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Re: Put some of the posting guidelines directly above the posting form:

by ww (Archbishop)
on Dec 04, 2011 at 14:04 UTC ( #941664=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Put some of the posting guidelines directly above the posting form:

++ for a proposal that might accomplish its goal. Certainly we see far too many posts with inadquate information.

An earlier proposal that Monks be encouraged to WITHHOLD approval of incomplete nodes -- SOPW in particular -- drew favorable response but fell short of general adoption.

Noted, too, that it's obviously not part of the mindset of at least some (and one might even argue, "many") newcomers, to read the existing notes re markup, and to ignore the note warning that a badly formatted preview probably means they failed to follow the markup suggestions.

IMO, your proposal's major shortcoming is that it doesn't provide a mechanism to cope with those who will blindly click any radio button or check any box to accomplish their goal... be that installing software without reading a license agreement, or posting a question here without ensuring that it contains the required information.

Still, I would be interested in seeing a more detailed sketch of your proposal; specifically, what questions do you suggest as essential and how would you implement them without creating impediments for those who routinely post clear, complete questions. (It occurs to me that redirecting all AnonyMonk and noobie (defined as those with XP less than some nn to be established) attempts to seek wisdom through an intermediate page with guidelines and checkboxes might have merit... but it might also have a major downside, in that it might drive novices away) and could be bypassed with the same mechanism for experienced as the preview page.

One last thing... and far more than a minor quibble: the mindset reflected in the last para of the op does NOT reflect my understanding of the Monastery's guiding principal: we're here to learn and to help others learn ... not to "cod(e) a solution." Sure, sometimes offering a solution is the "right" answer, but too often we see a SOPW with responses that provide the needed "how to fish" information, followed by a "here's a fish" solution ... and a 'thank you' for the solution, followed by a new question already answered in the 'how to fish' nodes. IOW, /methinks the OP in those cases picked the easy, job-done-by-someone-else answer and ignored those requiring effort, such as reading the references provided.

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Re^2: Put some of the posting guidelines directly above the posting form:
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Dec 04, 2011 at 14:52 UTC
    but too often we see a SOPW with responses that provide the needed "how to fish" information, followed by a "here's a fish" solution ... and a 'thank you' for the solution,

    Teaching newbies how to fish is laudable, but teaching them how to learn, more so.

    This site is littered with threads from newbies asking often fairly basic questions where the only response (or responses) are long lists of links to prior art, or "what have you tried", or RTFM (with or without a link); that end exactly there. No follow-on discussion of the possible approaches and their merits. No challenges to received wisdom. No benchmarks or innovations.

    And no response from the OPs at all.

    A nearly-but-not-quite code solution, sans comments or discussion, provides far more incentive to OPs to engage than any "what have you tried" reply. They see something they can download and try. They can see that it almost fits their purpose. They are engaged. There is incentive for them to come back and ask questions. To try and understand what they've been given and try and adapt it to their purpose.

    All too often on the internet -- here far less than most other places -- many of the incumbents respond to newbies first attempts to get to grips with new ideas and concepts with the attitude of "How dare you waste my time with your trivial questions". Completely missing that it is not the questioners that are wasting their time; but the incumbents themselves.

    They have the option to simple ignore the questions they feel are below their worth and move on. Instead, they waste their time, and that of the questioners by posting wholly negative what-have-you-tried, can't-you-read, is-this-homework, RTFM flames. And the newbies sense the lie of the land, disengage and disappear back into the ether to seek other more friendly sources of help.

    The moment that this place restricts itself to only answering questions that are of sufficient complexity to stimulate the experts; it will die.


    With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
    Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
    "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
    In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

    The start of some sanity?

      For me (and I probably should have made this clearer in my prior), your "nearly-but-not-quite code solution" is crucial... and much to be desired! It's a key distinguising difference between teaching how to learn (in the precise manner you discuss) and a complete solution (the site is also littered with these) which -- I fear -- rarely teaches anything other than, perhaps, "Wow, PM's a great place from which to cargo-cult code."

      And, yes, a plague on the houses of those who consider noob questions "trivial" or beneath their dignity.

      But IMO, and as as educated_foo said earlier, the "tireless scolds" who (in many, but not all cases) remind noobs to demonstrate that they've not asked a question without trying to learn by trying to solve their puzzle, themselves. Agreed, "RTFM" without a link is worthless and discourages those new to the site or to Perl. But a (pleasantly phrased) "RTFM type of reply with a link to the relevant site docs or Perl docs seems to me to be at least as likely to instantiate a teachable moment as almost anything we can do to help.

        a (pleasantly phrased) "RTFM type of reply with a link to the relevant site docs or Perl docs seems to me to be at least as likely to instantiate a teachable moment as almost anything we can do to help.

        You are assuming a) the OP hasn't already RTFMd; b) that if they do RTFM they will see the solution to their problem.

        With at least half, and probably more, of the questions I ask here -- not to mention wrong answers I given to others questions -- don't come down to my not knowing where to look, nor even to my not having recently re-read the appropriate section; but rather to my misinterpreting what I've read.

        If I've misunderstood the docs, re-reading them is unlikely to shake that misinterpretation. But a worked example that demonstrates it, will.


        With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
        Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
        "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
        In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

        The start of some sanity?

      Preach it, brother. See also MJD's views on the subject, from back during Perl's golden age. If you don't want this website to die like Usenet, don't act like a Usenet jerk.
        Usenet

        Ah Usenet. I remember it well.

        I went to the group for a particular api not that long ago and asked: "Does anyone here use xyz on Windows?".

        The group owner moderator replied: "Don't ask to ask, just ask!".

        I replied: "But I didn't ask to ask; I asked the question I wanted to know the answer to. If no one here uses xyz on Windows, then there is little point in my considering doing so because a) it is unlikely to work; b) I'm not going to be able to get any help getting started".

        He banned me. For arguing.


        With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
        Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
        "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
        In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

        The start of some sanity?

Re^2: Put some of the posting guidelines directly above the posting form:
by cavac (Deacon) on Dec 09, 2011 at 23:27 UTC

    ++ for a proposal that might accomplish its goal.

    Ok how about this: There are two forms for posting. The current one (with all that formatting stuff) will be the "advanced" and "reply" forms.

    Anonymous and freshly registered users get a special form for posting new questions. This form does not take formating, but has multiple text fields, labeled "your question", "code", "input data" and "expected output". While none of these except "your question" and the title are required fields (can be left blank), they probably would suggest to most users what we actually need. Then, at submitting, PM would automatically put the fields in their correct formatting.

    More experienced users, from Level (?) onward can change their settings to use the "advanced free formatting form" or something which allows all freedoms as it is now.

    Of course, editing already posted questions would still use the free format textfield, too. Just the initial form for posting a new question would be the new "smarter" form.

    Don't use '#ff0000':
    use Acme::AutoColor; my $redcolor = RED();
    All colors subject to change without notice.

      ++

      That is a good idea.

      I have noticed that the public bug submission forms of many open source projects adopt a similar approach.

      One thing, is that I don't think the advanced form should be restricted to uses above a certain level, instead just bury the option of which submit form should be used in the preferences under a slightly cryptic name, and the documentation about how to change the preference and why you would want to in the guide to the Monastery.

      Any one who reads all those fine manuals, is likely to RTFM before posting, so we don't need to force them to lay out their question in a particular style.

        I have noticed that the public bug submission forms of many open source projects adopt a similar approach.

        That's where i got the idea ;-)

        One thing, is that I don't think the advanced form should be restricted to uses above a certain level, instead just bury the option of which submit form should be used in the preferences under a slightly cryptic name,

        Which would implicitly force any Anonymous Monk to use the "guided" form, without any (technical) limitations for registered monks. I like it!

        BREW /very/strong/coffee HTTP/1.1
        Host: goodmorning.example.com
        
        418 I'm a teapot
Re^2: Put some of the posting guidelines directly above the posting form:
by Anonymous Monk on Dec 04, 2011 at 14:20 UTC

    Instead of checkboxes, a simple heuristic, EffectivnessDetective

    If not qualified as spam
    If user is below level 3 and
    title has stop words

    or

    content longer than two line, but no code tags

    Then , refuse to create node, warn the user, until code tags are added, title is fixed...

      sounds suspiciously like effort to me.
Re^2: Put some of the posting guidelines directly above the posting form:
by TJPride (Pilgrim) on Dec 04, 2011 at 15:47 UTC
    Coding a solution is in my opinion the right answer most of the time. Given, you do sometimes gets posts to the tune of "I need an entire system to do x and I have no programming experience so would you code it for me", and in those cases it's better to link them to places where they can start learning more on their own, but most people posting here are intermediate-level Perl programmers and will learn more and faster by reading through a finished solution than by being told to go look at x, y, z modules. Sometimes modules by themselves are not easy to wrap your brain around. And it just seems lazy for people who know the answer to reply with module links rather than taking the time to code a short solution to demonstrate how to interface with those modules.
      Please substantiate the two unsupported assertions you make in...
      "but most people posting here are intermediate-level Perl programmers and will learn more and faster by reading through a finished solution than by being told to go look at x, y, z modules
      and, please provide objective support for the value judgment you offer in...
      "it just seems lazy for people who know the answer to reply with module links rather than taking the time to code a short solution...."

      I can't provide any data to support my view, either, but the notion that most of the SOPW are posted by "intermediate-level Perl programmers" seems, at best, questionable. How many intermediate programmers have to post SOPW like "how do I remove a leading space" or ones that are rooted in vast ignorance of the differences among OSen? We certainly see a lot of those.

      Likewise, I lack evidence for my disbelief of your "learn more and faster" proposition, but my own view (based, obviously on far-less-than-rigorous analysis) is that too many times a complete code solution is greeted with a follow-on to the general effect of "please explain how that works" or -- worse -- "wow, thanks; that works perfectly." without any hint that OP has done anything beyond simply adopting the solution provided. For more on this, please see the discussion (the discussion, not the trolls) re BrowserUk's excellent point.

      As to your value judgement ("lazy"), it's my view that providing a reply with good teaching value (ie, with acknowledgement, for example, that a particular solution may be useless in circumstances upon which the OP is ambiguous) is often (usually?) more work than simply providing code.

        When I say lazy, I'm talking about the all-too-often habit of certain people posting "How about x, y, z modules" with no explanation of the strengths and/or weaknesses of the modules or sample code showing how to interface with them to solve the problem at hand. Any moron can search CPAN for a keyword and get a list of module names. It takes a lot more effort to actually explain why and how the suggestion actually works. And yes, some people will then post asking how that code works in turn, but most of that just seems to be legit confusion from people who don't necessarily know everything about Perl already.

        In any case, I don't have to provide a statistical analysis of thousands of posts to support my view - this is just my opinion, based off observation now and over some years when I was first here. You can agree with it or disagree.

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