Network vs. Machine

Cole wrote a post about how his Twitter network helped him solve a problem. His blog suddenly decided to stop accepting comments, and he wasn't sure how that happened, or how to fix it. I was just going to post this as a comment on his blog, but, well, it's still not accepting comments ;-) (and I apologize if this post comes across as snarky - not intended to - it's just a pre-caffeinated response to a blog, first thing in the morning...)

Posting a question to the Network via Twitter etc. is great, and it really IS impressive that people provide answers so quickly. But one thing that I wonder about is the reliance on other people rather than our own referencing and querying skills. I'm probably more guilty of this than anyone I know - heck, I have a whole tag of "lazyweb" posts here on my blog.

What I find puzzling, and I'm not meaning to pick on Cole here, is that the same answers to the same question could have been found in less than 5 seconds with a properly worded Google query. Like this, for instance:

Google Query for wordpress enable comments on all posts
Google Query for wordpress enable comments on all posts

The trick is to know roughly what you're looking for. Key words like "enable comments" might not just roll off the fingertips of everyone with the problem. But variations might work as well.

I'm really NOT trying to discount the power of the Network in pooling resources and brains, but we also need to remember that we have tools at our own fingertips to help enlist the huge databases of the Machine to help find information to solve problems independently.

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