Ruby mentoring

Luka luka’s recent messages here to the list have made me note
something: there’s a lot of redundancy in answering questions on the
mailing list because someone asks and a dozen people answer. (Too, I’ve
noticed that a lot of times these threads expand out of control into
show-off code tricks because Ruby is so much fun to play with…:wink:

What I’d like to propose is a Ruby mentoring program for newcomer like
luka luka. A mentor would basically be a single point of contact for
Ruby questions. If, for example, I were to be luka luka’s mentor, he
would email me with his questions and I would answer those I know the
answers to and research the answers (including forwarding the question
here) to any I didn’t know.

A mentor would have to have the following traits to be a good one:

 1. Patience for "stupid" questions.
 2. A reasonable grasp of Ruby (not expert, but at least
    intermediate).
 3. Good research skills.
 4. Good teaching skills: instead of just answering the immediate
    question, show also the broader scope within which the question
    and answer lies.

Correspondingly, a mentor’s beneficiary needs to have a few traits to be
a good match:

 1. A willingness to learn principles, not just immediate answers.
 2. Patience to wait for answers.  (Mentors would, after all, sleep
    sometimes.)
 3. A willingness to learn how to learn.

How does this sound to the community? (Regardless, either way, luka
luka, if you don’t want your inbox spammed with a thousand different
answers to each of your questions, feel free to contact me directly with
questions.) If it sounds OK, perhaps a web page could be set up as a
registry of Ruby mentors complete with beneficiary reviews and comments?

El Sábado, 3 de Mayo de 2008, Michael T. Richter escribió:

If, for example, I were to be luka luka’s mentor, he
would email me with his questions and I would answer those I know the
answers to and research the answers (including forwarding the question
here) to any I didn’t know.

Doesn’t it break the concept of a maillist? this is: public questions
and
public responses so everyone can read them or search for them later and
learn.

if you don’t want your inbox spammed with a thousand different
answers to each of your questions,

Is’t easier to tell people not to ask a thread if there are already a
correct
response?

IMHO, this is a typicall issue of any maillist, but the solution is not
allowing individual questions, but showing how to do the questions,
showing
where and how to search before ask an already answered question and
showing
maillist rules.

In any maillist there are always expert level people, intermediate level
people and newbies. Maybe intermediate level people should reply to easy
questions and expert level people just to intermediate or high level
questions. The issue is that usually a expert spents time answering an
easy
question that any other guy with no so much level could answer
perfectly.

Just my opinion. Best regards.

Hi –

On Sat, 3 May 2008, Michael T. Richter wrote:

Luka luka’s recent messages here to the list have made me note
something: there’s a lot of redundancy in answering questions on the
mailing list because someone asks and a dozen people answer. (Too, I’ve
noticed that a lot of times these threads expand out of control into
show-off code tricks because Ruby is so much fun to play with…:wink:

I’ll bet you’ll get at least a dozen answers to this one :slight_smile:

What I’d like to propose is a Ruby mentoring program for newcomer like
luka luka. A mentor would basically be a single point of contact for
Ruby questions. If, for example, I were to be luka luka’s mentor, he
would email me with his questions and I would answer those I know the
answers to and research the answers (including forwarding the question
here) to any I didn’t know.

I don’t know; I really like discussing things here. It does get
repetitive, and sometimes exasperating (though I feel better for
having taken a 2-month hiatus recently). But it also has interesting
ramifications, like when two people who answer end up talking to each
other because they have different takes on how to do something. I’ve
had lots of experiences on both sides of the fence of seeing/giving a
suboptimal or just plain wrong answer and being corrected or
enlightened.

That said, I think that if you want to do it, you should, because
that’s how these things should work. We don’t all have to agree or
feel that it’s the right thing for us.

David

On Sat, May 3, 2008 at 7:59 AM, Michael T. Richter
[email protected] wrote:

What I’d like to propose is a Ruby mentoring program for newcomer like luka
luka. A mentor would basically be a single point of contact for Ruby
questions. If, for example, I were to be luka luka’s mentor, he would email
me with his questions and I would answer those I know the answers to and
research the answers (including forwarding the question here) to any I
didn’t know.

I rarely post questions, just monitor the list to learn. Seeing
multiple
responses to questions, with answers from different perspectives, is
invaluable.

And the questions I don’t know are more important than the answers :slight_smile:

No opposition to a mentoring program per se, but the list (and
searchable
list archives) are an important community resource; I’d hate to see that
change.

:imho!

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Michael T. Richter wrote:
|
| What I’d like to propose is a Ruby mentoring program for newcomer like
| luka luka. A mentor would basically be a single point of contact for
| Ruby questions. If, for example, I were to be luka luka’s mentor, he
| would email me with his questions and I would answer those I know the
| answers to and research the answers (including forwarding the question
| here) to any I didn’t know.

http://rubymentor.rubyforge.org/wiki/wiki.pl


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

At the beginning of the cask and at the end take thy fill, but be
saving in the middle; for at the bottom saving comes too late. Let
the price fixed with a friend be sufficient, and even dealing with
a brother call in witnesses, but laughingly.
~ – Hesiod (c. 700 BC)
~ – Works and Days, Line 366
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On Sat, May 3, 2008 at 4:59 PM, Michael T. Richter
[email protected] wrote:

What I’d like to propose is a Ruby mentoring program for newcomer like luka
luka. A mentor would basically be a single point of contact for Ruby
questions. If, for example, I were to be luka luka’s mentor, he would email
me with his questions and I would answer those I know the answers to and
research the answers (including forwarding the question here) to any I
didn’t know.

I think the problem is that people won’t know when they’re good
mentors and not. I’m sure that if I chose to mentor, I’d sometimes
give a lousy answer to a question while thinking I was giving a good
answer and had no need to do research
. In fact, psychology seems to
tell us that we’re most likely to think we’re competent when we’re
not:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/01/18/MN73840.DTL

As an example of this, look at the recent “Integer Regexp” thread.
Apart from sharing the concern about using nil for infinity, I was
fairly happy with the contribution I made to that thread. I saw it as
a simple, easy solution to the problem domain, and would have felt no
need to send that off to the mailing list if I was mentoring - the
solution seemed obvious, and I didn’t really think that there was any
other relevant way to do it. Yet, if I had been a mentor and had done
that, I would (A) have missed that it didn’t seem to be so obvious to
everybody (as several other solutions were proposed and nobody else
posted the solution I gave), and (B) would have missed Ara Howard’s
beautiful solution based on hacking the existing RegExp engine.

So, I was incompetent in that area and thought I was quite competent.
And, being shown my own incompetence in such ways is what I learn most
from - including seeing other people’s “obvious” solutions. So, I
personally feel that this, while sometimes repetitive, is one of the
most productive uses of the mailing list.

Eivind.

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