|Perl: the Markov chain saw|
You should neither give hints or write code for them. You should enlighten.
It has been forgotten many a time here in the monastery, but programming is very hard for some people. Their brains aren't wired that way.
When you see the person is off by a little, just saying "RTFM" is insulting. The reason they are only off by a little in many cases is because they have already gone through a bunch of documentation and it did not make complete sense.
However, just writing the code for them is not a solution. They didn't understand it, so you either tell them to re-read it, or you solve it for them without explaining how.
Generally, it is not a lack of understanding of commands, but a lack of understanding loop logic or variable syntax. Newbies have a terrible time with regexes, and IMHO, the documentation is useless.
Why?? Is the regex documentation bad?? No. It perfectly lays out the technical aspects of using perl Regexes. But the conceptual knowledge of string processing is still beyond most people. (Most newbies have enough trouble with substr)
So, someone who does not grasp the concept of backtracking in regexes asks you a question, or posts one to the group. He's read the perlre manpage and did not understand it, he's done some searches, frustration sets in. He posts his question, and keeps checking for a reply.
Reply 1: RTFM.
Our frustrated user replies with what docs he's read, etc...
Reply 2: Read the section on Vacilating parsed farthings from Bora-Bora.
Hunh?? I thought it should be written like X, but that only generates syntax errors.
And on and on. Look through the monastery and see how many useful responses are included in top two or three responses to a question. (It's less than 40%)
The sad thing is that they're just point-whoring by trying to be at the top of the post and seem to have little time to do much more than be insulting.
Slashdot had "First Post", do we have RTFM?? If that's so, why doesn't Tim just add a script that automatically adds a reply to every post that says "RTFM" and save some of the others some trouble??
I understand that you folks don't come here to just teach people, but if you don't care to light a candle, stop spitting at the darkness. The people posting in the SOPW section are mostly newbies. Some just to Perl, some to programming in general.
"where I advised the person to add code to show why the rename was failing", gee, if he was so comfortable with that, no wonder he asked a group of irritable strangers for help instead. "Uppercase letters in the path. I think this is the best method: showing the user the problem" and explaining why it is a problem.
I personally have 2 programs with a function from Tilly in there. I don't know what it does, I don't know why. All I know is that my old copy_file routine failed on one project. Noone would explain why, so I just took the code that Tilly posted and ran with it. I don't like it, and if I come across this problem again, I won't know how to solve it. (I have since gone to the trouble to dissect it.)
BIG note to monks! You don't have to answer. If it's something that you're going to RTFM someone about, let a junior monk come along and help. I keep hearing "I'm so busy I don't have time to give a meaningful answer." Then make more time by giving fewer meaningless answers.
Besides, I always figure that the folks who "RTFM" all of the time probably don't really know the answer anyway. Perhaps it's enough to say that merlyn and others have never done that to me, and no one who keeps spewing RTFM at me has ever had the solution.