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How to answer questions from newbies


In article <c2078ca1-c85a-4795-8632-6b005436cc77 at googlegroups.com>,
 Rustom Mody <rustompmody at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sunday, February 16, 2014 8:53:47 PM UTC+5:30, Roy Smith wrote:
> > We get a lot of newbie questions on this list.  People are eager to jump 
> > in and answer them (which is wonderful), but sometimes we get off on 
> > tangents about trivia and lose sight of the real question, and our 
> > audience.
> 
> > The particular one that set me off just now (I'm leaving off the names 
> > because it's a generic problem) was somebody asking a basic, "how do I 
> > code an algorithm to manipulate this data" question.  They presented 
> > some sample data as a tuple of tuples.
> 
> > One of the (otherwise well-written and informative) responses started 
> > out with a 20-line treatise on the difference between lists and tuples, 
> > and why the OP should have used a list of tuples.  Nothing they said was 
> > wrong, but it wasn't essential to explaining the algorithm.
> 
> > What I'm asking is that when people answer questions, try to figure out 
> > what the core question really is, and answer that first.  If there's 
> > other suggestions you can make for how things might be further improved, 
> > add those later.
> 
> > Also, try to figure out what the experience level of the OP is, and 
> > scale your answer to fit their ability.  I've seen people who are 
> > obviously struggling with basic concepts in an introductory programming 
> > class get responses that include list comprehensions, lambdas, 
> > map/reduce, etc.  These are things people should learn along the road to 
> > Python guru-ness, but if you haven't figured out what a for loop is yet, 
> > those things are just going to confuse you even more.
> 
> Agreed!
> 
> Just one WARNING!
> If you include comprehensions I shall include re's <wink>

Moi?