What is your process for help/research?

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2

16 Replies - 2188 Views - Last Post: 08 April 2011 - 04:28 PM

Poll: What is your process for help/research? (26 member(s) have cast votes)

What's your process?

  1. Try, MSDN(Online platform docs), Google, post question (11 votes [42.31%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 42.31%

  2. First read MSDN(Online platform docs), then try, google, post question (7 votes [26.92%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 26.92%

  3. Google first for code, then try, then post question (7 votes [26.92%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 26.92%

  4. Who tries? I just ask for the answer right off. (1 votes [3.85%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 3.85%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

  • Please show what you have already tried when asking a question.
  • member icon

Reputation: 5417
  • View blog
  • Posts: 11,608
  • Joined: 02-June 10

What is your process for help/research?

Posted 28 February 2011 - 10:00 AM

This started {inappropriately} in a thread asking for help. My bad, sorry.

But it got me thinking. And wondering. What process do you use when you get stuck on something or are trying something new.

For me:
  • I try/experiment following the standard way something similar is done in C# or the .NET framwork.
  • If that fails, I try some common sense variations.
  • If that fails I resort to RTFM and look it up on MSDN.
  • If that fails I Google like all get out.
  • If that fails, then I figure I won't totally embarrass myself by posting a question for others.

This post has been edited by tlhIn`toq: 28 February 2011 - 04:50 PM


Is This A Good Question/Topic? 0
  • +

Replies To: What is your process for help/research?

#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

  • Self-Trained Economist
  • member icon




Reputation: 10341
  • View blog
  • Posts: 38,266
  • Joined: 27-December 08

Re: What is your process for help/research?

Posted 28 February 2011 - 10:03 AM

I'm about the same. I'll try things, reading the docs and doing my research upfront (I do a lot of data structures and theory work on my own time where research helps a lot). After I got the hang of programming early on, I've been pretty good about debugging my code, so I haven't had to post for help often.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#3 CodingSup3rnatur@l-360  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Addict
  • member icon

Reputation: 984
  • View blog
  • Posts: 970
  • Joined: 30-September 10

Re: What is your process for help/research?

Posted 28 February 2011 - 10:21 AM

I am pretty much the same too.

Asking for help on a forum is generally my absolute last resort. I very rarely have the need to ask for help directly on a forum. When I do though, I find it is usually a really peculiar or strange problem in my code that I just cannot figure out by myself no matter what I do. The sort of bizarre and quirky problems you don't encounter very often...

I don't know if it's partly an arrogance thing (although I don't consider myself to be arrogant :)), but I would much rather do everything in my power to sort the problem out myself. Asking for help on a forum is like admitting defeat for me, waving the white flag...

There are very few problems that cannot be solved very quickly with simple research and/or debugging. That's just FACT! With all the documentation, forums, tutorials and other people (of whom will likely have experienced the same problem before), there is simply no excuse in my opinion.

Plus, my first thought actually when I am contemplating posting on any forum is, 'on a scale of 1 to 10, how much of a dick will I make of myself by posting this question for the whole world to see?' :)

This post has been edited by CodingSup3rnatur@l-360: 28 February 2011 - 10:31 AM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#4 hookiethe1  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Lover

Reputation: 416
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,335
  • Joined: 28-September 10

Re: What is your process for help/research?

Posted 28 February 2011 - 11:30 AM

I usually start on google before MSDN, although google usually gets me there pretty quick. I don't post questions until I'm pretty satisfied that google can't help me.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#5 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

  • I'm a cheeseburger
  • member icon


Reputation: 2527
  • View blog
  • Posts: 4,629
  • Joined: 24-September 10

Re: What is your process for help/research?

Posted 28 February 2011 - 02:57 PM

Well I selected option two (start at MSDN)... though it's not always MSDN. Personally I took that to mean "language reference" or something like that (say I'm writing in python, AS3, PHP, C++ (as opposed to visual C++), or some other non MSDN language).

I usually go step by step until I've solved my problem:

1) Consider possible methods of attack and what types/methods I might want to consider.

2) if i lack info about those types/methods, check reference material for those types/methods.

3) if that reference contains a discussion/example search as well, look through that (like MSDN offers)

4) Check out any books I might have in reach (on my desk or in my bag)

5) check google refining my search based off any data I collected from reference materials

6) Check out any books I might have on the bookshelf (further walk, so I do a google before this)

7) again google refining my search even more, probably do some tangential research based on data I collected so far.

8) go to my favourite forum related to the topic and ask the question

9) put the task at the side for the time being.

10) come back later on and see if I received a response. If I have return back to step 1 based off this new data. If no response go directly to googling and MSDN.



Oh and don't forget to sprinkle procrastination all over the place in there. This method usually directs me towards topics kind of related to the topic, that will send me down tangential paths of research. Most heavily my second googling round, because I'm getting tired of researching the same thing with no luck (hence why I highlighted this act in step 7).

Oh and if all else fails after days of trying, I might add to my library with a book covering the subject I'm having issues with.

This post has been edited by lordofduct: 28 February 2011 - 03:04 PM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#6 AdamSpeight2008  Icon User is offline

  • MrCupOfT
  • member icon


Reputation: 2233
  • View blog
  • Posts: 9,401
  • Joined: 29-May 08

Re: What is your process for help/research?

Posted 28 February 2011 - 03:39 PM

  • Define what the problem actually is?
    - What it isn't?
    - I know its something in this area?

  • Review of my understanding of problem domain?
    Has problem arisen due to a misunderstanding of the domain.
    - Reread the documentation on the subject/domain.
    - Google Search
    - Library Search

  • Ask other people. (Expert Finding)
    - They may also not know, but may know who does.
    - Ask in the most appropriate forum (Definition: public meeting or assembly for open discussion) for that domain.
    No point asking Coding Problems in a Cake Making Forum.
    - Forums, EMail, Groups, Telephone and even Mail.

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#7 Curtis Rutland  Icon User is online

  • (╯□)╯︵ (~ .o.)~
  • member icon


Reputation: 4408
  • View blog
  • Posts: 7,653
  • Joined: 08-June 10

Re: What is your process for help/research?

Posted 28 February 2011 - 03:56 PM

I'd change the "MSDN" to online documentation so that this would be more applicable to others not into .NET, but aside from that, good poll.

Quote

I don't know if it's partly an arrogance thing (although I don't consider myself to be arrogant ), but I would much rather do everything in my power to sort the problem out myself. Asking for help on a forum is like admitting defeat for me, waving the white flag...


My attitude exactly. Going to the forums is saying "I honestly can't figure this out. I've tried pretty much everything I could, searched until I couldn't think of any other search terms, and still found nothing. I'm not even sure this can be done. Anyone got any ideas?"

I know where this question comes from. Some people seem afraid to try anything, like if they enter invalid code their computer might explode. I've learned more from actually trying stuff out, using IntelliSense and breakpoints (and now IntelliTrace) than I could possibly have just by googling for examples and asking for answers on the forums.

When I need to use an object, the first thing I do is put a dot after it to see all it's properties, fields, and methods. I want to see if any are interesting, if any don't make sense, if any might be useful later, etc...

Others don't seem to share this desire. I think this is the average forum-asker's flow:

Posted Image
Was This Post Helpful? 4
  • +
  • -

#8 AdamSpeight2008  Icon User is offline

  • MrCupOfT
  • member icon


Reputation: 2233
  • View blog
  • Posts: 9,401
  • Joined: 29-May 08

Re: What is your process for help/research?

Posted 28 February 2011 - 04:02 PM

Programming exposes you to your own failings.

Some people don't want to deal with that, or admit it.

This post has been edited by AdamSpeight2008: 28 February 2011 - 04:03 PM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#9 ForcedSterilizationsForAll  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Addict

Reputation: 33
  • View blog
  • Posts: 506
  • Joined: 16-July 09

Re: What is your process for help/research?

Posted 01 March 2011 - 11:35 AM

While Googling your answer, how many of you have come across the exact same problem from a forum posting only to have them respond with "nevermind, I figured it out" and have to spend longer looking for your answer?
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#10 raziel_  Icon User is offline

  • Like a lollipop
  • member icon

Reputation: 464
  • View blog
  • Posts: 4,255
  • Joined: 25-March 09

Re: What is your process for help/research?

Posted 16 March 2011 - 04:50 AM

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 28 February 2011 - 07:00 PM, said:

This started {inappropriately} in a thread asking for help. My bad, sorry.

But it got me thinking. And wondering. What process do you use when you get stuck on something or are trying something new.

For me:
  • I try/experiment following the standard way something similar is done in C# or the .NET framwork.
  • If that fails, I try some common sense variations.
  • If that fails I resort to RTFM and look it up on MSDN.
  • If that fails I Google like all get out.
  • If that fails, then I figure I won't totally embarrass myself by posting a question for others.


Mine is almost the same but i avoid MSDN. I dont know maybe its me but i find their examples not so clear. The only thing why i use MSDN is to read the functions of some class to find what i want.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#11 nvts8a  Icon User is offline

  • New D.I.C Head

Reputation: 6
  • View blog
  • Posts: 16
  • Joined: 31-January 11

Re: What is your process for help/research?

Posted 16 March 2011 - 11:44 AM

This is a little case specific.

Depending on what I'm developing in will determine the order I find help. If it's awful IBM Software using awful deprecated ESQL (this frustrates me just typing it) I will normal start at the awful IBM RedBook/Info Center (sounds crazy when I say it out loud).

If it's a known Java solution that I just need a starting point for, I'll Google it.

If it's a lost method in a deep, dark corner of an old library I'll start by trying it out... breaking it... then asking for help.

It's all environmental.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#12 no2pencil  Icon User is online

  • Dic Head
  • member icon

Reputation: 5159
  • View blog
  • Posts: 26,767
  • Joined: 10-May 07

Re: What is your process for help/research?

Posted 16 March 2011 - 12:14 PM

The MSDN offers little help for what I do, but all that aside my process is relatively simple :

1.) RTFM
2.) Read Logs, reattempt
3.) Google
4.) Repeat 1 through 3
5.) Post
Was This Post Helpful? 1
  • +
  • -

#13 NeoTifa  Icon User is offline

  • Whorediot
  • member icon





Reputation: 2578
  • View blog
  • Posts: 15,582
  • Joined: 24-September 08

Re: What is your process for help/research?

Posted 16 March 2011 - 12:25 PM

I just get on dreamincode.net and be all like "gimme t3h c0d3z lolololololololol"
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#14 hookiethe1  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Lover

Reputation: 416
  • View blog
  • Posts: 1,335
  • Joined: 28-September 10

Re: What is your process for help/research?

Posted 16 March 2011 - 12:58 PM

View PostForcedSterilizationsForAll, on 01 March 2011 - 11:35 AM, said:

While Googling your answer, how many of you have come across the exact same problem from a forum posting only to have them respond with "nevermind, I figured it out" and have to spend longer looking for your answer?


Oh the frustration! In the rare case that I post a help request in a forum, I always try to come back and provide the answer wherever applicable.
Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

#15 Theomi  Icon User is offline

  • D.I.C Head
  • member icon

Reputation: 9
  • View blog
  • Posts: 88
  • Joined: 17-January 10

Re: What is your process for help/research?

Posted 19 March 2011 - 07:29 PM

I voted Try, MSDN(Online platform docs), Google, post question and that usually sums it up for me....

If all other fails i start up skype or messeger and ask a friend for help...

This post has been edited by Theomi: 19 March 2011 - 07:32 PM

Was This Post Helpful? 0
  • +
  • -

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2