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Why I sometimes avoid getting involved with new members. (depending on their question)

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We commonly get people asking about how to hack other people's software.
We tell them we don't do that, don't help with that, etc. then lock the thread. That's just how it goes.

Then someone like this just has to go and spoil it for the rest of the new students:
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The funny thing is, I was more offended by the SMS speak than all the profanity. <laugh>
I guess this kid thinks that since swearing is new to him that the rest of us think it makes him a big man.
I guess he's never been in a bar with a bunch of solders. :tank:
Or in an Australian pub: Now THAT'S swearing. :cowboy:

So let me just say, I make a point of trying to help rookies... especially if they are students who obviously are making an effort to learn the craft of programming. I wouldn't be making articles aimed right at how to better set up homework, or tutorials for better coding practice if I wasn't interested in helping students.

But if you can't take the type to at least type your insults like a big boy with full sentences, punctuation and so on... Then please go back to class as recess in the sandbox is over. Nobody here wants to see you type like a 12 year old girl on a cell phone.

Some of my common tips (some may apply more than others to your specific style):
  • You have to program as if everything breaks, nothing works, the cyberworld is not perfect, the attached hardware is flakey, the network is slow and unreliable, the harddrive is about to fail, every method will return an error and every user will do their best to break your software. Confirm everything. Range check every value. Make no assumptions or presumptions.

  • Take the extra 3 seconds to rename your controls each time you drag them onto a form. The default names of button1, button2... button54 aren't very helpful. If you rename them right away to something like btnOk, btnCancel, btnSend etc. it helps tremendously when you make the methods for them because they are named after the button by the designer.btnSend_Click(object sender, eventargs e) is a lot easier to maintain than button1_click(object sender, eventargs e)

  • You aren't paying for variable names by the byte. So instead of variables names of a, b, c go ahead and use meaningful names like index, timeOut, row, column and so on. You should avoid 'T' for the timer. Amongst other things 'T' is commonly used throughout C# for Type and this will lead to problems. There are naming guidelines you should follow so your code confirms to industry standards. It makes life much easier on everyone around you, including those of us here to help. If you start using the standards from the beginning you don't have to retrain yourself later.
    You might want to look at some of the naming guidelines. Its a lot easier to start with good habits than to break bad habits later and re-learn.

  • Try to avoid having work actually take place in GUI control event handlers. It is usually better to have the GUI handler call other methods so those methods can be reused and make the code more readible.

  • Don't replace lines of code that don't work. Instead comment them out and put your new attemps below that. This will keep you from re-trying the same ideas over and over. Also, when you come back to us saying "I've tried this 100 different ways and still can't get it", we can actually see what you tried. So often a failed attempt is very very close and just needs a little nudge in the right direction. So if we can say "See what you did in attempt 3... blah blah" it helps a lot


    If you are using Visual Studio you can select a block of lines and hit control+k control+c (Kode Comment) to comment it out. control+k control+u (Kode Uncomment) to uncomment a selected block.

  • I strongly suggest installing VMware or some other virtualization technology on your development PC so you can create a couple virtual computers for testing. This would allow you to debug and test inside: WinXP32, XP64, Vista, Win7x32, Win7x64... etc. without having to actually have 5 physical PC's. Visual Studio will let you send the debug directly into one of these virtual machines so you can watch it operate, check its variables, see the crashes and so on just as if it were debugging on your real machine.

  • This can't be stressed enough in today's world of cell phone messaging:
    Don't use txt/sms/leet/T9 speak like: u no, u r, dnt, wut i m do-n, coz, al gud, b4, ny1, and so on like this guy:

    dis not b d'hood dawg... You are sitting at a real keyboard with a real monitor, not a cell phone. You are not here texting your high school posse to come to your kegger after their shift at Taco Bell. You are here asking for help from senior coding professionals who graciously donate their valuable time to helping the next generation of coders with their chosen craft. Please try to show them, yourself and the industry some respect by writing at least at an eighth grade level. (IE: English not ebonics or SMS, real words, punctuation and so on). If you can't take your own problem/question seriously enough to write like an adult, then why would you expect anyone else to take it seriously?

    When you write a post you are presenting yourself. Your writing style is all you have to show others who you are and what you stand for. When I see posts filled with lack of capitalization, SMS text like 'Urself', lack of punctuation and so on; what I see is someone who just doesn't care to make even an eighth grade presentation of themselves. I also see that you feel we are not worth the effort. Posts that look like this show that you don't feel the person you are talking to is worth speaking to as an adult. If you show this level of contempt or apathy towards someone you are asking for help how can you expect to be taken seriously or expect to receive that expert's fullest attention and time to help you?

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4 Comments On This Entry

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Sergio Tapia 

05 April 2012 - 04:32 PM
Some people are just assholes and entitled. You help a lot of users around here including myself, so don't get discouraged just because a 12 year old lashed out when he was trying to "maek mmo in php".


06 April 2012 - 07:06 AM
I'm not down about it. Or mad even. I just wanted an article to link to the next time someone accuses any of us about not being interested in helping rookies.

Curtis Rutland 

18 April 2012 - 09:00 PM
I hadn't seen this when it was new, so sorry for digging it up, but I feel like sharing.

I've been getting involved in the "simple" problems less and less lately, because it rarely feels worth the effort. The big problem is that people expect us to be able to replace months of instructor-led education that they ignored in a few posts. That's just not going to happen. These people are sometimes so far off that it's a waste of time to even try. I can try to explain that code in class X doesn't have access directly to form Y, but if you never learned about classes, it's going to be pointless.

Most of the reason I've been posting less is because of my job. A year-long project is drawing to an end this month. We're deploying on the 30th. So, naturally, I've been incredibly busy. But even during my down time, I find it harder and harder to get involved in threads like I used to. So I'm glad that you still do, because I trust you and the people like you to deal with them. I step into the threads I really feel I can make a difference in, and it's made my experience better overall.


18 April 2012 - 09:23 PM
Work is crazy for me too. So I'm not writing tutorials as fast as I would like. That's sort of why I started the blog for things like common homework questions and so on. I'd rather write one decent article than give the same half-assed answer to 20 new students at the start of every semester.

It may not be as warm and fuzzy as taking the little kiddies by the hand each and every time. But we're not hear to boost their egos. I like to help teach and put someone on the right path to learn. If they don't want to learn, or make an actual effort... well, what can you do?
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