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Expert notification thread.

Hi Experts,

We often need to communicate with each other for collaborative efforts and getting some matters to the attention of fellow experts. This thread is for fulfilling these objectives.

Please subscribe to this thread *without* posting to it. Use the 'subscribe' link just above where you normally post a comment.

Please post in this thread only when you have something that you would like everyone (fellow experts) to look at e.g. some difficult/interesting question where you think more opinions might be helpful. Remember to post a link to the question in question :-)

Please remember that lot of members might be listening to thread and they will all get an email for your post so please avoid chit chat. If you think the matter needs to be discussed, start a separate thread and post the link here. I shall refund you the points for the new thread.

Would ONE person please post here to stop the auto-deleter from killing this question.



P.S. Thanks to sunnycoder for the original text of this comment. His name lives on :-)
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Kent OlsenData Warehouse Architect / DBACommented:
Hi Paul,

As much as I hate being the sheep, lemming, or similar follower, here ya go.   :~}


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PaulCaswellAuthor Commented:

Please be aware that there are two notification threads, each for a different process. The other one is here:


PaulCaswellAuthor Commented:

I have recently been involved in a 'discussion' about homework questions so I would like to expand a little on my opinions. Please bear in mind that these are my opinions only and may not be the official line taken by EE but as PE here I understand that I have a little leeway in this area. This does, however, I think, keep us well within the official rules.

1. Most important of all, we DO NOT DO homework but we DO HELP with homework.

This means that just giving them the answer is a total NO-NO! Full source is especially bad because it is too tempting for a student to blindly copy the answer and submit it without understanding it.

If a student posts a question we must assume that they are honestly wanting only help, even if they do not say so.

I will immediately remove any answers of this type as they are totally against EE rules. See 'Homework' and 'Academic Honesty' on the help pages.

2. Be kind, or dont post.

Students are often newbies to EE and will usually be scared off by arguments amongst ourselves or accusations of dishonesty. If you believe it is a homework question and you dont wish to help or you believe it is wrong to help, just dont post.

3. Please don't compete, work together.

I know that competition for points is one of the joys of EE but try not to on homework questions. It detracts from the aim of the process which is to gently guide the asker to an understanding of both the problem and the solution.

4. Remember that their teachers also have access and may be watching.

It is very easy to forget this one and it can sometimes be worthwhile reminding the asker of this. If we help too much it might cause them trouble or even lead to expulsion from their course.

5. Be encouraging.

Students will often be disappointed that they are finding this problem so difficult that they have to ask for help. Help them understand that programming is complex, even for professionals like us and asking for help is something they will need to do as professionals so they may as well get used to it now.

6. If its easy, its probably homework.

C is an old language. Few people are employed nowadays to work in C without any training or knowledge. There are times when a simple question is posted by a non-student but that is rare.

7. If they just say it's not, it probaly is.

If you have children, you will probably understand. If you dont, just trust me.

8. Allow youself to be convinced that it is not homework but be sure!

Given all the above, there are some simple questions that are not homework but be very careful. You can severely damage someones career if they get thrown out of college.

9. Take a look at the askers profile.

This seems obvious but is easy to forget. If asker has been a member for 3+ years it is probably not homework.

And finally, if you do see a full-code solution to what you think might be a homework question, post here:


with the url of the question and, if you think I migh be offline, post a question in Community Support:


With a title including the word 'Homework'. Hopefully, a moderator will be watching and will step in.


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Oh, well you mean I should try to hide that I help someone cheating?
Forget it. I won't be kind to anyone trying that. If the tutors read this also then they hopefully know how to treat the mentioned person. It can't be my business to figure out what might drive the OP. If it's a currency conversion program you know that it's homework....

9 is an advice I should keep on my mind. The others are very questionable.

PaulCaswellAuthor Commented:
Thanks Friedrich.

The essence of the difference, in my view, is that we dont do anything their tutor or a knowledgeable parent wouldnt do when asked the same question. In this way we are only providing the same assistance that is freely available to them from official sources. Hopefully, this allows us to continue to be helpful.

By all means dont post if you feel there would be something wrong with assisting someone, for whatever reason. That must be your choice and I will support that view in anyone who wishes to take it. Also, as a more discriminating expert, I would hope that you will also post here to alert me of anyone else giving too much or not the right kind of help.

Thankyou for your input.

This is probably not the place to discuss this, but I just like to make a small remark ... If someone asks a question regarding his/her homework, there's a huge difference between "Can you give me the solution ?" and "Can you help me find the solution ?". My policy with any question that supposedly is homework, is to treat it as a question of the second kind (even if the asker really asked the first). By guiding the asker in solving the problem on his/her own, you effectively answer the question for help with homework, without doing the work for them.

An asker always has a reason for asking help with homework. Whether it be laziness/disinterest/... or just needing a pointer in the right direction and advice from people more experienced in the domain of the question. While you might argue that the former reasons don't deserve a reply, it's my opinion that it's still worth it to try to convince them to try to solve the problem themselves (with the guidance of the experts). If that's in vain, it's their loss.
The latter kind however always deserves our full attention ... the expert's experience should be spread out as much as possible, and the sooner someone can benefit from that experience, the better imo. (And how can it be sooner than with a homework assignment :) ).

Mmm, I actually wrote more than I planned ... feel free to remove this post if you feel it's out of place in this thread.
PaulCaswellAuthor Commented:

I should have specified:

>>If a student posts a question we must assume that they are honestly wanting only help, even if they do not say so.


0. If a student posts a question we must assume that they are honestly wanting only help, even if they do not say so.

I totally agree! :-)

PaulCaswellAuthor Commented:
This made me laugh! Not sure if it is deliberately awful or not but if it is it shows a wide cruel streak.


:) Well, it won't even compile (typo in main with strlen(len) eg.), so that's a downside if it was deliberate :)
PaulCaswellAuthor Commented:
I hadn't noticed that one! :-(

I suppose its one way to get a student to do their homework. Force them to spend hours debugging. I just couldn't believe how many mistakes there are!

I count about a dozen problems, around half of them actual mistakes, the other half just bad practice. It certainly wont work, even if the strlen you pointed out was fixed.

>> It certainly wont work, even if the strlen you pointed out was fixed.
Just mentioned the first one i noticed heh :) Didn't look at all the rest ... but now that i do ... I think this is T-shirt material hehe
PaulCaswellAuthor Commented:
Hi All,

With the upcoming release of the new EE interface, I have been asked to collect a number of keywords that could indicate that a question might be better on the C page. I need up to around 20.

Here's a start:


Any more ideas?

Kent OlsenData Warehouse Architect / DBACommented:


mingw, cygwin, gcc, gdb, solve homework questions ;-) ....

Would names of popular libraries like pthreads be a good inclusion? ..
May be we should start a separate 0 pointer thread for this. Currently, lot of experts would get notifications which they might not wish to receive.
PaulCaswellAuthor Commented:
Good idea sunycoder!


Please repost your suggestions, as well as yours Kent :-)

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