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[thread split] Helpful answers vs. elitism

Discussion in 'Programming' started by S8NSSON, Aug 19, 2003.

  1. S8NSSON

    S8NSSON New Member

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    Thanx Wormbo, but I think ChainsawMonkey answered my question.

    It does apear, after reading many many posts here, that alot of you guys, rather than answering simple questions, attempt to instill a "find your own answer" mentality towards posters in a derogitaory manner (like, "you're stupid for not looking here or there").
    I do agree that some people probably do simply come here and post question without any research what so ever. But some of us do look through many posts and visit Wiki and search before coming here to "bother" you experts.
    Fact of the matter is, some of us don't have alot of time to spend rifling through page after page of previous posts, or searching and reading page after page of websites looking for, what we know is, one little step we are missing.
    Just because an answer is obvious to you, and located in an obvious place (to you), doesn't mean I didn't search my a$$ off for this information and was just not able to find it.

    Wormbo's post is actually fine, but some people have posted to me something like, "look in Mutator.u". That's great, but if I don't know "what" i'm looking for to begin with, chances are i'm going to look through Mutator.u with a blank stare for a good while and never find what I need.

    Don't get me wrong, this is a great forum, and i've seen alot of good help tossed around, but some people seem to just get hammered because they missed finding the information they were looking for and had to come here to ask.

    Remember: Some of us haven't been UTScripting since the very second UT was released. And some of us have jobs, wives, children, and households that dissallow significant focus and dedication to completely learning UTScripting and the UT engine.

    I guess i'll be hammered for this post. If I am then so be it, but lighten up on us sometimes. Some of us UTScripting newbies are trying the best we can.

    l8r,
    Keith
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2003
  2. TaoPaiPai

    TaoPaiPai Commisaire Van Loc

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    Although the people directing you toward the wiki or other ressources are actually doing it in good will it's true that it sometimes appear a little derogatory and redundant to systematically redirect people to the wiki link.
    Even if a subject is mentioned on the wiki some people might want to discuss about it here.I think most of the people posting here are aware of the wiki and can do a search by themselves.
     
  3. Mychaeel

    Mychaeel New Member

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    I hardly see anybody directing anybody else to the Wiki homepage. Virtually all links are to specific Wiki pages.

    You're welcome to discuss anything UnrealScript-related here.

    There's little point in elaborately restarting something that's already written down on a Wiki page though; it makes a lot more sense to link to the Wiki page in question (or even to the applicable section within that page, like Wormbo did). That's what the Wiki was created for after all: as a knowledge base for everybody's reference.

    You're hopefully not implying that anybody who's an "expert" here must necessarily have no job, wife, children and household.

    I haven't lately seen anybody say "You're stupid for not looking here or there." Don't read things between the lines that aren't there.

    I personally still believe that it is worth the extra effort on my part to explain a bit around the problem somebody's having (unless I just post a Wiki link, see above) and to point them into the right direction rather than just slapping down the line of code that would fix the problem.

    Even though ChainsawMonkey's posting was a direct answer to your question already, you should absolutely have a look at Wormbo's link; because next time you have a different problem you might recall that page and find your solution immediately instead of having to post here and wait for an answer.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2003
  4. Wormbo

    Wormbo Administrator Staff Member

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    Actually ChainsawMonkey's post wasn't even there when I clicked the submit button and you can easily see that when comparing the posting time of our posts. I was just too lazy to edit my post for stating the obvious. (i.e. adding something along the lines of "damn CM was faster")
    Of course a generic link wouldn't be much help, but the link I posted not only goes to the correct wiki page, but even to the correct heading on that page. Click it and you'll see.
     
  5. [SAS]Solid Snake

    [SAS]Solid Snake New Member

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    Yes I do hope that you don't think that the people here who do know a lot about Unrealscript don't have wives, jobs and so forth. I am actually a university student studying health sciences (Pharmacology) which has absolutely nothing to do with computers. Why I am a little brash or hasty at times is because some people DO NOT attempt what they ask at all. They simply want a quick solution which is not beneficial to them and certainly just a waste of our time in the end simply because of the possible complexity of the problem. I also participate in an overclocking forum, when we receive questions like "How do I overclock my CPU" as a title AND as the question, we simply do not reply or post a link. Although to someone who doesn't understand overclocking that it may be a simple question to us who do understand it, it is a complicated question to answers due to all the factors that are involved.

    Maybe I'm just mean. I don't know...
     
  6. Euphoric Beaver

    Euphoric Beaver impeccably groomed

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    I was actually going to write a rant on the Wiki about this mentality.
    Firstly I've never had such problems in this forum, all the help I've received have been specifically helpful. Good work guys. :tup:
    However certain individuals in the irc channel have an extremely arrogant attitude to those with a lack of knowledge.
    I've seen people literally laughed out of the room for not understanding rotators and such replies as "check weapon.uc" aren't particulary helpful unless we know what were looking for first, in which case we would have checked it initially and wouldn't of needed help. :hmm:

    If you feel somebody isn't worth replying to then don't, but don't take it out on the others who genuinely want to learn. I feel like I'm preaching to the quire here since you've all been very helpful when I've asked a question. :)
     
  7. Mychaeel

    Mychaeel New Member

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    Thread split off from this thread.

    There's no "official affiliation" between this forum and any IRC channel I'm aware of.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2003
  8. Doc_EDo

    Doc_EDo LEFT

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    I have to say that some answers I got were quite lame.
    Before, when I asked about a specific problem ppl would post a peace of code and expain a bit of it. Nowadays it's mostly wiki links or no replys.
    what happened to expaining things? Wiki pages are good to an extent but if I'm asking a specific question wiki pages usually answer only a part of it. That's why posting a wiki link (though partially helpfull) may look arogant and leetist.
     
  9. Mychaeel

    Mychaeel New Member

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    If somebody posts a Wiki link that's because that person believes that the question is adequately answered on that page.

    Perhaps a Wiki page covers a bit more than just the very question at hand, or maybe it requires a very small bit of transfer to apply the solution given there on that question (such simple things as renaming a variable or typecasting a term or the like; or as applying a slightly generalized concept like typecasting on one's specific problem).

    These things are fundamentals that I naturally expect anybody posting here to be able and willing to do, even those with a job, wife, children and household. They do not require any deep knowledge somebody might not possess; just the ability and willingness to apply a little logical thought to a subject instead of copy-and-pasting a ready solution.

    This forum is not a paid helpdesk, and I do not feel inclined to write somebody else's mod for them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2003
  10. Doc_EDo

    Doc_EDo LEFT

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    What are you talking about? What's wrong in posting some code to help ppl? It takes a lot of time to solve some problems, and if there is a code available in some mod that has already been released, why not share it so ppl can save time? YES, this forum has changed, and it looks like you're becomming one of those influenced by the stupid MSU contest. :eek:
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2003
  11. EvilDrWong

    EvilDrWong Every line of code elevates you

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    While the wiki is useful, its considered by many to be the only semi-official UScript Manual, thus a post with only a link to a wiki page is in essence just like saying "RTFM." (Which i think is generally accepted as rude conduct.) Now maybe the person is a total noob, is it too much for them to ask a question like "I still dont understand what Typecasting means, how does it work" even after theyve read the wiki page on it? I personally think not, as the wiki comes of in most cases as a very lifeless technical readout: A list of variables and functions, the comments theyve been given, and a couple people discussing obscure topics relating to the class. While there are indeed people for whom a wiki link will suffice, its not always enough. I agree, its not your place to write peoples mods, and its not their place to ask. But ive seen, on more than one occasion, where the person in question has taken a bit of flak for honestly not understanding the matter at hand and asked for more information. Of course, I could be seeing it from a different perspective than you or whoever may, but ive noticed that the coding 'community' as a whole has in more ways than one become very unfriendly towards newcomers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2003
  12. Mychaeel

    Mychaeel New Member

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    "Give a man a piece of code, and you'll solve his problem for a day. Teach him how to create code, and you help him for a lifetime."

    Oh please.

    Firstly, this discussion is not about me.

    Secondly, I don't only have a history of releasing my Unreal-engine mods and components complete with their source code, I am also an outspoken advocate of keeping it that way in order to help other people (scan the forum archives).
     
  13. Mr Evi1

    Mr Evi1 New Member

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    I agree with S8NSSON. I know that a thousand noobs asking the same question a thousand times each gets a little annoying, but it is still worth giving a polite answer that is as helpful as possible. There may not be outright rudeness, but reading the replies to some of the questions here gives me the impression that those replying are looking down on the poster for asking such a simple question.

    It doesn't matter how stupid the question is or how many times it has been answered before, or if the answer can already be found one post up, it is always worth being polite, which is why I think there should be a 'How to answer questions the polite way' post in addition to the 'How to ask questions the smart way' post, which I would write but I'm not that good at answering questions myself...
     
  14. Mychaeel

    Mychaeel New Member

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    I don't think the poster is responsible for a reader's interpretation of the poster's motives.

    The Wiki page about typecasting (to stick with this example) represents several people's best efforts to explain the technique and applications of typecasting. If after reading this page somebody still doesn't know what typecasting is, I have no idea how to explain it any better than it is done on the Wiki already.


    If you see it that way, feel free to change it.

    The very point of a wiki (any wiki, not just the Unreal Wiki) is that it is not something provided by one closed group for another group; it's something everybody can add to, without even having to go through the trouble of signing up somewhere. So, even more justified than anywhere else, the natural response to "I don't like it" is "Then change it!" as far as a wiki is concerned.
     
  15. EvilDrWong

    EvilDrWong Every line of code elevates you

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    Perchance the problem wouldnt arise if the post didnt appear to be laced with passive-agressive hostility?

    That may not be the point, but that is how the Unreal Wiki has been since the start. It might not want to be 'for programmers, by programmers,' but it is. No amount of editting can take that vibe away from it.
     
  16. Mychaeel

    Mychaeel New Member

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    What kind of "passive-agressive hostility" could possibly be conveyed in a mere link that's presented without further comment because it doesn't need one?

    Obviously the way such a posting is perceived is entirely within the reader's interpretation. My personal philosophy is to know what I don't know, so if somebody doesn't make an explicitly aggressive statement, I know that this may mean anything or nothing; most likely the latter.

    However, being somebody who frequently posts links in reply to common questions, I'm open for suggestions. Would a routinely added smiley help to convince people that I'm not "looking down on them" by posting a Wiki link?

    I feel somewhat partly responsible for that.

    Actually, when I started into UnrealScript coding about two years ago (as opposed to "in the very second Unreal Tournament was released, see above), the first thing that really appalled me was the utter lack of anything even resembling a simple technical reference as it is quite common for any other programming language I had previously worked with. So, being a coder, I started to add just that to the Unreal Wiki when it came to be so that others wouldn't suffer the same lack. (That's not to say that I'm personally responsible for the majority of class reference pages, of course; most of them are other people's work by now.)

    Nevertheless, that's only what I did. Other people have added lots of mapping- and modeling-related topics in addition to many others that are entirely unrelated to UnrealScript coding (as far as anything done with the Unreal engine can be unrelated to UnrealScript).

    Category Mapping and Category Modeling list almost as many pages as a search for Category Class, and that's not taking into account that many UnrealScript classes have several separate pages relating to different engine versions.

    If the Unreal Wiki is really publicy perceived as "For programmers, by programmers," I dare say that's a prejudice that's not actually justified.
     
  17. EvilDrWong

    EvilDrWong Every line of code elevates you

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    Sarcasm aside, SOMETHING other than a solitary link is better than just the link. I believe the original argument that sparked this thread is that such brief answers make it seem as if the person is asking a question so unbelievably stupid that it barely warrants an answer. I know that youre a strong believer in learning by experience but honestly, is it too much to ask for at least a sentence or two to help guide the person to the goal theyre trying to reach?
    And if that doesnt work, ill set the forums on fire and we can all forget this whole mess ;)
     
  18. jb

    jb New Member

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    My $0.02 worth?

    I think alot of it has to do with the poster and the way the poster presents his/her question has a lot to do with replies. For example (and this is just an example please dont try to name folks) if some one comes across as a bit rude in his/her style or gives us the impression that they did not try to solve the problem then I would be less likely to reply (note that I reply that often hear anyways). But if the poster explains what he has tried then I would feel more like helping him out if I could...
     
  19. Mychaeel

    Mychaeel New Member

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    I wasn't being sarcastic.

    That's the reader's interpretation, and given the actual situation it's pretty much unjustified.

    What one actually can take from the given situation is that this problem (even though the poster might have spent several frustrating hours already trying to find a solution to no avail) is, in fact, sufficiently common to have a to-the-point solution ready on a popular documentation site.

    Perhaps that is what some people take offense at: The obvious fact that they have been spending lots of time to no avail whereas it takes somebody else only seconds to point them to the solution; and the fact that everybody reading the thread can plainly see that; so it boils down to a certain degree of embarrassment on the thread starter's part over those circumstances. That's not the reply poster's "fault" though; nor is it the thread starter's, for that matter.

    Again, my personal philosophy is that no effort can possibly be wasted if one has learned something in the process (even if it is not what one wanted to learn in the first place); and spending hours searching for a solution for something is very likely to teach somebody a lot of things (just perhaps not the very thing they were looking for).

    When I post Wiki links they're frequently wrapped in a friendly sentence like "Have a look at <link>" or "You should try this-or-that; see <link> for details." Occasionally I don't, especially when there's simply nothing to be said in addition to what's written on the linked page. I just hope that people don't overinterpret the lack of mere smalltalk in my replies.
     
  20. S8NSSON

    S8NSSON New Member

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    I've really enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts and opinions here.

    I have been a programmer for more than 15 years (most of that time as the sole programmer for various companies), and have had to dig, tear, and forage for the answers I have sought. I do have a strong discipline of attempting to find the answers myself before asking others. It's just, for me, at 40 years old, I have the desire to know, but I don't the time to dedicate. I understand that to be a truely great utscriptor you should really know the engine, the classes, and what thier capabilities, quirks, strengths, and weaknesses are, like any programming language. That being said, when I come here to seek answers it is due to a factor of failed research and time. At my job I have spent days, weeks, even months researching and solving just one problem. I don't have that luxury with a hobby.

    I think, especially in a case where someone says "I'm new to UTScripting", maybe a "Welcome to UTScripting. Your answer can best be explained here: http://www.here'syouranswer.com If that doesn't help come back here and we'll see what we can do". Sure it's a few more words than just a link, but it's like open arms making you feel welcome. A possitive feeling from the community you are venturing into can do wonders for you confidence, and would take away the panic of not being able to find your answers because you know you have friends that will ultimately assist you should the need arise. NOW...that's not to say that some people wouldn't abuse this mannerism and philosophy, afterall the world is not a perfect place. But for those that do want to truely "learn", open arms make the experience that much grander.

    This is a great statement:
    "Give a man a piece of code, and you'll solve his problem for a day. Teach him how to create code, and you help him for a lifetime."

    Just so everyone knows a bit about me (i guess):
    I am a mod coleader (mvpb.com). I am a modeler, skinner, animator, mapper, and hopefully a utscriptor soon. I've been a gamer since the Quake1 & Descent1 BBS days in atLANta hopping from lan party to lan party every weekend. Although i've been a programmer for many years, i've just never applied programming to gaming. Being a mod coleader, and having to manage a team of coders, I felt it necessary to learn a little about what they do in order to be able to properly manage them.

    Sorry if my original post offended anyone. I didn't mean to start a war or anything.

    l8r,
    Keith
     

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