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Patrick wrote:
"Cynthia was not being rude, just asked a question: mixing Lua and C when you're starting off is definitely starting at the deep end of the pool"
I feel really bad for the rude comments directed at Cynthia and this is what prompted my thread-starting post but in fact this is the most polite list I have ever joined [snip]

I would hazard to guess that some of us (including myself) sometimes react badly when we perceive, whether correctly or incorrectly, that there was a lack of effort put into resolving a problem.

The hacker's credo greatly esteems problem-solving ability. Now, if someone starts asking elementary questions too often, this may be, perhaps unfairly, perceived as 'spamming' the list for convenient help for each and every little problem that crop up. Her last question [1] was also rather sloppy and did not appear to constitute usable sample code.

So anyone wanting to help would need to spend extra effort to parse and analyze the query. It may be perceived that someone is imposing on the community, and using up time and effort in too many elementary stuff, as if the community is a private tutor. The question is, should the community's effort be directed at indulging each and every such query and to what extent? Some in the community might be unhappy with such behaviour if it persists.

One should not depend on the list for each and every problem that crops up. Each and every IT person or engineer must learn a degree of problem-solving skills. Problem-solving skills has to be learned the hard way through a sizable investment of time and effort (where 'expert' often involves 10 years or more of personal development, whether in the sciences or the arts) -- perhaps an alien concept in a world replete with instant dime-a-dozen celebrities.

Had I been following the thread more closely, I may well have snapped at Cynthia too. If Cynthia is a high school student, then Thomas Lauer's comments may have been too harsh, but if Cynthia has an IT degree, for example, then surely the onus is on her to do some homework and invest some time and effort to boost her knowledge of the needed thingies. As discussed earlier, without proper context, we cannot tailor our response to suit. Thomas Lauer has a point, but without information on proper context (and no telepathy), he could not tailor a 'perfect' reply.

I hope Cynthia treats this as a learning experience and I hope she re-evaluate what she needs to do. Problem solving by asking around anyone can do; doing problem solving yourself is a valuable skill, but it cannot be gained without effort expended. Remember, December 2012 is just around the corner; it doesn't hurt to be self-sufficient in problem solving... ;-)


Kein-Hong Man (esq.)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia