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Re: RFC: Getting Better at Finding Answers

by sundialsvc4 (Abbot)
on Apr 12, 2011 at 00:44 UTC ( #898815=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Getting Better at Finding Answers

An excellent resource!   Wow!

The only small thing I would add is:   Watch out for the “XY Problem.”   (Google it...)

When you are considering your problem, or your challenge, or your immediate task, be careful not to jump to premature conclusions ... be sure that you are exploring the problem and not “the first possible approach to that problem that just jumped into your head.”   The CPAN library is vast, and if you keep your imagination wide-open you will probably find “a better-for-you way to do it” that might be completely unlike your initial assumptions.

You will be especially prone to this if your natural way of tackling a problem is to quickly latch-on to the first approach that you think of, and to then pursue that one approach with relentless vigor, not discarding it until you prove to yourself that it simply cannot be made to work.   (If you think that I am describing myself, I am, indeed.)


Comment on Re: RFC: Getting Better at Finding Answers
Re^2: RFC: Getting Better at Finding Answers
by luis.roca (Deacon) on Apr 12, 2011 at 14:19 UTC

    Thank you, especially for pointing out the 'XY Problem'. I think I hinted at it but it's important to be clear: Asking about the solution to your problem rather than the problem you are having can lead to a lot of wasted time. The solution may be solved but the original purpose 'your actual problem' will remain unsolved. I do think there is value in learning and solving for Y as long as it's always paired with X from the beginning. Especially in the context of asking questions on PerlMonks and such.

    You will be especially prone to this if your natural way of tackling a problem is to quickly latch-on to the first approach that you think of, and to then pursue that one approach with relentless vigor, not discarding it until you prove to yourself that it simply cannot be made to work. (If you think that I am describing myself, I am, indeed.)

    I think I take this for granted coming from graphic design. I've been creating many many versions on an assignment since I was 19 so it's just a given to do that. It's probably not exactly practical to create 3 to 5 versions of a program to present to a client. (I've never been asked to present 3 -5 versions of my html most clients don't want to look under the hood). For a specific 'bullet point' I would definitely explore a few different possibilities. The trick is knowing when to stop and say "I've explored the problem enough now lets pick a couple and carry them through to see which will work best." Again, my experience in an IT department is limited so I wouldn't know if that's reasonable practice.


    "...the adversities born of well-placed thoughts should be considered mercies rather than misfortunes." Don Quixote

      /me nods...

      The crux of my suggestion, is, indeed, that one needs to explore the problem and then to pick a couple of them to carry forward.   It is easy, very easy, to walk (too...) confidently in a particular direction without really considering where you are going and ... suddenly you are having “a Wile E. Coyote moment.”   (You’re standing in mid-air, holding some very-heavy something made ... of course ... by Acme, and you are definitely not the Roadrunner!)   “Look before you leap” is sometimes easier said than done.

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