Improving Perl Topic Area

Posted on 2000-04-14
Last Modified: 2010-03-05
I would like to put forward a few suggestions to make this topic area work better for both questioners and experts.

1. Ask Concise Questions
If you can summarize your problem, and extract or highlight RELEVANT code, input, errors  oroutput, it is much easiser to answer. If a question contains hundreds of lines of code/data and a request to 'fix this', many experts will not want to spend the time wading through all this. Those that do will probably need to go through several rounds of comments to actually define the real problem.

2. Don't Split the Question
It is annoying to see a question correctly answered, and then have the questioner come back and say thanks, but now I want to do X as well (where X is not always related to the original question). If no more points are offered, it means doing more work for the same reward. It makes it harder to search and retrieve the second part of the question once it becomes a previously asked question. It takes longer to close off the question. It is much better to just start a new question, with perhaps a reference to the first part if needed.

3. Don't Abandon Questions
You can see many questions where experts have spent a lot of time developing several good solutions, but the questioner has dissappereed. Sure they will get auto-graded eventually, but this is still not very satisfying.
Question by:Kim Ryan

Expert Comment

ID: 2720423
Good words, indeed, Teraplane. Knowing
how to ask the question properly is important and always has been(on the
usenet boards, for example).
I'm a novice Perl student and have yet to ask questions, though they will be coming.  Will be SURE to follow your
Howard Berg

Expert Comment

ID: 2721409
One thing that really bugs me is when someone jumps in with an ANSWER when it should be a COMMENT.

I think everything should be commented first, and the questioner can choose to accept any one as an answer. An answer blocks any one else from commenting, and someone else might have a different point of view to offer. Also, rejected answers cause hard feelings.

my 2¢,

LVL 16

Accepted Solution

maneshr earned 0 total points
ID: 2722970

you have highlighted some key issues that most users face. here are my thoughts on the same.

1) its definately good to ask concise questions, but we, the frequent users of EE have to also make room for first time users who have little or no idea of the solution or its complexity. Secondly we have users from all over the world using the PERL forum. Therefore at times one might find that the problem is not communicated properly. Again it our responsibility to ask counter -Q's and get a fix on the exact problem.

at times it might be frustrating too. but then thats the challenge too!!

2) Again i agree with you here. i think its the responsibility of that individual to acknowledge the fact that the original Q was answered, but not every user knows the format of EE. if the person is politely told about this format, i am pretty sure that the user would understand and post another question. This is based on my experience in the past.

Besides if the expert thinks that it not a big hassle, then the experts should provide the solution and make the format clear at the same time!!

3) its very saddening to see your efforts go down the drain when people ask Q's but dont follow up. i dont know if there is anything EE can do about it. But as an individual i tend to avoid answering any further questions from such users.

Another recent trend i have noticed is that a lot of PERL Q's are being posted in the CGI forum. Again i think its the responsilbility of the individual answering the Q to point out to the asker that in the future, he/she must post that Q to the PERL forum and also provide the URL to the PERL forum.

my .02 cents.

LVL 19

Author Comment

by:Kim Ryan
ID: 2725186
On point 1, I still think even novices should try to structure there questions well. If a program fails at a certain line, then tell us this information. Inputs are just as important. I personally find a huge source code dump the most unsatisfying of questions to answer.

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