Please don't flame the noobs for being noobs

Discussion in 'Site and Forum Feedback' started by levous, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. levous macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2008
    I see more responses like this than I care to shake a stick at. Is there any value in brow beating people for asking questions? That's what the forum is for, after all. Please don't contribute to the forum if you aren't interesting in actually contributing. Otherwise, I'd like to take a moment to ask everyone to take a deep breath and remember what we're trying to do here. We are all trying to develop break-through applications of technology on a brand new platform. New platforms tend to be light in documentation. That makes it even more difficult. Apple's initial interest in secrecy made it even harder. Without Google, programming can be a dark place, indeed.

    Most of us are baffled by every aspect of the Cocoa way. I'm a seasoned developer capable of picking up most any language without too much trouble but I have certainly found the iPhone sdk challenging. I'm very grateful to Apple for both producing the products and finally lifting the NDA. I'm definitely becoming proficient with the toolset. The only way that happens is by writing software. Make, break, fix, rinse and repeat.

    Try to remember that everyone is new once and be respectful.
  2. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Yes, for questions where the answers can be easily found by oneself.

    If a little brow beating encourages posters to watch Apple's video tutorials, read the existing documentation on the front page of the dev center, look at the example app code, or simply search/google keywords to see if their question has already been answered, then these boring questions won't end up cluttering up the developer forums as much.

    The less trivial clutter, the more useful the forums become for asking and finding answers for stuff that's harder to find, unclear, or non-existent in the documentation (and there's still a lot of that, IMHO).

  3. PhoneyDeveloper macrumors 68040


    Sep 2, 2008
    The more goo goo gaa gaa we get here the lower the level of discussion will be. The more goo goo gaa gaa we get here the more likely that those who know the answers will go away.

    Flaming isn't required. The existing documentation is huge and a pointer to where to find the answer is better than simply regurgitating an answer, in most cases.
  4. fenrus110 macrumors regular

    Mar 24, 2008
    we'd have a million topics a week about "how do I concat strings?" "how do I use a navigation controller?"

    And that quote I agree with, if you don't know what to do with a piece of copy and pasted code, you probably shouldn't be coding it. You're trying to go from A->C without learning B.

    And the documentation from my experiences is more than generous for many of these "noob being noob" questions.
  5. GNUMatrix macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2007
    Maybe as a group more effort could be put into crafting more 'sticky' topics to put at the top of this forum. There is ONE right now, and if people keep asking the same kinds of questions, logic dictates that a few more could be added to help deal with them....

    - Where to start if you are a brand new developer
    - Where to start if you are a seasoned Java developer
    - Where to start if you are a .NET/C#/VB/Windows developer
    - Where to start if you are a Cocoa/OSX developer
    - Where to start if you are a (...ruby/php/perl/python...) developer

    I would consider myself a 'seasoned' developer that doesn't even fall into any of these categories, so sometimes I like to see the 'noob' questions. But I do not much care for the terse and seemingly hostile responses that are posted.

    Sure, there are tons of docs, lots of books (...well, at least NOW there are...), etc. But part of getting involved in developing for a new platform is finding other resources that can help and nowadays forums are a big part of that. I think as a group we should be more accommodating....
  6. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    If you consider that quoted response a "brow beating," you're in for a harsh life. It's called guidance and challenge. That's how you learn.
  7. proper macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2008
    I don't think there is something wrong in asking simple questions... That's only because the word "simple", which really depends on the developer's level, is not always that simple for some one.

    Without some high level questions, this forum will die soon. But, without some low level questions, it will die quicker.
  8. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    That piece you quoted was posted by me I believe. I stand by it and think it was a perfectly acceptable response. If he had spent any amount of time learning on his own he would know the answer.

    I'll post the same again too if the same kind of question pops up again.
  9. chbeer macrumors member


    Sep 22, 2008
    I started coding for the iphone using the first toolchain available. At that time there were no documentation or sample code from apple. There were Erica Sadun with her generated documentation of the headers and some wikis and forums and irc channels. At that time I learned cococa and objective-c (coming from java). After a few weeks I had a SIP-phone built just by learning objective-c and cococa and uikit for myself (the sad thing is, that it didn't work because of the not enabled microphone).

    I HATE (and with that I realy mean hate) questions asked without any reading of the documentation or even googling before. I had collegues in the former company I worked for that asked such questions to java and I tried to help them at first. But neither they learned java through asking nor did it help me. So I started telling them to first read documentations or google before asking. They learned java and I had more time to do my work.

    The second thing I hate is software written by people without knowing the plattform. I saw it in java (thats why swing is seen as a bad framework; just because most swing software was hacked by noobs and therefore slow) and I don't want to see it on the iphone (It's already too late as you see so much bad software on it :-( )! Every programmer who wants to write code for the iphone should at first learn cocoa and all thats connected to it! Thats what I do and thats because I don't have my first app deployed already ... because I have to learn more about cocoa and the iphone-framework first.

    All noobs: remember that you learn more by not asking questions but try to figure out for yourself. At a certain point you can ask questions that are concrete and can and will be answered quickly.

    just my 2ct
  10. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    Good. If anything I have been more harsh in some of my responses to similar questions where the poster has clearly put no effort into finding the answer for themselves and simply wants everything handed to them on a silver platter.

    To the noobs:
    Programming is hard. Use of the documentation, the ability to read, interpret and understand it is a key skill. If you can't do this then give up. The ability to use the sample code as a learning tool, to generalise it, remove parts, and to expand on it is also key. Copying and pasting it and expecting it to work is not.
  11. Pring macrumors 6502

    Sep 17, 2003
    I've also been guilty of the occasional harsh comment to the noobs. I don't regret it at all.

    It's part of the learning process. If someone comes and asks a question like "How do I compare two strings?" without checking the documentation and someone gives them the answer then they'll keep coming here to ask. You need to tell them to go check the docs. The answer to that question is about 30 seconds away... (Search XCode->Help->Documentation->NSString Class Reference->Identifying and Comparing Strings).

    What's worse is when if they just googled for 'NSString compare' they'd find the results straight off!
  12. cpatch macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    If you ask a question here without having done the following first (at a minimum) then you shouldn't be surprised if you receive a harsh answer:

    1. Read a book (or Apple's free docs) on Objective-C
    2. Read a book (or Apple's free docs) on Cocoa
    3. Read Apple's free docs on programming for the iPhone
    4. Become familiar with Apple's sample apps and what they do
    5. Search Google for an answer to your question
    6. Search the forum for an answer to your question

    If you've done all this and then ask your question you can expect to get the helpful answer you're looking for.

  13. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Also, Apple has a forum specifically targeted for beginners in these areas: > Support > Discussions > Developer Forums > Software Development 101

    (This is mentioned in the sticky FAQ.)

    The MacRumors iPhone Development forum, on the other hand, is for iPhone specific development questions, after one has already learned the required Obj-C & Cocoa basics.

  14. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    If you don't tell people what they are doing wrong (i.e. don't read, search, or google before questions), most of them will never know because many are not smart enough to figure that out themselves.

    Here is a funny take on newbies:

    "Looking for a great conversation starter online? Try posting one of these ten things we've never heard on an Internet forum."
  15. Trajectory macrumors 6502a

    Nov 13, 2005
    I've seen a lot harsher retorts than what the OP posted here, I think it was helpful and cordial. I don't like it when people are rude in their replies either, no matter how many times the question has been asked. But, some people are just impatient.
  16. Mr Skills macrumors 6502a

    Mr Skills

    Nov 21, 2005
    Did anyone else read this and think "underpants gnomes"?

  17. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    It doesn't seem that many people read or even notice the stickies.
  18. kabunaru Guest

    Jan 28, 2008
    Sometimes people can be harsh here and this is not an Utopian world.
  19. rhett7660 macrumors G4


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    I agree.. I am sorry, but how many books and hours has this person spent doing a little research and learning how to code? What languages has this person tried to learn? What have the done to learn? Give me a break, go get yourself some thicker skin. Good lord, you call this harsh or brow beating. Why doesn't this person go and try and learn for themselves and do it themselves several hundred times, stay awake till the we hours of the night learning something. Instead of being spoon fed and coddled.
  20. rhett7660 macrumors G4


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    Oh you mean like the other stickies that nobody freaking reads. Try doing a search for how many times someone has asked what the hell the names underneath your forum name mean. For crying out loud please.

    For that matter why don't people do searches.
  21. Schtumple macrumors 601


    Jun 13, 2007
    I love how it was written by a newbie :p seems like there's going to be some bias here...

    To the OP, stick around on the forums and you WILL get sick of the constant duplicate threads.

    Searching is easier than posting a new thread, but people still sign up, ask one question, then never post again...

    Hell this topic alone has been discussed at least 5 other times IIRC, each time it's swung the way of if newbies bothered to search, the regulars wouldn't be so "harsh" from the constant duplicate threads.
  22. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Ask a stupid question, that can be answered with a search, expect a brutal beating.

    That is part of read the darn ReadMe.rtf file for MacRumors.
  23. cantthinkofone macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2004
    Missouri, USA
    I think posting in the 'Buying Tips' section should expect a brutal beating. :D
  24. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    Wait! We're allowed to go round there and beat them? No-one told me!

    In my head I'm no picturing scenes like the end credits of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back with developers flying round beating noobs on their doorsteps. What a wonderful world it would be :)
  25. dernhelm macrumors 68000


    May 20, 2002
    middle earth
    Beware of developing a culture of hate...

    I've posted intelligent questions on the programming forum before and got flamed by people who didn't understand the questions in the first place. Yes I was able to "blow them off" because I'm secure enough in my "programming prowess" to recognize an blustering fool. Not everyone is however.

    If you have a culture that says flaming is OK, you will get relative programming noobs thinking that they need to flame in order to no longer be considered a noob. I can tell you that that absolutely does happen, and that should be considered a bigger problem than someone asking a "stupid question".

    Signal to noise around here is low enough. If a question is in the FAQ point them at it, 3-4 people flaming is not required.

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