Re: Too bad this group is gone

Discussion in 'C Programming' started by Jens Gustedt, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. Jens Gustedt

    Jens Gustedt Guest

    Am 08/07/2011 06:55 AM, schrieb BarryG:
    > int main void()


    oh!

    my guess is that first of all news groups are slowly phasing out. If you
    have a concrete question about C, you are probably better served by a
    site that is moderated and has some simple rules, such as stackoverflow.

    But then, this group also has a particular bad culture. Most
    discussionsn become polemic about nothing and there are some egos that
    dominate everything. I only follow it for some weeks now, scary.

    Jens
    Jens Gustedt, Aug 8, 2011
    #1
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  2. Jens Gustedt

    Rui Maciel Guest

    Jens Gustedt wrote:

    > Am 08/07/2011 06:55 AM, schrieb BarryG:
    >> int main void()

    >
    > oh!
    >
    > my guess is that first of all news groups are slowly phasing out. If you
    > have a concrete question about C, you are probably better served by a
    > site that is moderated and has some simple rules, such as stackoverflow.


    sites such as stack overflow are only any good to those who aren't able to
    think for themselves and therefore require a herd, who some members are even
    more clueless than the poster, to pick an answer to their questions.
    Meanwhile, searching usenet's backlog returns more valuable results than
    that, and it has been this way for decades.


    > But then, this group also has a particular bad culture. Most
    > discussionsn become polemic about nothing and there are some egos that
    > dominate everything. I only follow it for some weeks now, scary.


    If you believe that the usenet's intrinsic value relies on the traffic
    generated in a couple of weeks then you are oblivious to the tool which you
    have been using. Pairing usenet with a search engine is the best expert
    system that humanity ever devised, and it makes it an invaluable tool to
    anyone who has any interest in any subject which is covered in any
    newsgroup.


    Rui Maciel
    Rui Maciel, Aug 8, 2011
    #2
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  3. Jens Gustedt

    John Gordon Guest

    In <4e3fe6b5$0$9121$> Rui Maciel <> writes:

    > sites such as stack overflow are only any good to those who aren't able to
    > think for themselves


    I disagee strongly. If you're having trouble with, say, a third-party
    API method that is behaving contrary to its documentation, how is thinking
    about it going to help you?

    But a site such as stackoverflow might have people who have experienced
    the issue and perhaps know of a workaround, or can at least confirm that
    the method is buggy.

    --
    John Gordon A is for Amy, who fell down the stairs
    B is for Basil, assaulted by bears
    -- Edward Gorey, "The Gashlycrumb Tinies"
    John Gordon, Aug 8, 2011
    #3
  4. Jens Gustedt

    Rui Maciel Guest

    John Gordon wrote:

    > I disagee strongly. If you're having trouble with, say, a third-party
    > API method that is behaving contrary to its documentation, how is thinking
    > about it going to help you?


    I was referring to the moderation process which has been put in place in
    sites such as stack overflow. If a person presents a question and then
    picks the "right" answer according to the results of a pole instead of
    parsing the answers by himself then that person is a moron, with the added
    problem that he may as well end up with a democratically selected, yet wrong
    answer.


    > But a site such as stackoverflow might have people who have experienced
    > the issue and perhaps know of a workaround, or can at least confirm that
    > the method is buggy.


    Which brings us to the following point: exactly what value do these sort of
    sites have that Usenet hasn't been providing for decades? Users aren't
    served better by those sites. In fact, it can be argued that those sites
    actually do the users a disservice when compared with what people get with
    Usenet. So, what exactly is there to be gained?


    Rui Maciel
    Rui Maciel, Aug 8, 2011
    #4
  5. Jens Gustedt

    John Gordon Guest

    In <4e401210$0$9122$> Rui Maciel <> writes:

    > I was referring to the moderation process which has been put in place in
    > sites such as stack overflow. If a person presents a question and then
    > picks the "right" answer according to the results of a pole instead of
    > parsing the answers by himself then that person is a moron, with the added
    > problem that he may as well end up with a democratically selected, yet wrong
    > answer.


    The democratically selected answer is generally most likely to be correct,
    so the user can *start* with that one and parse it for himself to see if it
    is correct. Why would you assume he blindly accepts it?

    > Which brings us to the following point: exactly what value do these sort of
    > sites have that Usenet hasn't been providing for decades? Users aren't
    > served better by those sites. In fact, it can be argued that those sites
    > actually do the users a disservice when compared with what people get with
    > Usenet. So, what exactly is there to be gained?


    I gain the advantage of seeing all the comments and answers on the specific
    topic in one place along with a democratic vote as to which answer is
    correct, as opposed to crawling through dozens or hundreds of individual
    usenet posts, many of which might be expired from my local newsfeed.

    --
    John Gordon A is for Amy, who fell down the stairs
    B is for Basil, assaulted by bears
    -- Edward Gorey, "The Gashlycrumb Tinies"
    John Gordon, Aug 8, 2011
    #5
  6. Jens Gustedt

    Rui Maciel Guest

    John Gordon wrote:

    > In <4e401210$0$9122$> Rui Maciel
    > <> writes:
    >
    >> I was referring to the moderation process which has been put in place in
    >> sites such as stack overflow. If a person presents a question and then
    >> picks the "right" answer according to the results of a pole instead of
    >> parsing the answers by himself then that person is a moron, with the
    >> added problem that he may as well end up with a democratically selected,
    >> yet wrong answer.

    >
    > The democratically selected answer is generally most likely to be correct,
    > so the user can *start* with that one and parse it for himself to see if
    > it
    > is correct. Why would you assume he blindly accepts it?


    If a user doesn't blindly accept an answer that has received more votes just
    because it received more votes then, for that user, it is irrelevant how
    many votes an answer has received. This means that the vote system is
    irrelevant and useless.

    On the other hand, if a user actually gives any weight to what votes an
    answer received and takes that in consideration when deciding which
    suggestion to follow, independent of what answer has been provided, then
    that user is a moron.


    >> Which brings us to the following point: exactly what value do these sort
    >> of
    >> sites have that Usenet hasn't been providing for decades? Users aren't
    >> served better by those sites. In fact, it can be argued that those sites
    >> actually do the users a disservice when compared with what people get
    >> with
    >> Usenet. So, what exactly is there to be gained?

    >
    > I gain the advantage of seeing all the comments and answers on the
    > specific topic in one place along with a democratic vote as to which
    > answer is correct


    Truth and validity isn't defined through a democratic vote. You can't
    change reality and facts with a 50%+1 vote.


    > , as opposed to crawling through dozens or hundreds of
    > individual usenet posts, many of which might be expired from my local
    > newsfeed.


    If you use a search engine to filter through the cruft which clogs sites
    such as stack overflow, why won't you use one to filter through Usenet's
    backlog? You can't claim that mattress A is better than mattress B because
    when you are supposed to use mattress B you opt to sleep on the floor.


    Rui Maciel
    Rui Maciel, Aug 8, 2011
    #6
  7. Jens Gustedt

    Willem Guest

    Rui Maciel wrote:
    ) John Gordon wrote:
    )
    )> In <4e401210$0$9122$> Rui Maciel
    )> <> writes:
    )>
    )>> I was referring to the moderation process which has been put in place in
    )>> sites such as stack overflow. If a person presents a question and then
    )>> picks the "right" answer according to the results of a pole instead of
    )>> parsing the answers by himself then that person is a moron, with the
    )>> added problem that he may as well end up with a democratically selected,
    )>> yet wrong answer.
    )>
    )> The democratically selected answer is generally most likely to be correct,
    )> so the user can *start* with that one and parse it for himself to see if
    )> it
    )> is correct. Why would you assume he blindly accepts it?
    )
    ) If a user doesn't blindly accept an answer that has received more votes just
    ) because it received more votes then, for that user, it is irrelevant how
    ) many votes an answer has received. This means that the vote system is
    ) irrelevant and useless.
    )
    ) On the other hand, if a user actually gives any weight to what votes an
    ) answer received and takes that in consideration when deciding which
    ) suggestion to follow, independent of what answer has been provided, then
    ) that user is a moron.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_the_excluded_middle


    SaSW, Willem
    --
    Disclaimer: I am in no way responsible for any of the statements
    made in the above text. For all I know I might be
    drugged or something..
    No I'm not paranoid. You all think I'm paranoid, don't you !
    #EOT
    Willem, Aug 8, 2011
    #7
  8. Jens Gustedt

    John Gordon Guest

    In <4e402998$0$9123$> Rui Maciel <> writes:

    > > The democratically selected answer is generally most likely to be correct,
    > > so the user can *start* with that one and parse it for himself to see if
    > > it is correct. Why would you assume he blindly accepts it?


    > If a user doesn't blindly accept an answer that has received more votes just
    > because it received more votes then, for that user, it is irrelevant how
    > many votes an answer has received. This means that the vote system is
    > irrelevant and useless.


    > On the other hand, if a user actually gives any weight to what votes an
    > answer received and takes that in consideration when deciding which
    > suggestion to follow, independent of what answer has been provided, then
    > that user is a moron.


    Why do you insist that the user is blindly accepting the most popular
    answer? I can't imagine a competent software developer doing that.

    They will try the popular answer and verify that it works. If not, they
    look at another answer (probably the next most popular.)

    --
    John Gordon A is for Amy, who fell down the stairs
    B is for Basil, assaulted by bears
    -- Edward Gorey, "The Gashlycrumb Tinies"
    John Gordon, Aug 8, 2011
    #8
  9. Jens Gustedt

    Willem Guest

    John Gordon wrote:
    ) Why do you insist that the user is blindly accepting the most popular
    ) answer? I can't imagine a competent software developer doing that.
    )
    ) They will try the popular answer and verify that it works. If not, they
    ) look at another answer (probably the next most popular.)

    Indeed. As anyone with a bit of CS background, specifically
    NP-completeness, will know, verifying an answer is usually
    a lot simpler than finding an answer.


    SaSW, Willem
    --
    Disclaimer: I am in no way responsible for any of the statements
    made in the above text. For all I know I might be
    drugged or something..
    No I'm not paranoid. You all think I'm paranoid, don't you !
    #EOT
    Willem, Aug 8, 2011
    #9
  10. Jens Gustedt

    Jens Gustedt Guest

    Am 08/08/2011 06:30 PM, schrieb Rui Maciel:
    > So, what exactly is there to be gained?


    avoid endless discussions like this one?

    what I mean by that is that everyone explains his point, eventually
    edits it if necessary and that's it. No need of seeking threads and
    extracting information spread over hundreds of posts, where people bark
    at each other, or insult the less knowledgable, or the less English
    capable, or divert on the economic crisis, or are simply rude or only
    impolite.

    Jens
    Jens Gustedt, Aug 8, 2011
    #10
  11. Jens Gustedt

    Ian Collins Guest

    On 08/ 9/11 09:50 AM, Jens Gustedt wrote:
    > Am 08/08/2011 06:30 PM, schrieb Rui Maciel:
    >> So, what exactly is there to be gained?

    >
    > avoid endless discussions like this one?
    >
    > what I mean by that is that everyone explains his point, eventually
    > edits it if necessary and that's it. No need of seeking threads and
    > extracting information spread over hundreds of posts, where people bark
    > at each other, or insult the less knowledgable, or the less English
    > capable, or divert on the economic crisis, or are simply rude or only
    > impolite.


    Moderated news groups offer the best of both worlds. The moderated C
    group is somewhat stodgy, but the moderated C++ group is still decent,
    despite loosing a number of its top contributors.

    It is unfortunate that Usenet has lost many of it's more knowledgeable
    posters and they haven't been replaced. I sometimes wonder where they
    have gone and why they moved on. Boredom maybe?

    --
    Ian Collins
    Ian Collins, Aug 8, 2011
    #11
  12. Jens Gustedt

    Jens Gustedt Guest

    Am 08/08/2011 08:10 PM, schrieb Rui Maciel:
    > On the other hand, if a user actually gives any weight to what votes an
    > answer received and takes that in consideration when deciding which
    > suggestion to follow, independent of what answer has been provided, then
    > that user is a moron.


    Wow.

    Just a typical example why comp.lang.c is sometimes just disgusting
    and what I mean by bad culture. From the discussion of a particular
    site (here stackoverflow) this quickly leads to the insult of a
    certain type of users. This is clearly not the level of discussion I
    want to be involved with.

    Jens
    Jens Gustedt, Aug 8, 2011
    #12
  13. Jens Gustedt

    James Kuyper Guest

    On 08/08/2011 06:08 PM, Ian Collins wrote:
    ....
    > It is unfortunate that Usenet has lost many of it's more knowledgeable
    > posters and they haven't been replaced. I sometimes wonder where they
    > have gone and why they moved on. Boredom maybe?


    I think the more knowledgeable posters tend to be somewhat older, and as
    a result many have died off or retired. Their younger replacements
    aren't using usenet, because it's too old-fashioned for their tastes.
    James Kuyper, Aug 8, 2011
    #13
  14. Jens Gustedt

    James Kuyper Guest

    On 08/08/2011 06:08 PM, Ian Collins wrote:
    ....
    > It is unfortunate that Usenet has lost many of it's more knowledgeable
    > posters and they haven't been replaced. I sometimes wonder where they
    > have gone and why they moved on. Boredom maybe?


    I think the more knowledgeable posters tend to be somewhat older, and as
    a result many have died off or retired. Their younger replacements
    aren't using usenet, because it's too old-fashioned for their tastes.
    James Kuyper, Aug 8, 2011
    #14
  15. Jens Gustedt

    Ben Pfaff Guest

    Ian Collins <> writes:
    > It is unfortunate that Usenet has lost many of it's more knowledgeable
    > posters and they haven't been replaced. I sometimes wonder where they
    > have gone and why they moved on. Boredom maybe?


    I don't know whether I qualify as a "more knowledgeable poster"
    but if so, I used to both have more free time and more interest
    in the discussions that go on here. I got a bit tired of
    answering essentially the same questions over and over. I still
    read the group and chime in occasionally on topics that seem new
    and interesting, but that's fewer and fewer of them as time goes
    on.
    --
    "If I've told you once, I've told you LLONG_MAX times not to
    exaggerate."
    --Jack Klein
    Ben Pfaff, Aug 8, 2011
    #15
  16. Jens Gustedt <> wrote:
    > Am 08/08/2011 06:30 PM, schrieb Rui Maciel:
    > > So, what exactly is there to be gained?


    > avoid endless discussions like this one?


    My aplogies that I continue it anyway;-)

    > what I mean by that is that everyone explains his point, eventually
    > edits it if necessary and that's it. No need of seeking threads and
    > extracting information spread over hundreds of posts, where people bark
    > at each other, or insult the less knowledgable, or the less English
    > capable, or divert on the economic crisis, or are simply rude or only
    > impolite.


    My feeling is that this more an issue with inferior tools
    for reading newsgroups on the one hand and different ex-
    pectations of "getting things done".

    With a decent newsreader (NOT google) it's rather easy to
    killfile the worst offenders, which often gets rid of a lot
    of annoyances (not all, of course, but a good deal of them).
    And having a threading newsreader also helps quite a bit to
    skip the parts of a discussion one isn't interested in.

    But the more important point to me is that "getting some-
    thing done now" is only one part of the problem. Of course,
    when I am stuck I would like the answer as soon as pos-
    sible to be able continue. But that's only one side of the
    coin. I typically don't read a newsgroup just because I am
    waiting for my specific question to become answered but much
    more often to further my education, reading about topics
    I may never have considered before - and then I am more in-
    terested in the discussions, descriptions of how things work
    on different architectures, different interpretations of
    the standards etc., than straight, simple answers to a
    certain question. I.e. the discussions, even if they some-
    times may stray into regions I don't care about too much,
    are what makes usenet so valuable in my point of view.

    The fixation on "here's a question, who's coming up first
    with the answer that directly addresses it" which I feel
    to dominate stack overflow and similar sites is for me not
    what makes them really helpful. To me it feels a bit like
    the help function in Windows where you search for some-
    thing and may find a recipe for your specific question
    (which is quite fine if you're really in a hurry) but
    normally leaves me with the feeling that, while if I do
    exactly what's written there it usually works, I still
    don't understand why this method works but others don't,
    i.e. it tells me how to do something but not why.

    Or, to give a different example: I like cooking. Of course,
    I look up recipes on the internet for new ideas. And, if I
    want to do e.g. a roastbeef just right, I can follow a re-
    cipe that gives me detailed instructions in the form of a
    rather simple "algorithm". That can be fine (and rather
    satisfying) if it works. But my experience is (in cooking
    as in programming) that this isn't always the case. And thus
    I am much more interested in the reasons behind a recipe (e.
    g. the chemistry of cooking etc.) than just an "algorithm"
    I have to follow religiously. Moreover, with an understanding
    of what's going on I have a much better chance at solving
    similar but different problems, allowing me to consider
    alternatives or make educated guesses when I am confronted
    with recipes that seem to contradict each other.

    For one one of the best examples of how this can work try to
    find postings by Chris Torek (just as a especially shining
    example, there were and are others) to questions in this
    group) - they are going to be from a few years back. When
    he answered a question the answer typically was really long,
    going into all kinds of details of how things were implemen-
    ted on all kinds of architectures, what pitfalls to look out
    for etc. This weren't answers that gave just a solution for
    the problem at hand but which told you why certain things
    work, why others don't and some others only do so on certain
    systems. This may be maddening for someone who doesn't really
    care why or why not something works and just wants to get
    "it done", but for those a bit more interested into solving
    problems on their own those answers were invaluable. And I
    doubt quite a bit that someone like Chris Torek would fit in
    well into e.g. stackoverflow where the emphasis seems to be
    more on recipes and less on explanations.

    Regards, Jens
    --
    \ Jens Thoms Toerring ___
    \__________________________ http://toerring.de
    Jens Thoms Toerring, Aug 9, 2011
    #16
  17. Jens Gustedt

    Todd Carnes Guest

    On Mon, 08 Aug 2011 23:18:02 +0000, Jens Thoms Toerring wrote:

    [snip]

    > For one one of the best examples of how this can work try to find
    > postings by Chris Torek (just as a especially shining example, there
    > were and are others) to questions in this group) - they are going to be
    > from a few years back. When he answered a question the answer typically
    > was really long, going into all kinds of details of how things were
    > implemen- ted on all kinds of architectures, what pitfalls to look out
    > for etc. This weren't answers that gave just a solution for the problem
    > at hand but which told you why certain things work, why others don't and
    > some others only do so on certain systems. This may be maddening for
    > someone who doesn't really care why or why not something works and just
    > wants to get "it done", but for those a bit more interested into solving
    > problems on their own those answers were invaluable. And I doubt quite a
    > bit that someone like Chris Torek would fit in well into e.g.
    > stackoverflow where the emphasis seems to be more on recipes and less on
    > explanations.


    I prefer the long and winding Torek-ish answers. :)

    Todd
    Todd Carnes, Aug 9, 2011
    #17
  18. Jens Gustedt

    Jens Gustedt Guest

    Am 08/09/2011 01:18 AM, schrieb Jens Thoms Toerring:
    > Jens Gustedt <> wrote:
    >> avoid endless discussions like this one?

    >
    > My aplogies that I continue it anyway;-)


    :)

    > For one one of the best examples of how this can work try to
    > find postings by Chris Torek (just as a especially shining
    > example, there were and are others) to questions in this
    > group) - they are going to be from a few years back. When
    > he answered a question the answer typically was really long,
    > going into all kinds of details of how things were implemen-
    > ted on all kinds of architectures, what pitfalls to look out
    > for etc. This weren't answers that gave just a solution for
    > the problem at hand but which told you why certain things
    > work, why others don't and some others only do so on certain
    > systems. This may be maddening for someone who doesn't really
    > care why or why not something works and just wants to get
    > "it done", but for those a bit more interested into solving
    > problems on their own those answers were invaluable. And I
    > doubt quite a bit that someone like Chris Torek would fit in
    > well into e.g. stackoverflow where the emphasis seems to be
    > more on recipes and less on explanations.


    I don't think that this bound to the media that people are
    using. There are examples of very careful, knowledgeable and detailed
    answers on stackoverflow, too. If you do an abstraction of the
    "getting more reputation" hype you find people that do a really good
    job in explaining things and there is the comment section that often
    gives you more background.

    Jens
    Jens Gustedt, Aug 9, 2011
    #18
  19. Jens Gustedt

    Rui Maciel Guest

    Jens Gustedt wrote:

    > Am 08/08/2011 06:30 PM, schrieb Rui Maciel:
    >> So, what exactly is there to be gained?

    >
    > avoid endless discussions like this one?


    So, why didn't you choose to avoid "discussions like this one" and instead
    you choose to reply yet again? And why do you believe that censorship would
    help you with your choices, which you make out of your own free will? Do
    you believe it would be any better if a nanny-type figure forced you to
    avoid messages that she (and not you) didn't believe you should access?


    > what I mean by that is that everyone explains his point, eventually
    > edits it if necessary and that's it. No need of seeking threads and
    > extracting information spread over hundreds of posts, where people bark
    > at each other, or insult the less knowledgable, or the less English
    > capable, or divert on the economic crisis, or are simply rude or only
    > impolite.


    No one forces you to follow every thread to it's last post. You have free
    will, don't you? You are free to simply ignore any post you wish. Heck, I
    bet your newsreader provides an option to ignore any thread you wish to
    ignore. If you are so keen on moderation, you can look at it as you
    yourself being your own personal moderator. Is that a bad thing?


    Rui Maciel
    Rui Maciel, Aug 9, 2011
    #19
  20. Jens Gustedt

    Rui Maciel Guest

    Ben Pfaff wrote:

    > I don't know whether I qualify as a "more knowledgeable poster"
    > but if so, I used to both have more free time and more interest
    > in the discussions that go on here. I got a bit tired of
    > answering essentially the same questions over and over. I still
    > read the group and chime in occasionally on topics that seem new
    > and interesting, but that's fewer and fewer of them as time goes
    > on.


    From my personal experience, I've noticed that. as time goes by, the number
    of questions that I tend to have regarding the C programming language are
    frequently answered by searching through this group's backlog. Probably we
    will see a bit more traffic due to C's 201x standard. The same applies to
    comp.lang.c++ and C++0x.

    Nevertheless, as time goes by, the new posts either are repeats or refer to
    details from the far end of the programming language's long tail.
    Meanwhile, if it is possible to get an answer by searching through the
    group's backlog then the need to post new messages to this group, a process
    that tends to take considerably more time, simply goes away. Therefore, it
    is only natural that this group receives less traffic, but this in no way
    means that it is becoming useless and irrelevant. Quite the opposite.


    Rui Maciel
    Rui Maciel, Aug 9, 2011
    #20
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