Language or Algorithms?

This is a discussion on Language or Algorithms? within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; I have finally put my finger on what I find so frustrating much of the time here on the board-- ...

  1. #1
    Sayeh
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    Language or Algorithms?

    I have finally put my finger on what I find so frustrating much of the time here on the board--

    It seems that the majority of members who want to develop are either having trouble with, getting stumped on, or unable to get past:

    grammar/language issues.

    Stuff they should have resolved by reading books, or examining existing code, or surfing the _vast_ resources already out there. Which tells me that most of the members here are either:

    a) too young, in which case we need a 'Kiddie' section
    b) too arrogant ("I don't need books"), or
    c) confused having the expectation that this is easy and can be mastered in "days/weeks"... (sigh)


    ---

    There seem to be few new algorithmic questions.


    ---

    Am I just off the wall, or do other experienced coders feel the same as I?

  2. #2
    Hamster without a wheel iain's Avatar
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    the board is here to provide learning support to coders of all abilities. I agree with you on some counts though - a lot of problems could be resolved with a simple search. Thats what the board is for though, if you think someone is arrogant or their question is too simple to answer - ignore it , or maybe you are missing the point of the board.
    Monday - what a way to spend a seventh of your life

  3. #3
    _B-L-U-E_ Betazep's Avatar
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    Not a lot of derived class questions... not a lot of OOP at all in the C++ area, either.

    I don't consider myself a seasoned veteran, but I know enough to know what I don't know yet and what I need to learn.

    Perhaps it is that you begin to have less problems, the more comfortable you are with the language.
    Blue

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    And the more advanced you are, the better you are at knowing how to look things up... and more importantly, being able to translate what you looked up into something you really grasp. Sometimes, people need people to answer their questions. That's why we have schools at all. In programming, this is intensified by the fact that to understand one beginning component, means you really have to understand eight others.

    The fact of the matter is, learning how to find answers is one of the skills most people need to learn. So maybe instead of flaming the next person with an obvious need for this, we can kindly direct them in this path of knowledge (as I know most of the people here in fact do).

    -Justin
    Allegro precompiled Installer for Dev-C++, MSVC, and Borland: http://galileo.spaceports.com/~springs/

  5. #5
    Sayeh
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    I agree with all you've said, that's why I posed the question.

    It's just that I only posted it after seeing several posts by one person in particular that just keeps asking the most basic stuff, over and over. As if they expect people from this board to teach them entirely.

    Don't get me wrong-- questions are great. That's why this board is here. It's just that it's easier to help someone if it appears they are atleast giving it the old college try. Many don't seem to be.

    I got where I am because I scraped, and tore, and fought for every piece of knowledge. I never had the benefit of a mentor or a teacher (they were all too new to programming, so I'd already surpassed them significantly). I have filled libraries with the books I've bought.

    I understand it is tough to get traction with programming because you are teaching your mind a new way to examine things. But some members just never seem to gain any momentum.

    Programming cannot be done by everyone, contrary to popular myth. People are different, and have different abilities that suit them to different tasks.

    I think that perhaps the reason some people are taking so long, or aren't properly motivated (if that's the right word) is because there is no incentive to push themselves.

    For me, the incentive has always been the job. I have to tackle 'x' by deadline 'x'. I had no choice but to figure 'it' out and implement and debug it by deadline 'x'. So I pushed myself whenever necessary.

    Any ideas on how something like that could be achieved here? Perhaps a contest with a prize, or what?...

  6. #6
    Linguistic Engineer... doubleanti's Avatar
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    >Am I just off the wall, or do other experienced coders feel the same as I?

    that's very true! such is the fix with all hobbies... once you get past the technical nature of the activity, all that's left is the creative and intuitive side... which i think that many of our programmers haven't breached. i realized this after not posting new topics in the non-GD boards pretty much since the beginning the of the new board and nearing the end of the old board. [i'm not a veteran either! ] but it would be nice to have a forum where i could discuss my fikky graphics procedures... [then you wouldn't need my code, just the concepts which aren't that difficult, actually] i've read other boards [including ph] and i am surprised even at those [in that they are better]! [tho i do like this format a lot better, since all replies are shown and organized, and we have a more organized member setup]...

    >c) confused having the expectation that this is easy and can be mastered in "days/weeks"... (sigh)

    and that's funny, after you do finally understand the concept or the algorithm or whatever, you wonder why in the world you couldn't get it in the first place...

    i was thinking the same thing. the focus here should not be on the syntax or the language, but rather mainly on the algorithm, the big picture, and demonstrations to show for it!
    hasafraggin shizigishin oppashigger...

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    Ah yes, I know exactly what kind of post you are talking about. The person asks a question, you provide the answer, the person posts again, unwilling to try your solution because they have it in their head that it is too difficult.. for some reason:

    i use devc and w00d like my pr0gram to have an ic0n.
    Create an icon, go into project, options, click on add icon, browse to find your icon and double click it. Press OK and recompile.

    wel, i already have an ic0n made. can't s0me0ne tell me how i can, like, #include <c:\myicon.ico> When I d0 that it just gives l0ts of err0rs, but i know the icon is there.
    Then someone tells him how to make a pif for his DOS program even though he's compiling a Win32 program, and that's the last you hear of 'im for a week or two.

    I pushed myself whenever necessary.
    I think this is the key, a willingness for those scraps of knowledge. Some people think programming is lucrative and easy, so they try to get into it.. but it never quite matches their expectations so they quit. The last cycle before quitting is: "someone make this easy or else."

    -Justin

    [edit] Maybe a "concepts" board would be useful? Contests might be fun, but I'm not sure they will really be targeting the crowd that needs them. [/edit]
    Last edited by Justin W; 01-04-2002 at 12:36 PM.
    Allegro precompiled Installer for Dev-C++, MSVC, and Borland: http://galileo.spaceports.com/~springs/

  8. #8
    Linguistic Engineer... doubleanti's Avatar
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    perhaps we should have an algorithm board? i think this would be a good idea. we could keep the C/++ boards specifically for fine-tuning their language skills, and have the algorithm board for higher-level questions which have become independant of the language.
    hasafraggin shizigishin oppashigger...

  9. #9
    Hamster without a wheel iain's Avatar
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    its a great idea in theory but more boards will undoubtadely result in more confusion, incorrect and cross posts!
    Monday - what a way to spend a seventh of your life

  10. #10
    Just one more wrong move. -KEN-'s Avatar
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    true, people will start posting to the board for the language AND the algorithms boad...can't you just feel it already? Kinda like when we had the newbie's board. Immense cross-posting.

    But that's true....I haven't posted new questions to the C/C++ boards in a long time. Mainly just the windows board, and barely ever at that.

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    its a great idea in theory but more boards will undoubtadely result in more confusion, incorrect and cross posts!
    All too true, unfortunately.
    Allegro precompiled Installer for Dev-C++, MSVC, and Borland: http://galileo.spaceports.com/~springs/

  12. #12
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    >perhaps we should have an algorithm board?

    I'm not very long at this board, but I do agree with this. In my opinion the boards have a range which is too wide.

    I read in this thread that having more boards lead to problems in the past (cross posts etc.), unfortunately I have no solution for that.

    Though I think there should be some more specialisation in the boards. Algorithm Board, Design Board and perhaps a Software Development Process Board?

    Some people posting on the board are new programmers, but I've been reading quite a lot threads and I think there are also more experienced programmers (academic level, proffessionals) who would like to talk on a higher level about programming and related stuff.

  13. #13
    the hat of redundancy hat nvoigt's Avatar
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    >Am I just off the wall, or do other experienced coders feel the same as I?

    No, you are right. I know what you are talking about, and I would really like to see a discussion...say... about the best pathfinding aglorithm and how to implement it. Instead, I see a ton of posts that don't take brains to answer, but only a compiler and a good knowledge of how to translate compiler errors to normal english.

    However, I pretty well know I had the same problems in the beginning, and no book would tell me how to solve the problems I had from typing mistakes in my first programs.

    To be able to ask questions about algorithms and to actually need the answers and understand them, a certain level of syntax and programming logic is required. To gain this level, people ask those questions.

    People who are asking those questions have already mastered the art of gaining information from available resources and therefore don't need this board to get answers. So we are stuck with the first few questions

    Maybe we should make a list of compiler errors and how to fix them and add it to the FAQ. That might help a little.



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  14. #14
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    That might help a little.
    What, in lessening the amount of posts? I agree that by the time somebody has reached a level where they know the syntax they probably know how to do research. At which point they've no need to post unless they've a very specific problem or want the discussion. If you were relying on this type of traffic then this board and most other programming boards would die.

  15. #15
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    Wink

    ...and if you're after an algorithm question then there's a post on the C board that wants an example of tree-balancing algorithm (and explanation I'd guess).

    A problem with the algorithm questions is that it by their nature they are more in-depth and not really suitable for a message board and so get reffered to a book or tutorial.

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