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Maybe time to step away - Teach a man to fish

Posted by lespauled, 01 August 2013 · 1823 views

step away
I think the time has come for me to start stepping away from codecall. Although I truly enjoy helping people that put in the effort to help themselves, that paradigm has seemed to be lost in the younger developers of the forum.

When I first started here it was an absolute pleasure to help people that put in the time and effort to fix the problem themselves but just hit a wall and were unable to get the final part of their puzzle. Over the past six months, the individual effort has been lost, and the "feed me the answer" people have overtaken this forum.

Normally I would respond with a means to getting your answer from a website like MSDN or other programming sites. I would also tell the person that being a programmer means hunting down the answers you require by yourself and not constantly and incessantly posting questions for every last little bit of your project. You have to put in the effort yourself and if you get stuck that's when you post the question. It's like the "teach a man to fish" scenario.

I have been a programmer for far too many years. I am the manager of the programming department. Every one of my program is becomes family, the reason being that I find programmers of similar ilk. Every programmer on my team has the inner drive to find the answers themselves. They ask questions when they are truly stuck. Every one of them is self-sufficient. That is what's needed to be a true team player. Some programmers are stronger than others in certain areas of programming and other programmers are strongest in a different area. Each feeds off of each other and the whole team becomes stronger and tightly knit.

I fully believe that not everyone who wants to be a programmer has the ability or the drive to be a programmer. It's similar to not everyone who loves playing baseball can be a major-league baseball player. The drive that I speak of is missing and 99% of the younger developers. It seems like they want everything handed to them, "give me the answers." Unfortunately that paradigm doesn't work. When you spend no time looking for the answer yourself and ask someone to hand you the answer, you are less likely to retain that knowledge. When you work for an answer but are stuck and then ask the question, and someone answers it you will retain that knowledge.

So handing answers to these new programmers actually handicaps them. I have always been a person who says help the person help themselves, especially in programming. But unfortunately the new programmers seem to not want to help themselves they just want the answers to their current problem immediately. I find myself torn between just giving them the answer and not helping them, or not answering the question at all. Part of me says why not just give them the answers? What do I care if they become good program is or not. If they don't become good programs me and my family will never be out of a job.

Since it is against everything that I stand for, I believe I have to step away and not hand feed answers to these new programmers.

There is also this line in the code of conduct, that I disagree with.

A conduct reminder for everyone

...
Therefore, directing them to Google, or telling them to read tutorials is unhelpful unless you can point them specifically to what they need to learn about.
...


I disagree with this based on a post I made to a person who was asking about a very narrow topic in programming. I pointed him to a website that specialized in that topic. He cried that I shouldn't be pointing people away from CodeCall. I responded that of course you can post your question here, and hope that someone has the expertise in that very narrow field, or you would post on the board specializing in that field and possibly get an answer in minutes. It's a no-brainer to me, but obviously our brains don't interpret things the same way.

And finally, and possibly the last straw, is the belligerent demeanor of new programmers when you actually try to help them. They almost demand the answer, instead of you helping them to find the answer. There is one member that has over 450 posts. Every single one of them is either a question, his reassurance that he knows how to do something, or a demand for the answer. Why would anyone help this person. He's a taker and has never given an answer, nor has said thank you for any answers given to him. I find my blood pressure raise when I see some of his questions. There is zero effort on his part. Zero.

There are some really great people here. Some of which have cut back on their participation, probably due to real life getting in the way. They were the reason that I continued to come back multiple times daily.
I will still check in from time to time, but I will not be as active a member as I have been in the past.

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I have to say, I almost completly agree with you.

This is a reason why when I have less free time, codecall is one of the first thing that I leave.

 

I said I almost completly agree with you, the only point that I'm not 100% with you is the external link.

It may help the programmer, but if in 6months from now, someone else have the same problem and find your post, maybe the external link have changed, or the website doesn't exist anymore.

So a external link is great, but a small text with the link is a lot better.

 

... And I'm pretty sure I know the user you are talking about, there is even some that are always contacting me in private for answer :/

Me too, it make me mad to see thing like that.

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Sorry to hear that you guys both feel like that. When I read something like this, I am thinking: what can we do differently to help make this better? Is there something we can post for new users to read? Should we moderate more aggressively?

Would it be helpful to give senior members some "warning" or "moderation" features?

I also saw on another platform that they have features like "ignore user" and "sink topic". "Ignore user" will hide all posts from that user when you read the forum. "Sink topic" will push down escalating topics so that it doesn't stay at the top of the topic stack. Both are cool feature.. but would they help?
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I always thought the point system was great.  It worked 2 fold:  it created an atmosphere where you were recognized for your answers, as well as some friendly competition.  Greg used to beat me every month. :)  It also showed new users which members are the highest rated for that month at helping others.

 

I really think the moderation needs to be more aggressive.  Newer members are belligerent at times and don't want to know the way things really are in the programming world.  I mentioned an ignore user option a while ago.  Unfortunately, I think I would be ignoring too many new users with attitudes.  It's probably better that I just visit periodically.

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Point system? You mean the like and displaying reputation points? 

 

As for moderation, I am working on that lately after taking some time off. I am not sure why, but the current moderators are very nice to members who are belligerent. When I see something wrong, especially if they're new, they're gone in two clicks. I have zero tolerance for such behaviors. Unfortunately, I sometimes have zero-time for moderation. :)

 

Instead of ignoring, I encourage you to report such behaviors for the mods to handle. If we have all the senior members helping us by reporting bad behavior, it would really help w/ the moderation, since we won't need to read the 150+ posts that are generated every day. We currently only have 2-3 members who are reporting spam, wrong category, abuse, etc.. If more people could help, that would really be beneficial for us mods/admins.

 

Re: the member with 400+ posts... I think I figured out who he is. Based on his login IPs (over 100+), he's probably a shared account at some company or something, where they're using the account just to ask codecall for free answers. That's why the account never follow up with anything, or thank anyone... they're just abusing the system. And with 2 clicks, he's banned. Thanks for pointing that out to me!

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I think it was a count of the number of likes a user got for the past 30 days, or something like that.

 

Great job banning that idiot, or those idiots in this case.  I would love for you to check other users for the same issue.  I bet there are a couple more.

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Let me take a look to see where that plugin was. I think it was causing some perf issues, but worth revisiting.

 

As for members who need to be check, it's much better if you all report them so that the mods can discuss, reach out and try to guide them to be good forum-dwellers. This being a forum, it's easy for members to just hop on and ask questions, so we can't just pick them off or we won't have any members left! :)

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Hey less, you can count me in among the people who will miss you, you are always a good read for everyone in here.

 

I totally agree with the required drive and direction to become a proficient coder, It's also something difficult to either teach or preach nowadays since we are in the times of  the culture of "get the trick, get the shortcut". It's not easy to do the jump from one to the other, and not everyone has the clarity to make the switch. Still, there's always the ones who really can take advantage of your guidance, that's the ones that matters when you make your all in all balance, contribution to the world is not measured in failures but in successes , and even if they are small they count ;)

 

See you Les, hope everything goes alright for you

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Hellow Les, I would have to agree with you - it is very interesting how modern times and the internet being so easy to reach has done for things, well or bad. It seems people are really looking to programming for doing a task or making something like someone else has made, but things are too complex now-a-days. I remember seeing movies where people'd read a program in a magazine (the stereotypical sister or clueless husband who can't work a VCR) and enter it in to their Commodore 64, and be able to calculate something tax-wise ... set a reminder for something, communicate with someone many miles away. Amazing.

 

Now, you've got such insanely complex programs on top of an insanely complex operating system ... I find the reliability of computers is going far down (My friend's pricy Dell XPS with W8 crashes!) .. and people looking for a quick solution are overwhelmed by needing web servers, database management, who knows which can be very useful tools - or very overwhelming startings.

 

I remember a wankword often used to describe whom you speak of: "Help Vampires"... I think an agressive (think "active") approach to weeding out the fuzz is a valid path. I know we are probably one of the most welcome forums out there, with a helpful staff and senior members (even new guys love to help out when they can, good on them!) but sometimes it is just impossible for us to help out at times. It is a pleasure when people post classic problems or want a poke in the right direction, advice from someone that can't be found on the web because it is unwritten until you do so, the kind of questions that brought me here in the first place.

 

May you find yourself our way again in your own time. I myself, return.

 

Alexander.

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Feeling unappreciated ? Loosing time to post some information and nobody says a simple thank you ? Wait, it can get much worse. Your posts might be downvoted by clueless idiots and the moderators might not give a ** about that. Even if you report it.

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I still stop by from time to time, maybe hoping that things have changed a little, and maybe I'll start coming back.  Well, it seems things have changed, but not for the better.  I read this thread today (http://forum.codecal...c/76733-arrays/) and message #10 made me realize why I left out of frustration.  But the next message in the thread, #11, made me cringe.

 

I would think that those 2 people should be severely warned, suspended, if not banned.  If a "programmer" asks someone to write the code for him/her, they are not a programmer.  The person willing to write the entire code is just as much to blame, if not more so.

 

So, I will probably still peek my head in from time to time, but it's getting less and less frequent.  I miss some of the members, especially the ones that were around when I first joined and there was a real code of conduct.  One that didn't need to be spelled out for all to read.  it was intrinsic to us.

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