One of the things that really annoys me is when people ask questions and then disappear off the face of the Earth. During the nine months that this site has been running, I've received a number of technical questions either as comments or via my Contact page. Invariably these questions have been too vague for me to be able to answer immediately, and so I've ended up having to ask for more detail. Then I hear no more.
Why do people do this?! A few years ago when I first had access to the Internet, I was also starting out as a Windows programmer and I posted no end of questions to newsgroups asking for help with various problems. Without fail I eagerly checked back the next day to see if I'd received an answer. Later on, I started answering other people's questions too, which was quite rewarding. I just can't imagine a situation in which I'd ask for help online and then not respond when a person trying to help needed more information. Even if I'd solved the problem myself in the meantime, I would have the courtesy to make this known.
It's interesting observing how programmers go about things when they're stuck. Some will cuss and bang their head on the desk for days before asking for help, whilst others will give up straight away and ask the brightest person at hand. Over the years I've observed that people are much more inclined to ask a colleague for help than to try to find the answer out for themselves, even though the latter is often quicker if you have a strategy for doing it. I'm convinced that this phenomenon directly led to the creation of the Microsoft Office assistant. Microsoft noticed this behavioural pattern and thought it would be a great step forward if they could distill the office expert into Word. I wonder if the people I started off complaining about leave Clippit hanging on for more information?