Posting Culture

Discussion in 'Ruby' started by Robert Klemme, May 7, 2008.

  1. 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

    --
    use.inject do |as, often| as.you_can - without end
     
    Robert Klemme, May 7, 2008
    #1
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  2. On Wed, May 7, 2008 at 7:14 AM, Robert Klemme
    <> 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 <strong>I</strong> think of doing that? It would have
    saved me a lot of work! <G>

    --
    Rick DeNatale

    My blog on Ruby
    http://talklikeaduck.denhaven2.com/
     
    Rick DeNatale, May 7, 2008
    #2
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  3. On 07/05/2008, Robert Klemme <> 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? 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.


    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
     
    Michal Suchanek, May 7, 2008
    #3
  4. On Wed, May 7, 2008 at 1:14 PM, Robert Klemme
    <> 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.
     
    Eivind Eklund, May 7, 2008
    #4
  5. Robert Klemme

    Aaron Turner Guest

    On Wed, May 7, 2008 at 4:14 AM, Robert Klemme
    <> 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? 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.


    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

    --
    Aaron Turner
    http://synfin.net/
    http://tcpreplay.synfin.net/ - Pcap editing & replay tools for Unix
    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
    safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -- Benjamin Franklin
     
    Aaron Turner, May 7, 2008
    #5
  6. > > 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.
    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
     
    Albert Schlef, May 7, 2008
    #6
  7. Robert Klemme 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
    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
     
    Michael Linfield, May 7, 2008
    #7
  8. 2008/5/7 Michael Linfield <>:
    > 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

    --
    use.inject do |as, often| as.you_can - without end
     
    Robert Klemme, May 8, 2008
    #8
  9. Robert Klemme

    Robert Dober Guest

    On Wed, May 7, 2008 at 1:14 PM, Robert Klemme
    <> 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? 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
    >


    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
     
    Robert Dober, May 8, 2008
    #9
  10. 2008/5/8 Robert Dober <>:
    > good to post this because I was kind of surprised of some of your
    > recent replies ;), now I understand.


    :) 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

    --
    use.inject do |as, often| as.you_can - without end
     
    Robert Klemme, May 8, 2008
    #10
  11. Robert Klemme

    Robert Dober Guest

    On Thu, May 8, 2008 at 11:19 AM, Robert Klemme
    <> wrote:
    > 2008/5/8 Robert Dober <>:

    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
     
    Robert Dober, May 8, 2008
    #11
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    Michael T. Richter wrote:
    | On Thu, 2008-05-08 at 17:01 +0900, Robert Dober 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 Gawlowski
    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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    =RUvP
    -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
     
    Phillip Gawlowski, May 8, 2008
    #12
  13. Robert Klemme

    Marc Heiler Guest

    > 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.)
    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
     
    Marc Heiler, May 8, 2008
    #13
  14. -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    Hash: SHA1

    Marc Heiler 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. :)

    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 Gawlowski
    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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    Phillip Gawlowski, May 8, 2008
    #14
  15. Robert Klemme

    Robert Dober Guest

    On Thu, May 8, 2008 at 1:39 PM, Phillip Gawlowski
    <> 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 ;)
    That does not apply tor Guy, Fred and Rick who have to imagine using
    Finnish, mais je ne repondrais pas ;)

    If I had to vote for a MVP (most valuable POSTER of course ;) 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*** :)

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

    ---
    Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
    Ludwig Wittgenstein
     
    Robert Dober, May 8, 2008
    #15
  16. Robert Klemme

    Tim Hunter Guest

    Robert Dober wrote:
    > If I had to vote for a MVP (most valuable POSTER of course ;) 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*** :)


    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
    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
     
    Tim Hunter, May 8, 2008
    #16
  17. Robert Dober wrote:
    > On Wed, May 7, 2008 at 1:14 PM, Robert Klemme
    > <> 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? 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
    >>
    >>

    >
    > 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
    >


    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.
     
    Mohit Sindhwani, May 10, 2008
    #17
  18. Robert Klemme

    H. Dauven Guest

    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 )
    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
     
    H. Dauven, May 10, 2008
    #18
  19. On 10.05.2008 20:09, Mohit Sindhwani wrote:
    > Robert Dober wrote:


    > Hi Roberts (taking a bit of liberty here),


    :) At least, we're nearly neighbors - at least in a global dimension
    the few 100 kilometers between us are negligible. :)

    > 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.


    That's an interesting theory - and it may well be the case. I am not
    sure though whether this is the explanation for what I notice. It's
    usually a good idea to present what one had attempted already - if only
    to avoid solutions that the poster has tried already, but also to
    demonstrate the own motivation to find a solution oneself. I frequently
    see this missing from questions and in those cases I get the impression
    that someone is just plain lazy and does not bother to invest minimal
    effort to find a solution. Whether this is actually the case, obviously
    the reader cannot know. If I would go on I would essentially repeat
    what others have compiled already [1], so I'll stop here.

    Kind regards

    robert

    [1] http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
     
    Robert Klemme, May 10, 2008
    #19
  20. Robert Klemme

    H. Dauven Guest

    To be honest I'm a Delphi programmer :p but I needed to use Ruby for an
    engine I'm using and I have to say that Ruby Is quiet good ^^ and It
    works! ^^
    --
    Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.
     
    H. Dauven, May 10, 2008
    #20
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