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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Do you find programs with ”help” files that can’t be accessed offline disingenuous?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (21531 points ) May 10th, 2014

When a program has a ”help” file, don’t you expect it to be…..well, helpful? How can it be helpful if you can’t get to it unless you are online? If you are not at home or in a hotspot, you can’t use the ”help” file to learn something about the program you may not know off hand. Do you find that a little disingenuous of the programmers?

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5 Answers

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

Yes, I certainly do. Unfortunately, it seems that many if not most of the help documentation out there is written hastily, as an afterthought, and not tested. Programmers like to write code, not documentation- at least, so it’s frequently been said both on various blogs and on the maillists I frequent. This is a problem, because they also frequently don’t like to write readable code. In a few cases I’ve looked at the codebase of a project with a view to improving it’s documentation, only to find myself lost in the code. I’ve not found any tactful way to bring this up without the developers having a snit about it, either.

flip86's avatar

No. I usually figure it out myself. No need for a help file. Just wasted space if you ask me.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I agree that those “help” files are mostly useless. I can’t figure out why they bother to waste disk space for such nuisanse. I never read those files, and when I need help, I go to the net instead.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Mimishu1995 _ I can’t figure out why they bother to waste disk space for such nuisanse._
If you download programs from the Net, many don’t seem to download the “Help file” with the program, you try to access it while not online, it tells you that it can’t display it for you as if the actual “Help file” is in the cloud, and was not installed to your disc with the program.

dabbler's avatar

I don’t think I’d call it disingenuous, but it is damned inconvenient!
The quality of help pages is certainly inconsistent, I’ve tried to use some that were awful and didn’t even contain the actual menu commands.
On the other hand, before MS Office went ‘online’ for the help sections it was the best help facility I’d seen. Gone to cloud now, though.

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