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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:36 am 
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OSDev.org, for low level OS development, is probably the best site on the internet. The level of expertise and support here go far beyond most sites. I don't think I would change anything about the site, itself.

But, as far as the forum "noise" issue, I would just like to point out that you don't necessarily have to respond to a "stupid" question from a "noob". You could simply ignore it and let someone else answer.

I've seen someone post multiple responses trying to get someone to find the answer themselves, instead of just answering their question, or just letting someone else answer the question.

Brendan wrote:
We should clearly state that the purpose of the forums is to help beginners become advanced developers (and to help advanced developers become even more advanced). This has never been stated clearly by anyone; and because this isn't clearly stated anywhere, every 6 months or so someone goes all elitist and comes up with some whacky idea like getting rid of the beginners (which would cut off the supply of future advanced developers and will turn the forums into an abandoned waste-land in less than 6 months).

Note: helping beginners become advanced developers includes helping them learn how to find information. This includes helping them learn to find rare/elusive information (e.g. ancient Cyrix CPU datasheets) but also includes helping them learn to find information that's in the wiki. For this reason I'd rather ban someone for posting "RTFM" than to ban someone who needs help learning how to find information in the manual.


Agreed. 100%

Thanks, guys.

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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:16 am 
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I've seen someone post multiple responses trying to get someone to find the answer themselves, instead of just answering their question, or just letting someone else answer the question.
It may be just me, but I've always believed in tha adage "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for life".

Simply answering someone's question is not necessarily the best way to help them; sometimes it is more productive to teach them to fish. And if that requires multiple responses to try to get someone to find the answer themselves, and learn how to do so in future, then that can only be a good thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:25 pm 
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iansjack wrote:
It may be just me, but I've always believed in tha adage "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for life".

Telling someone to go find a wiki entry on fishing is doing neither.

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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:38 pm 
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SpyderTL wrote:
iansjack wrote:
It may be just me, but I've always believed in tha adage "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for life".

Telling someone to go find a wiki entry on fishing is doing neither.

Perhaps not, but it's at least the first step in teaching him that he's not the first person to ask "How do I fish?" and that the answer to that question is already out there to be found, if he's willing to look for it.

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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:08 am 
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SpyderTL wrote:
iansjack wrote:
It may be just me, but I've always believed in tha adage "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for life".

Telling someone to go find a wiki entry on fishing is doing neither.

Pointing someone to a source of information on fishing techniques with examples of how to do it is not teaching him to fish?

What a ridiculous statement.


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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:21 pm 
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iansjack wrote:
SpyderTL wrote:
iansjack wrote:
It may be just me, but I've always believed in tha adage "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for life".

Telling someone to go find a wiki entry on fishing is doing neither.

Pointing someone to a source of information on fishing techniques with examples of how to do it is not teaching him to fish?

What a ridiculous statement.

I didn't say that. I said telling someone to go find it themselves is not helping them. Giving someone a link to the answer is helpful, but just giving them the answer, if you know it, would be the quickest solution for everyone.

As far as you know, the person asking the question has already spent hours looking for the answer. The only way you can determine whether they've even tried to search or not is to ask them questions. It's a lot quicker just to answer the question, if you already know the answer.

If not, or if you think the question is somehow "beneath you", just ignore it and let someone else answer it. There are plenty of people on this site that would be happy to help out the noobs who are just getting started.

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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:53 pm 
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SpyderTL wrote:
iansjack wrote:
...

I didn't say that. I said telling someone to go find it themselves is not helping them. Giving someone a link to the answer is helpful, but just giving them the answer, if you know it, would be the quickest solution for everyone.

As far as you know, the person asking the question has already spent hours looking for the answer. The only way you can determine whether they've even tried to search or not is to ask them questions. It's a lot quicker just to answer the question, if you already know the answer.

If not, or if you think the question is somehow "beneath you", just ignore it and let someone else answer it. There are plenty of people on this site that would be happy to help out the noobs who are just getting started.


I think pointing them to an article that gives them their answer, along with any ancillary information they might need and links to "further reading" is the most helpful answer possible.

- Monk


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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:05 am 
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It's a lot quicker just to answer the question, if you already know the answer.

This is where we differ on the value of education. Just giving people answers may solve their immediate problem but it is not helping them in future. Trying to help them find the answer themselves is. After all that's what the word "education" means - "I lead", not "I tell".

If all you care about is speed just give the person a copy of Linux and save them all the time it will take to write their own OS.


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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:21 am 
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So, can we all agree that the best approach to answer questions in the forums is:

Q: How do I [do something that you know how to do]?

A: According to this article [link to wiki page or other documentation], you [quick, high-level description of what to do].

And if you don't know the answer, then the best response is to ignore the post and move on?

Edit: Or, possibly:

A: I searched for "[search term]" on [the wiki/google], and found this article [link], which says to [quick, high-level description].

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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:48 am 
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Take this particular thread from a week ago, as an example:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=28166

songziming wrote:
I'm getting the memory map from GRUB via multiboot_info structure, the information I got is in the attachment.

the 4 columns are: size, addr, length, type. As of in the multiboot spec.

But where is the info about memory range 0xA0000~0xEFFFF? it's missing from the mmap.


Combuster wrote:
Would you expect "memory" in that area?


SpyderTL wrote:
According to the OSDev Wiki Page: http://wiki.osdev.org/Detecting_Memory_(x86)

Quote:
Treat unlisted regions as Type 2 -- reserved.


Apparently GRUB doesn't do this for you. You'll have to detect these and actively avoid them.


SpyderTL wrote:
Also, from the same page:

Quote:
GRUB simply uses INT 15h, EAX=E820 to get the detailed memory map, and does not verify the "sanity" of the map. It also will not sort the entries, retrieve any available ACPI 3.0 extended DWORD (with the "ignore this entry" bit), or clean up the table in any other way.


Quote:
Another problem is that the "type" field is defined as "1 = usable RAM" and "anything else is unusable". Despite what the multi-boot specification says, lots of people assume that the type field is taken directly from INT 15h, EAX=E820 (and in older versions of GRUB it is). However GRUB2 supports booting from UEFI/EFI (and other sources) and code that assumes the type field is taken directly from INT 15h, EAX=E820 will become broken. This means that (until a new multi-boot specification is released) you shouldn't make assumptions about the type, and can't do things like reclaiming the "ACPI reclaimable" areas or supporting S4/hibernate states (as an OS needs to save/restore areas marked as "ACPI NVS" to do that). Fortunately a new version of the multi-boot specification should be released soon which hopefully fixes this problem (but unfortunately, you won't be able to tell if your OS was started from "GRUB-legacy" or "GRUB2", unless it adopts the new multi-boot header and becomes incompatible with GRUB-legacy).


Now, imagine how this looks to the person asking the original question, and how it looks to newcomers who may have also been searching for this exact question. If the only answer was "What did you expect?", that user will probably stop asking questions on this site altogether, and others searching for the same question will probably never come back.

You guys are free to post whatever you want, short of verbally abusing people for no reason, but if you are going to officially make a statement about the purpose of the forum, as it pertains to helping people find answers to questions, I think that it should include a statement saying that questions should be (politely) answered with the goal of quickly connecting the OP with the answer that they are looking for, and perhaps some additional suggestions about how this information can be found.

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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:22 pm 
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Quote:
So, can we all agree that the best approach to answer questions in the forums is (...)
No.

The wiki is the reference, not the forum. That there happens to be a question that could be answered stack-overflow style doesn't mean it's definitely worse to debug the OP rather than spoonfeeding the answer.

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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:23 pm 
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Quote:
Take this particular thread from a week ago, as an example:
Combuster's reply was, ultimately, far more useful than your spoonfeeding. It encourages the questioner to think about what they are doing and about why it may not be working as they intended it to. Next time they come upon a similar problem they may think a little more carefully, and do a little more research. And they will be better prepared for the inevitable moment when no-one knows the answer.

It is made quite clear what the required knowledge is to use these forums and the approach expected from posters. If that scares off the odd newbie who is going to ask "why isn't this code, that I cobbled together from stuff I found on the Internet but didn't really understand, working" then that's all to the good. The subject of this thread is (partially) "Signal:Noise Ratio". Encouraging beginner's questions by spoonfeeding simple answers is not the best way to improve the quality of the posts. What is the point of replicating the Wiki (the knowledge resource) in the forums?

Showing how clever you are by giving answers may feed the ego, but it doesn't improve the cognitive skills of the questioner.


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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:18 pm 
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iansjack wrote:
What is the point of replicating the Wiki (the knowledge resource) in the forums?

What is the point of having forums if not to answer questions? To talk about the weather? To make fun of the noobs?

I don't think it's too much to ask for the more advanced OS developers on this site to resist the urge to post snarky comments or to belittle those who are looking for answers. How hard is it to just ignore posts that you don't want to answer?

This is a great site. But the attitude on the forums toward people who are asking for help is... unfortunate.

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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:10 pm 
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SpyderTL wrote:
How hard is it to just ignore posts that you don't want to answer?.
It's not hard. It's also not as beneficial to the poster, and to the forum in general, as it is to answer the question that they should have asked, or, as Combuster put it, "to debug the OP."

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 Post subject: Re: Moderation Style / Signal:Noise Ratio
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:00 am 
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What is the point of having forums if not to answer questions.
Are you serious?

The point of having forums is to discuss topics of interest. Some sites have forums dedicated to helping people with little computer knowledge. As I understand rules 1 and 3 of the Forum Rules that role is handled here by the Wiki.

No-one is saying that no question should never be answered; but those that have been answered a hundred times before, or adequately dealt with elsewhere, are just noise in the system.


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