they do is surf the net, do some word processing and watch movies all day and think peeps are crazy for pointing out that they do not need to sink that much dough hehe Good observation btw!
  3. You're forgetting a subset of the "Noob Without Money." The "I Wanna Play Crysis on High with $300." They're more the ones that you don't really feel like helping in that category...

    I find batuchka's got quite the system. Any build $600 or under is the same. I love it.
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