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View Full Version : How about a separate forum for programmers?



scourge
April 25th, 2008, 09:02 PM
This is one of the most popular Ubuntu sub-forums, and it's becoming a real chore to go through the sea of newbie stuff to find something interesting. So I suggest that we split the Programming forum in two - one for non-programmers and beginners, and one for more experienced programmers. The current forum is great for wasting time, but I find it clumsy when I actually want to find something useful.

Beginners:
Language wars should go here. They are useless to experienced programmers, although the participants may very well be experienced. The same goes for requests and suggestions about what language, text editor, compiler or IDE to use. And naturally any thread started by a beginner should be in this forum.

Experienced programmers:
The is the place where programmers should seek solutions to technical programming problems, issues like portability, multithreading, etc. Posters in this forum should assume that the thread starter has decent knowledge of programming and different languages. So when someone asks how they can fork a process and map a pipe to stdint in C++, your reply probably shouldn't be "You should use Blub" or "Why do you need to do it?". Just get to the point.


Oh, and one more gripe about the "Thanks" feature. At first it seemed like a good feature to show appreciation to people who are helpful. But it's become pretty much a popularity contest; people are getting thanks just for agreeing with the "thanker". Just look here (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=765733) to see what I mean. Don't get me wrong, it's great that there are others who share my opinion, it boosts my ego and makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. But I'm not going to thank anyone just because they like the same things I do.

CptPicard
April 25th, 2008, 09:12 PM
It will be next to impossible to decide who is experienced enough to ascend to the inner circle... and the n00bs most certainly will not be able to judge. So they will come in anyway. What do you suggest, some kind of points system that is exactly like the thanks system?

There's nothing wrong with consensus forming by the popularity contest you refer to. It is a vote, and if some post is vouched for by mostly experienced posters, perhaps there is something to it.

I do like the egalitarian approach, and have nothing wrong with n00bs. It's all about getting a learning experience from each other, so segregation is not the answer -- learning to learn, might. The beginners do need to learn to read the stickies first though.

Lster
April 25th, 2008, 09:14 PM
A poll might be a good idea to see people thoughts.

I personally am against the proposed changes. I think there are too many problems with the idea. For example, it almost seems there would be two tiers - one in which beginner programmers would feel unwelcome. And there's the chance that one forum would become unused, for the reason that no one looks there (an X furthers X example).

I kind of agree with you on the thanks feature. It's almost like Digg now! ;)

stevescripts
April 25th, 2008, 09:38 PM
hmm ... kinda like a double-edged sword ...

Noobs *need* a place where they feel welcome. Folks may be completely turned-off to a particular language, and perhaps from leaning at all, if the question a newbie posts to a usenet group only results in a RTFM ...

And, I agree, that beginners would take their questions to the more advanced group with little hesitation.

Perhaps, if the consensus is to split the forum, maybe rather than Beginners Forum and Programmers Forum, it might make more sense to call them Programming Forum and Advanced Programming Forum, at least most of the beginners might shy away from the word Advanced ?

Re thanks, I know I only use it when I find something really useful or informative, and it *is* nice to be thanked - some folks put a lot of time, thought, and effort into their posts.

Steve
(who appreciates this place a bunch!)

scourge
April 25th, 2008, 09:55 PM
It will be next to impossible to decide who is experienced enough to ascend to the inner circle... and the n00bs most certainly will not be able to judge. So they will come in anyway. What do you suggest, some kind of points system that is exactly like the thanks system?

No that's not what I want. Everyone should decide for themselves whether or not they are experienced. And they could be newbies at some things and experienced at others. For example I might ask about pthreads in C in the experienced forum, and some general Lisp advice in the beginner forum. Experienced programmers would of course be encouraged to help others in the beginner forum.



There's nothing wrong with consensus forming by the popularity contest you refer to. It is a vote, and if some post is vouched for by mostly experienced posters, perhaps there is something to it.

Considering that I've seen a post consisting of one emoticon get at least three thanks, I'd say this "voting" doesn't tell much about the helpfulness of posts.



Perhaps, if the consensus is to split the forum, maybe rather than Beginners Forum and Programmers Forum, it might make more sense to call them Programming Forum and Advanced Programming Forum, at least most of the beginners might shy away from the word Advanced ?

That would be fine by me as well. Or maybe "General" and "Technical"?

CptPicard
April 25th, 2008, 10:17 PM
Considering that I've seen a post consisting of one emoticon get at least three thanks, I'd say this "voting" doesn't tell much about the helpfulness of posts.

Sometimes one emoticon is worth a thousand-word post. ;)

RocketRanger
April 25th, 2008, 10:33 PM
Here's my 2 cents.

I think that Ubuntu forums has got enough subsections already. The Development subsection is divided into six different sections as it is and sometimes its confusing enough to find out on which forum to post your problem anyways.

Its a case in point looking over the forum threads as they are now. Many of them relate to getting software to work or locating libraries for different tasks. Is that a beginner, advanced or technical question or just altogether a thread that has been posted on the wrong forum altogether?

It would probably be a better idea to teach people how to tag their posts properly, read the stickies (as already suggested) and the use the search function to find what you need.

I agree about the thanks system though. Tagged threads marked solved that can be searched is infinitely more useful.

Wybiral
April 25th, 2008, 11:11 PM
I thanked everybody... Digg me down!

(to be serious, I like the thanks, I don't see what's wrong with using it as a "confirmation", a sort of "thanks, you just said what I was thinking")

Sockerdrickan
April 25th, 2008, 11:16 PM
lol

LaRoza
April 26th, 2008, 12:57 AM
How about the social group?

Can+~
April 26th, 2008, 01:14 AM
Sounds elitist. I like more the "community" mode it has now, and seriously, most experienced programmers rarely start threads, just answer questions, or flamewars.

LaRoza
April 26th, 2008, 01:45 AM
Sounds elitist. I like more the "community" mode it has now, and seriously, most experienced programmers rarely start threads, just answer questions, or flamewars.

I am not an "experienced programmer", but I am experienced in this forum. The last thread I started was a rickroll, so I guess that is true.

ghostdog74
April 26th, 2008, 05:07 AM
I thanked everybody... Digg me down!

(to be serious, I like the thanks, I don't see what's wrong with using it as a "confirmation", a sort of "thanks, you just said what I was thinking")

Since we have a facility to thank people, how about a "no thanks". :)

Wybiral
April 26th, 2008, 05:49 AM
Since we have a facility to thank people, how about a "no thanks". :)

I actually like that idea quite a bit, a "no thanks" would be great.

LaRoza
April 26th, 2008, 05:51 AM
I actually like that idea quite a bit, a "no thanks" would be great.

It was actually implemented in a way long ago. It didn't work out, and caused problems and will never be used again. (user ranking). It would be useful, but the problems associated with it are not worth it.

Natr0n
April 26th, 2008, 05:52 AM
Oh, and one more gripe about the "Thanks" feature. At first it seemed like a good feature to show appreciation to people who are helpful. But it's become pretty much a popularity contest; people are getting thanks just for agreeing with the "thanker". Just look here to see what I mean.

I've never used the "thanking" feature before, all I did was reply with a "+10" because I liked the post. Sorry if you didn't.

EDIT: Never mind.

WestAussieUbu
April 26th, 2008, 08:43 AM
Why not open an ubuntu programming forum elsewhere if it doesnt cater to your needs?

If anyone shares the same ideals as you, they will most likely follow you there.

ruy_lopez
April 26th, 2008, 10:09 AM
Oh, and one more gripe about the "Thanks" feature. At first it seemed like a good feature to show appreciation to people who are helpful. But it's become pretty much a popularity contest; people are getting thanks just for agreeing with the "thanker". Just look here (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=765733) to see what I mean.

I agree, thanks are used too liberally on ideological issues.



There's nothing wrong with consensus forming by the popularity contest you refer to. It is a vote, and if some post is vouched for by mostly experienced posters, perhaps there is something to it.

In principle, if only experienced programmers engaged in mutually appreciative thanking, I wouldn't have a problem. But it seems more based on "cultural" grounds, than experience (like most ideologies). I could probably post something tomorrow, if it praised high-level abstractions, dynamic typing etc. the prevailing culture in this forum would probably agree, and might even thank me. Does that make me experienced? Hardly. Like LaRoza says, it only means I have experience of this forum.

It's not a stretch to conceive of a newcomer who mistakes a high thank count for technical expertise, when the thanks were really accumulated by posting a lot of 'popular' sentiments.

Wybiral
April 26th, 2008, 10:30 AM
I agree, thanks are used too liberally on ideological issues.



In principle, if only experienced programmers engaged in mutually appreciative thanking, I wouldn't have a problem. But it seems more based on "cultural" grounds, than experience (like most ideologies). I could probably post something tomorrow, if it praised high-level abstractions, dynamic typing etc. the prevailing culture in this forum would probably agree, and might even thank me. Does that make me experienced? Hardly. Like LaRoza says, it only means I have experience of this forum.

It's not a stretch to conceive of a newcomer who mistakes a high thank count for technical expertise, when the thanks were really accumulated by posting a lot of 'popular' sentiments.

Well, see, the problem is that it's just a "thank" button. Not a "this person is experienced, trust them" button. I sometimes thank people when they say something that I was going to say or when they say something sane in the midst of utter stupidity... Sometimes I just thank people when they make me smile :) (because I like to smile, and I think it deserves a thanks) Maybe you should be more open to alternative definitions of "thanks", because it certainly doesn't appear to be some kind of experience gauge to me.

scourge
April 26th, 2008, 10:30 AM
Sounds elitist. I like more the "community" mode it has now, and seriously, most experienced programmers rarely start threads, just answer questions, or flamewars.

We already have the Absolute Beginner Talk forum. Is that elitist? And you're right that experienced programmers tend to do some googling before presenting their problem here. But we do need help occasionally as well. Here's a couple of examples from myself:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=528857
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=248618
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=128356

scourge
April 26th, 2008, 10:38 AM
Maybe you should be more open to alternative definitions of "thanks", because it certainly doesn't appear to be some kind of experience gauge to me.

Fair enough. When I saw the "Following users would like to thank X for this helpful post" I interpreted that it should be something like +1 Insightful or Informative at Slashdot. But this is just a side issue to me, not that big of a deal.

Wybiral
April 26th, 2008, 10:44 AM
Fair enough. When I saw the "Following users would like to thank X for this helpful post" I interpreted that it should be something like +1 Insightful or Informative at Slashdot. But this is just a side issue to me, not that big of a deal.

I wouldn't know (I don't use slashdot). I just interpret "thanks" as "thanks".

I just don't see how having two forums would work. Especially not if they were segregated by "experience". It's too subjective and degrading. IMO, threads in C isn't a "experienced" topic (just a pain to code, but not an essentially challenging concept to grasp)... You might think they are "experienced". Who is going to make that decision? LaRoza? :)

I might see splitting the forum in one way though... Help questions, and general programming discussions. Because I do think that would work and be beneficial. But experience level is just going to hurt people's feelings (there was an effort like this a while back, and I liked the idea at the time, but now I think we should just remain as we are and let the n00bs figure out who they can trust. Part of being a good programmer is learning to google things on your own anyway).

ruy_lopez
April 26th, 2008, 10:49 AM
Maybe you should be more open to alternative definitions of "thanks", because it certainly doesn't appear to be some kind of experience gauge to me.

That's where our opinions differ. I was under the impression it was a gauge of helpful advice. Otherwise, what is the point of counting thanks?

You know, within sensible limits, I get where you're coming from. But when people are thanking each other for giving their opinions, opinions they already know the other person holds (because they've thanked them already for their opinion in a previous post), you might as well rename the 'thank' button, the 'bark-like-a-dog' button, for all it means.

Ferrat
April 26th, 2008, 12:34 PM
Just a question but when you pass a certain point you don't really go to Ubuntu forums to get an answer do you? (not saying that there aren't any people here that couldn't match someone else) But when you get to that point for ex. in game programming you most likely use more specific tools, have a better understanding of what you need answered than just general questions and most likely has encountered forums/websites devoted to these specifics?

Wouldn't most people go there with their questions instead (if they couldn't find out for them selfs? While staying here just to further other peoples development.


Ubuntu and Ubuntu forums is a great launch platform for people learning anything about Linux or computers in general, most people are helpful and patient and to add some Ũber Dev forum seems pointless since people at that level of knowhow often already know where to go or turn? this is just the way I see it


EDIT:
About the Thanks button, I never use it, if you start rating people by thanks then you might as well create a lot of fake users just to get a rating, I see thanks more like a guide to whom I can "trust" to a degree if they post a program/script or likewise give a howto or guide (not that I fully would trust anyone over the net)

scourge
April 26th, 2008, 01:57 PM
I just don't see how having two forums would work. Especially not if they were segregated by "experience". It's too subjective and degrading. IMO, threads in C isn't a "experienced" topic (just a pain to code, but not an essentially challenging concept to grasp)... You might think they are "experienced". Who is going to make that decision? LaRoza? :)

Like I said earlier, everyone should decide for themselves whether or not they are experienced. Just like they can decide between "General Help" and "Absolute Beginner Talk". And threads in C is definitely not a beginner topic. Sure, it's easy to learn what the pthread functions are for, but debugging multithreaded code (especially in C where a debugger is often needed), avoiding deadlocks, synchronization, joining and detaching threads, etc. do require some programming experience.



I might see splitting the forum in one way though... Help questions, and general programming discussions. Because I do think that would work and be beneficial.

I would totally support that as well.

Jessehk
April 26th, 2008, 01:57 PM
I agree, thanks are used too liberally on ideological issues.



In principle, if only experienced programmers engaged in mutually appreciative thanking, I wouldn't have a problem. But it seems more based on "cultural" grounds, than experience (like most ideologies). I could probably post something tomorrow, if it praised high-level abstractions, dynamic typing etc. the prevailing culture in this forum would probably agree, and might even thank me. Does that make me experienced? Hardly. Like LaRoza says, it only means I have experience of this forum.

It's not a stretch to conceive of a newcomer who mistakes a high thank count for technical expertise, when the thanks were really accumulated by posting a lot of 'popular' sentiments.

And that expresses far more clearly my opinion on the matter than I have been able to.

scourge
April 26th, 2008, 02:07 PM
Just a question but when you pass a certain point you don't really go to Ubuntu forums to get an answer do you?

That depends. Man pages and Google are the first places to go. But if my problem is specific to Linux, Unix or Gnome, this is a good place to ask for help. Many people here are also interested in multi-platform development and cross-compiling, so if I have questions about those topics I may ask them here.

Lau_of_DK
April 26th, 2008, 10:07 PM
Sometimes one emoticon is worth a thousand-word post. ;)

Id have to say that a forum which divided programmers into groups of experience does not sound like a great idea. I dont consider my self one of the brightest programmers around, but I know how much I benefit from being around those I consider much better than myself. The opportunity to do so is one of the great things about the present style of this forum.

Secondly: I do think that we could all benefit from more sub-sections like:
Programming-Talk
Python Talk
Lisp Talk
C/C++ Talk
Java & .bat Talk
..etc etc..

So that we could all engage in more practical discussion within the various fields. Its a thought - It might already be here and I just havent found it :)

/Lau

CptPicard
April 26th, 2008, 10:10 PM
You don't want to separate different languages to their own subfora simply because you'd lose an ability to cross-pollinate, sort of... a lot of ideas are transferable, and I don't want to be reading up on all of them separately.

Lau_of_DK
April 26th, 2008, 10:15 PM
You don't want to separate different languages to their own subfora simply because you'd lose an ability to cross-pollinate, sort of... a lot of ideas are transferable, and I don't want to be reading up on all of them separately.

Actually - I do kinda want that. Although the ideas are transferable I as a Python developer wanting to make an internet scraper, will not benefit alot from hearing a discussion of 2 C++ programmers wanting to do the same. They will be discussing socket libraries and garbagage collection while Im dealing with the theoretical side of doing a good scrape - Just an example. So reading them seperate will probably give me many interesting views.

Secondly - One of the things I miss in this forum is that its not practical enough. Theres alot of talk, a little flaming, then some more theory but not very much code. I think we could all excel from helping each other out more with concrete examples and programs, which is more likely to happend when we have language specific sub-forums.

Thats my oppinion anyway.

Can+~
April 26th, 2008, 10:17 PM
We already have the Absolute Beginner Talk forum. Is that elitist? And you're right that experienced programmers tend to do some googling before presenting their problem here. But we do need help occasionally as well. Here's a couple of examples from myself:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=528857
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=248618
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=128356

I personally, don't help when the subject is beyond me, and I think that's what happens to most people. I never had to fix a WiFi problem. I mostly help problems about installation and Graphics card (Damn you ATI).

Back on the original subject. The Absolute Beginner Talk is completely open to anyone to post in, as on the rest of the forum. If you make your account, are you automatically locked into that section for being a beginner? Nope, you're free to post there, you consider yourself a newbie, you go post there. The sense of elitist comes when there's a built-in dividing factor, besides your own conscious. Like comparing a wall (Impassable) to a curtain (you could cross it, but it's up to you).

Maybe that's the solution, having an "Absolute Beginner Programming Talk", for questions like "Where to start?" "What IDE?", those questions that are answered by the FAQ, but still they still have doubts.

But, no, I don't want more sub-forums, sub forums are great when there's a lot of messages and makes sense splitting them for better access, but this section roughly gets 10 new posts everyday; Tagging + Prefixes on the other, could solve the issue.

CptPicard
April 26th, 2008, 10:19 PM
What if I want to actually read and follow all of them? :) Having people tag their thread topics with the language of their choice sounds like much more a reasonable proposition...

Lau_of_DK
April 26th, 2008, 10:22 PM
What if I want to actually read and follow all of them? :) Having people tag their thread topics with the language of their choice sounds like much more a reasonable proposition...

Well, then you would use the scraper that I just wrote in Python, it would track all the threads down and present them in a nice .pdf file :)

Can+~
April 26th, 2008, 10:30 PM
Well, then you would use the scraper that I just wrote in Python, it would track all the threads down and present them in a nice .pdf file :)

Trashing C# already? :lolflag:

Lau_of_DK
April 26th, 2008, 10:35 PM
Trashing C# already? :lolflag:

Dont get me wrong, C# aint all bad, but in a word: Yes.

Ive been pursuaded by convincing arguments that I need to commit to Python and Lisp for quite some time. I think there's alot to be gained from leaving my old Low-level mentality. Its like with cars. Its great to know whats under the hood, but you dont want to be steering from inside the engine right?

LaRoza
April 26th, 2008, 10:42 PM
Dont get me wrong, C# aint all bad, but in a word: Yes.

Ive been pursuaded by convincing arguments that I need to commit to Python and Lisp for quite some time. I think there's alot to be gained from leaving my old Low-level mentality. Its like with cars. Its great to know whats under the hood, but you dont want to be steering from inside the engine right?

Have you been on #ubuntu-programming at all yet?

(We are on irc.freenode.net)

Lau_of_DK
April 26th, 2008, 10:47 PM
Have you been on #ubuntu-programming at all yet?

(We are on irc.freenode.net)

Not yet, but I will be very happy to join you, once I recover from my 8.04 upgrade :)

pmasiar
April 27th, 2008, 01:01 AM
On topic:
- separate subforums 'for beginners' will not work, because beginners don't bother with rules, and it is kind of ghetto.
- separate subforum 'Advanced only' is kind of apartheid. Of course beginners are welcome in it too: read, and comment - if comment is wrong, they it will be flamed and corrected.
- separate subforums by language: For me, it would be far less convenient to open couple subforums just to see that nothing interesting is there - IMHO response rate would suffer in such divided subforums.

Solutions seems to be asking people to add language to title: ie for me it is easier to ignore most of C++ threads (but lurking on some if interested or to waste time).

Of course ppl **will not** add language to title consistently - such is our doom, to forever suffer from noobs in this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_September :-)

Off topic: Some ppl think that thanks are misleading. To discuss this properly we should go to proper forum (Forum Suggestions), this is just PT internal jihad, tempest in teapot.

But I disagree that they are misleading: they measure number of undefined entity 'thank' as decided by the mood of the moment of whoever clicked on that button. Sometimes I click if I agree, sometimes if I laughed, sometimes if I think the same, sometimes if I learned. So 'thank' itself is meaningless, and there is no way to beat any meaning into it - if someone feels like deserving more, create another user and thank on your posts. If it makes that person happy, it is worth? It is personal decision.

Yes, I clicked 'thank' repeatedly to certain group of people, because I learned more from their posts. Does it mean I am in gang with them to boost their 'thank' number to take over universe? Not at all, it just mean that IMHO some people post more valuable comments (IMHO!) than others. And forum regulars hang around more, and comment more, and know how to appreciate posts, so they thank good posts - and many thanked posts are from other forum regulars. So it is not Kabbalah, it is just normal positive feedback system. :-)

Summary: everything is fine.

The only change I consider worthy, helpful and improvement is how to make noobs to read FAQ before that first post, we discussed it months ago, found solution (change if forum header) and were promised it to be implemented after coming forum upgrade. So are we there yet?

LaRoza
April 27th, 2008, 01:06 AM
Solutions seems to be asking people to add language to title: ie for me it is easier to ignore most of C++ threads (but lurking on some if interested or to waste time).

Of course ppl **will not** add language to title consistently - such is our doom, to forever suffer from noobs in this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_September :-)

Off topic: Some ppl think that thanks are misleading. To discuss this properly we should go to proper forum (Forum Suggestions), this is just PT internal jihad, tempest in teapot.

The only change I consider worthy, helpful and improvement is how to make noobs to read FAQ before that first post, we discussed it months ago, found solution (change if forum header) and were promised it to be implemented after coming forum upgrade. So are we there yet?

No new subforums will be made, so that is out of the question. PT is not even Ubuntu specific.

We will hopefully have prefixes. I appreciate feedback on the list I made.

I see thanks given in this forum, but it is not abused in my opinion. If I do see thanks being abused, I move the thread to a forum where thanks do not exist and they are wiped.

There is much to do, I will re-suggest that when the list of things to be done is short. It is massive at the moment.