I answered somewhat brutally (but I answered!) a question about closing a window in Matplotlib. I got the following reproach:
On 01/07/2020 3:54 am, Juan Nunez-Iglesias wrote:
No Sir, your humane attitude wrt people who ask trivial questions on this, and on thousands of other list is defendable, but I have reasons to disagree with your teaching me manners. Here’s why…
Sarcasm need not be treated as an attack. In the concerned context is the community defence. You sweep over a widely open door, remainding us that:
There is an official documentation for Matplotlib, well indexed and structured. I strongly believe that such lists as this one has a pedagogic role, and may be very, very helpful to beginners, but a good answer to a (seemingly) trivial question is to provide a good link, not an off-the-shelf banal, pre-digested solution.
Sorry for being egotistic, and speak about myself, but I taught thousands of students… (half a century of teaching…). After some time I simply refused to answer some questions, demanding often some additional details, such as
- what did you REALLY try to find the solution of your problem?
- What is the context of your issues? Your platform, OS version, packages used versions…
- SHow me your codes
And in many, many cases my students encouraged (or “forced”) to prepare a complete dossier with their problem, found themselves the solution.
The horrible Stack Overflow is reputed for their lack of tolerance, many people don’t like it, neither do I. But we must acknowledge that they succesfully protect themselves from avalanches of repetitive trivial questions. You don’t find therein many “cases” which pollute - for example - the Anaconda mailing list, where it is not rar****e to find questions similar to: “I downloaded Anaconda, it doesn’t work. What shall I do”. Seriously! So, dear Juan Nunez-Iglesias, what would you answer, without being sarcastic, and without being trivial, demanding the details, asking whether the “victim” followed some instruction, etc.?
Sorry for this long post, thank you for the “inspiration”…
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if you want to "teach users to fish", that's fine, I get that. But this can be done with encouragement and direction rather than sarcasm and scorn.
“1M results is a lot of noise to wade through. Additionally, it is a well-documented problem that a lot of Matplotlib answers on the web are out of date and use APIs that are no longer recommended by the core team. It is not reasonable to expect new users to be as effective at cutting through that noise as more experienced ones. Nor is it reasonable to expect everyone to have read through the very extensive matplotlib documentation before daring to post to the list.” Did you ever ask yourself WHY there is so much noise, and why beginners have difficulties to squeeze through useless “information”? A substantial part of the reason is that too many people don’t read documentation, and lazily ask the mailing lists, etc. to solve the problem for them. I hope you don’t think that I am as silly as to ask G.A. to read 1e6 answers. Every “nice” and “pedagogic” response adds to this noise, and increases the global level of laziness. And such answers, often incomplete, will remain on the Web for years.
Please, don’t be trivial: nobody needs all the documentation, but even my 8 years old granddaughter is able to ask a simple question on Internet, Google etc. is for that. What proficiency do you need to ask “how to close a window in Matplotlib”? The questioner began with the affirmation that he searched for the answer. Difficult to believe, no, he didn’t search anything at all… Shall we encourage such attitudes, and amplify this social disease? Sorry Sir, but I believe that those “helpful answerers” serve the devil.