Posting Culture

All,

is it just me or do we see a shift in postings toward the “can you
please do my work for me?” type of questions? I get the impression
that reading Ruby docs and other types of research are going more and
more out of fashion. Do we give away too much for free? I know,
nobody has to reply to those questions, but I believe this tendency is
doing harm to the culture of this (still) friendly community.

Just to make it clear: I am not generally discrediting people that
seek support but I do have a heavy dislike for laziness.

Regards

robert

On Wed, May 7, 2008 at 7:14 AM, Robert K.
[email protected] wrote:

All,

is it just me or do we see a shift in postings toward the “can you
please do my work for me?” type of questions?

Now why didn’t I think of doing that? It would have
saved me a lot of work!


Rick DeNatale

My blog on Ruby
http://talklikeaduck.denhaven2.com/

On 07/05/2008, Robert K. [email protected] wrote:

seek support but I do have a heavy dislike for laziness.
Hello

I usually try to look up some docs (which are quite hard to search,
and quite vague), do some tests in irb, and then ask on irc.

I sometimes cannot figure out some elementary stuff because I do not
know the right method name for ri or overlook some not so obvious use
of a method.

I do not read all the posts, and there may be some that should be
answered by looking into Pickaxe. Then again, people who do not know
programing, and start with Ruby might have trouble with basic stuff
repeatedly.

In my view asking a question that can be looked up in the docs on a
mailing list is a waste of time however you look at it. So ti must be
that those people either do not know about the docs or do not know how
to use them. Or perhaps cannot understand what’s written there yet.

I remember starting when there was no Internet, at least here. It
prevented stupid questions as there was no place to ask but it was
tough.

Regards

Michal

On Wed, May 7, 2008 at 1:14 PM, Robert K.
[email protected] wrote:

is it just me or do we see a shift in postings toward the “can you
please do my work for me?” type of questions? I get the impression
that reading Ruby docs and other types of research are going more and
more out of fashion.

My impression is that this comes and goes a bit; occasionally, people
show up that abuse it a bit, and when there’s (by random chance) a few
of them active at a time, it seems that we’re having more problems,
and then the problem goes away again (because they get qualified
enough to not ask so much).

I see the friendliness of the mailing list as important, and that
these questions aren’t much of a problem. May have to do with my
email client being good at sorting things into threads, though.

Eivind.

On Wed, 2008-05-07 at 21:03 +0900, Michal S. wrote:

I sometimes cannot figure out some elementary stuff because I do not
know the right method name for ri or overlook some not so obvious use
of a method.

It doesn’t help that ri is prone to random breakage and that you can’t
do any reasonable searches on ri-based documentation. Ri is great (when
it’s working at all) if you know the method/class/whatever you want and
just need a refresher on parameters, etc. It’s lousy as a learning
tool. Kind of like UNIX man pages.

On Wed, May 7, 2008 at 4:14 AM, Robert K.
[email protected] wrote:

seek support but I do have a heavy dislike for laziness.
It’s not just a Ruby issue. I see it in a variety of other forums and
I too find the general laziness out there annoying. It’s even worse
when people don’t bother to understand their problem sufficiently to
even know what information they need to give you. Things like “it
won’t compile” and don’t bother to mention what OS they’re using or
provide the actual error message. sigh

Generally, I find the best solution is to reply with the URL to
appropriate resource (online docs, google search results, etc). If
it’s really bad then I send them:
http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

Robert K. wrote:

is it just me or do we see a shift in postings toward the “can you
please do my work for me?” type of questions?

Well forums have been an ultimate resource for the under-educated. They
have the attitudes of ‘Why bother waste my time looking for the answer
when someone will just give it to me.’

Yes those people are annoying, but its not really hurting anyone besides
themselves, can’t even really see why they are programming if they don’t
bother to understand what code they’re writing. About 99% of the fun of
programming is the thrill of figuring out HOW to do something in my
opinion, not just going immediately to the forums when things aren’t
going your way the first time.

  • Mac

2008/5/7 Michael L. [email protected]:

Yes those people are annoying, but its not really hurting anyone besides
themselves, can’t even really see why they are programming if they don’t
bother to understand what code they’re writing.

I am not sure about that: if people do not bother to do their work
properly then - if programming is not hobby or education - someone
eventually will suffer, namely users of the software, colleagues that
have to fix it and all other people involved (support personnel for
example).

About 99% of the fun of
programming is the thrill of figuring out HOW to do something in my
opinion, not just going immediately to the forums when things aren’t
going your way the first time.

Exactly. And this is especially true since things you learn yourself
(probably the hard way) stick much better than things you just looked
up somewhere.

Kind regards

robert

seek support but I do have a heavy dislike for laziness.

It’s not just a Ruby issue. I see it in a variety of other forums

I second that.

I too find the general laziness out there annoying.

Yep. And the problem is that you can’t realy ignore these people. Sure,
you can avoid answering them, but inside you feel annoyed at their
unfriendly bahavior. It leaves a bad taste.

On Wed, May 7, 2008 at 1:14 PM, Robert K.
[email protected] wrote:

seek support but I do have a heavy dislike for laziness.

Regards

robert

Hi Robert

good to post this because I was kind of surprised of some of your
recent replies ;), now I understand.
Hmm it was not a tendency I noted recently I rather felt it was always
a strength of this community to be helpful.
I would love to have the same kind of replies most of us are giving by
example for some Python stuff I am trying to do. (It is because I want
to tame the beast and not because I like its beauty).

Put shortly, no, I do not really feel this tendency, maybe just an
increase in traffic?

Cheers
Robert


use.inject do |as, often| as.you_can - without end


http://ruby-smalltalk.blogspot.com/


Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

2008/5/8 Robert D. [email protected]:

good to post this because I was kind of surprised of some of your
recent replies ;), now I understand.

:slight_smile: If you refer to the brevity of some of my replies, there are
actually several reasons for it: lack of time (i.e. increased work
load at work combined with spring induced reduction of my motivation
to stay on the keyboard after work) and attempting to help spark
understanding vs. giving complete explanation (see e.g. my reply in
thread “Interesting result of a newbie mistake” which was repeated
later on by Christophe with additional prose).

Hmm it was not a tendency I noted recently I rather felt it was always
a strength of this community to be helpful.

Yes, that’s for sure. I wrote my initial posting in order to
maintain this helpfulness.

I would love to have the same kind of replies most of us are giving by
example for some Python stuff I am trying to do. (It is because I want
to tame the beast and not because I like its beauty).

g

Put shortly, no, I do not really feel this tendency, maybe just an
increase in traffic?

That may well be. I wasn’t sure that’s why I asked.

Kind regards

robert

On Thu, May 8, 2008 at 11:19 AM, Robert K.
[email protected] wrote:

2008/5/8 Robert D. [email protected]:
I however stumbled on one post which was a perfect proof of your
feeling :(. Shortly after my initial reply of course (Murphy’s law
again).
Cheers
Robert

http://ruby-smalltalk.blogspot.com/


Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

On Thu, 2008-05-08 at 17:01 +0900, Robert D. wrote:

Put shortly, no, I do not really feel this tendency, maybe just an
increase in traffic?

Actually the only real tendency I’ve seen in posting culture in the
Ruby-Talk mailing list since I first signed on was a reduction of “Matz
Is Nice So We Are Nice” (MINSWAN) culture and an increase in ESR “you
must ask exactly the way I want to be asked or I will feel free to mock
you”-style culture.

I do not find this an improvement. IM(NS)HO/YMMV/IANAL/WIIYWH.

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Michael T. Richter wrote:
| On Thu, 2008-05-08 at 17:01 +0900, Robert D. wrote:
|
|> Put shortly, no, I do not really feel this tendency, maybe just an
|> increase in traffic?
|
|
| Actually the only real tendency I’ve seen in posting culture in the
| Ruby-Talk mailing list since I first signed on was a reduction of “Matz
| Is Nice So We Are Nice” (MINSWAN) culture and an increase in ESR “you
| must ask exactly the way I want to be asked or I will feel free to mock
| you”-style culture.

It is difficult to help somebody who posts something like
‘My script doesn’t run. Can you help me.’

And text is notoriously bad in conveying subtext (i.e. nobody knows
which tone I’d use in verbal communication), and I value brevity and
conciseness in text communication, too, which can seem unfriendly, but
really isn’t. It helps reduce misunderstanding as to what is meant.


Phillip G.
Twitter: twitter.com/cynicalryan
Blog: http://justarubyist.blogspot.com

You thought I was taking your woman away from you. You’re jealous.
You tried to kill me with your bare hands. Would a Kelvan do that?
Would he have to? You’re reacting with the emotions of a human.
You are human.
~ – Kirk, “By Any Other Name,” stardate 4657.5
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Do we give away too much for free?

My question will be provocative, but:

Do you want to get paid for help?

I also totally agree with Phillip

And text is notoriously bad in conveying subtext

I think a few people who help too may feel
frustrated. This frustration is the problem IMHO,
not people that ask questions - because you can
always easily opt to not answer a question. (And if
it was important, often the guy who asked can repeat
some time later.)

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Marc H. wrote:
|> Do we give away too much for free?
|
| My question will be provocative, but:
|
| Do you want to get paid for help?

Ideally, yes. :slight_smile:

However, currently I’m paying back the debt I incurred when tapping into
the knowledge of this list.

| I also totally agree with Phillip
|> And text is notoriously bad in conveying subtext
|
| I think a few people who help too may feel
| frustrated. This frustration is the problem IMHO,
| not people that ask questions - because you can
| always easily opt to not answer a question. (And if
| it was important, often the guy who asked can repeat
| some time later.)

This frustration probably results from a rather low number of regulars
and active participants. Those that were on the list when I began using
Ruby and reading this list largely disappeared, and the number has
dwindled, as not enough have moved in to fill the vacancies.

Thus, the same few ‘have’ to deal with the same (or eerily similar
questions) over and over again.

Imagine working for support, and your users call the whole day, each
with the same question to you. No wonder you’d get frustrated.

I’m happy that I moved above and beyond my first steps with Ruby to more
intermediary and advanced topics (I still get surprised by stuff Ara
posts, however, so I’m by no means a Ruby cutter), and can help newbies.

Sometimes, though, I have to take a deep breath, and shorten an initial
reply, so that I only sound impatient, and not annoyed, too. :\


Phillip G.
Twitter: twitter.com/cynicalryan
Blog: http://justarubyist.blogspot.com

~ I think nighttime is dark so you can imagine your fears with less
distraction. – Calvin
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Robert D. wrote:

If I had to vote for a MVP (most valuable POSTER of course :wink: it would
be Ara, not for his numerous marvelous contributions to the Ruby
world, because there are others, many others that do marvelous things
too, but for his quote :slight_smile:

People who know me personally know that it is my nature to act like a
jerk. However, thanks to Ara’s sig I am trying to be better. On
ruby-talk, “better” means showing restraint in my posting habits. This
is a continual struggle, because quite frequently my initial tendency is
to post something snarky like “RTFM” or “That’s a stupid question.”

However, I’ve noticed that if I restrain myself just a little bit and
keep my hands off the keyboard, pretty soon somebody kinder than me (and
usually smarter than me) comes along who understands the question better
than I do and gives a helpful and respectful reply. It’s amazing! By
keeping my stupid smart ass mouth shut I’ve enhanced both ruby-talk’s
reputation and my own. Also lots of times I learn something.

So I try to make sure that my posts are 1) helpful, 2) positive, and 3)
non-judgmental. If I don’t have anything to say that meets those
qualifications, then I don’t say anything. I don’t always get it right,
but I’m trying.


See Ara’s sig

On Thu, May 8, 2008 at 1:39 PM, Phillip G.
[email protected] wrote:

I would like to add some general ideas I have about this.

  1. Often the teacher learns more than the pupil
  2. If it is more trouble than fun than do not do it
  3. Sometimes I try hard to understand (and often get it wrong) because
    it is an important skill to have.
    I am aware that this might be seen as a bad attitude encouraging peope
    not to take too much trouble to explain things but on the other hand,
    imagine you had to ask for advice in French :wink:
    That does not apply tor Guy, Fred and Rick who have to imagine using
    Finnish, mais je ne repondrais pas :wink:

If I had to vote for a MVP (most valuable POSTER of course :wink: it would
be Ara, not for his numerous marvelous contributions to the Ruby
world, because there are others, many others that do marvelous things
too, but for his quote :slight_smile:

Cheers
Robert

http://ruby-smalltalk.blogspot.com/


Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Robert D. wrote:

doing harm to the culture of this (still) friendly community.
Hi Robert
increase in traffic?

Cheers
Robert

Hi Roberts (taking a bit of liberty here),

I see this as a sign that Ruby is picking up and gaining traction in
other places. There was a time when there were a lot of people who were
discovering Ruby on their own free will and were looking at documents
(online or offline) and trying out different things. As it gains
traction, it approaches the point where people are having Ruby thrust on
them (possibly more Rails than Ruby) either due to preference of people
further up in the food chain or due to clients (specially in the case of
outsourced projects). In such cases, it’s likely that the engineer is
just venting frustration about the language on a forum cos it’s
something they werem’t born to, or achieved - it was thrust on them.

I wonder how the situation on other forums is. I find the Ruby forum is
better than the Rails forum. The Rails forum is definitely worse with
many questions of the kind “I want to do this - please send me code with
explanation” (perhaps I exaggerate a little).

Cheers
Mohit.

Hmm… I usually ask myself that question too ( I do programming but
also 3D graphics and webgraphics etc. etc. FREE! ) I’m getting a little
angry because I’m so dumb to do that… but ehh the docs don’t always
answer my questions fully ( Same if i would search with specific search
engines that are made for code search )

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