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There is an old story that goes like this. Four engineering students were set a problem "How long will it take to roast 1Kg of beef to the medium rare stage in a 200C degree oven?.

Student one was the theoretical type. He researched the literature and found that at medium rare stage the core temperature of the piece of beef will be 45C. Using complex formulas for the specific heat capacity and thermal conductivity of beef he duly arrived at an answer.

Student two was also the theoretical type but with a touch of the experimental bent. He too researched and noted the 45C temperature requirement. Rather than struggle with formulae he purchased a meat thermometer and performed a practical text to arrive at the answer.

Student three simply put 6 pieces of beef in the oven and pulled one out every 20 minutes. He cut each open to detect its stage of cooking and duly arrived at an answer.

Student four simply rang up his mum and said "Mum how long does it take to roast 1kg of beef to medium rare in a 200C oven?"

Which student will make the best engineer?.

Anyway to get to the point I have be bemused by the chatterbox chatter on this node.

OK so it looks like a homework problem. About what do you object?

  • Is is the fact that the question is posted by good old Anonymonk?
  • Is it because it appears to be almost the verbatim text of an assignment (I say almost as most professors would not set two question 3s)?
  • Is it because you prefer to answer homework questions that have been more cleverly crafted to look like they are not?
  • Does it insult your intelligence that Annonymonk appears lazy and stupid as several of these questions can be answered by adding a print()
  • If not what?

Almost all questions posed on all online forums could be answered with a little (or even a lot) of research. The web is over flowing with information. As such there is little compelling reason to answer any but the most obscure and arcane questions as all the rest have already been answered. And yet answer questions we do.

Is it morally correct to answer the question of someone who is being paid to know the answer as part of their job. Is this more or less moral than answering a student who is paying for the privilege of learning the answer?

Many people who visit this site do so in the first instance as Anonymonk. Today's student is tomorrows programmer. Is not one of the much touted virtues of Perl the helpful online community? On c.l.p.m it is RTFM/RTFS here it is Homework Alert!



In reply to So it's homework - so what? by tachyon

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