As I believe I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been busy playing the shit out of Skyrim for the past few weeks. Like pretty much every Bethesda game ever, it came out of the box (or, in this case, off the ‘tubes via Steam) with a shitton of little niggling bugs. Random crashes, quests not completing properly, things moving around that shouldn’t move (I’m looking at you, mannequins!) stuff like that. Nothing really game breaking (I had to use a console hack to get a quest to move to the next stage once, though) and nothing regular enough to be irritating.
And then patch 1.2 hit. Suddenly, my entire game was FUBAR. I couldn’t fast travel because clicking anywhere on the map just caused the map to close. I couldn’t read any books because once I was in the “read book” screen, I couldn’t get out of it–tab didn’t work, and although Esc took me to the system menu, once I got out of that I was still reading the book. This was not an issue I could live with or work around. So I did what most anybody would do, and I asked Google for help.
It was at this point that I rediscovered how absolutely unhelpful most internet help forums are. I rather quickly found a thread on one of these forums started by a guy who was having my exact problem. It had several dozen responses, so I thought I’d hit the jackpot and would find a fix right away. HA! No, that’s not how it works here on the ‘tubes. Of the several dozen responses, only a few were actual attempts at solving the issue. One person suggested that maybe the patch had messed up some key bindings. No, that turned out not to be the case–but hey, not a bad guess, so no harm, no foul. Another person sort of insanely suggested going into the game folder and randomly deleting things, letting Steam re-download them, and see if that fixes things! Although that seemed completely insane to me, it was actually not far off from what eventually solved the problem for me (which, by the way, was telling Steam to validate the game cache–Steam found an error in one of the files, re-downloaded it, and everything was fine after that.)
The vast majority of the posts, however, were people being completely unhelpful by saying “I’m not having that problem.” Really? Well, gee, thanks! I’m glad you’re not having this problem. But guess what? I am! And you just wasted my time by posting that response, dipshit! What on earth possesses people to post that in a thread on a tech support forum? Sure, if this were specifically a forum for developers, it could conceivably be helpful for you to let everybody know you can’t reproduce the problem. But that’s not what we’re doing here! We’re here to discuss the issues we’re having and find out if anybody else has had this problem and if so, how they fixed it. You butting in with “I’m not having that problem” is just about the least helpful thing you can do. But so many people feel compelled to do this–the thread in question had dozens of responses, and most of them were some variation on “I’m not having that problem.” One guy even went so far as to say “I’ve got the PC version of the game, and I’ve not had a single problem, ever. Just saying.” Really? Really? That’s your contribution to this discussion? To brag about how you not only don’t have this problem, but you don’t have any other problems either? Thanks! While you’re being so amazingly unhelpful, why don’t you go find an AA meeting and let them all know how you’ve never been addicted to alcohol! Or go find a Weight Watchers group and tell them how you’ve never had to diet because you’ve always been skinny! Those are two equally helpful things you could be doing right now!
What really kills me is trying to figure out why these people are even reading the thread! Why are they even on the forum if they’re not having any problems? Do these people really spend all day reading internet forums about issues they don’t have just so they can tell everybody they don’t have them? It makes me wonder if they think that the people reporting the problem are just pathological liars, and they feel virtuous for calling them out on their bullshit by implying “Hey, look, I don’t have that problem, so it’s clear to me that you don’t really have it either–you’re just a whiner looking for attention!” Or, heaven help us all, do they really think they are making a meaningful contribution to the discussion by letting everybody know they have no frame of reference because they weren’t listening to the Dude’s story?
Seriously people. Fucking THINK before you post. Here’s a simple mental exercise. Before you post to a forum thread asking for help with a specific issue, ask yourself “Is what I’m about to post in any way a possible fix for the problem the original poster is having, or does it at least attempt to help fix the problem?” If the answer is “No,” then DON’T POST IT!