Re: Helping newbie coders, how much effort to put?

From: Daniel Koepke (
Date: 02/18/97

On Tue, 18 Feb 1997, Walter Goodwin wrote:

> Ack, which thread is this?   Anyways, going under the assumption this
> is the "helping newbies" thread,  I see the biggest problem is helping
> too much.  For instance, going into their code and debugging it for them.
> They won't _learn_ anything from that.  Instead, give them hints, suggestions,
> and methods which they can then use to debug their own code.  Once they
> learn how to do something, they won't have to ask for help on that subject
> again.   But if you do it for them with the pretense of showing them how,
> then they are going to have to ask again, and again, until they finally
> pick up on how to do it.   Personally I'd like to see a massive "Adopt
> an Apprentice" program be put into place :)  Where a "veteran" coder would
> adopt a newbie, and give them pointers to help em out, etc.

And I thought I'd already adopted them all...I dunno, I personally
like cats more than newbie coders. Newbies are just to exciteable,
hopping all over you, sniffing your crotch, etc., etc.

Anyways, as to helping too much. It's rather hard to define that. I
think providing some small code is acceptable. I tend to explain what
is going on, especially when I'm providing fixes to code. In my mind,
this aids the novice by providing them with some knowledge and a
(fairly) clear explanation, along with the fix. This seems to work
by both showing them what they did wrong and telling them what they
did wrong.

In my experience, just providing the fix will be accepted (because
people don't realize just how easy it is to learn from your mistakes),
and only providing the explanation will get the person asking the same
question, or for an elaboration.

Oh, and to be perfectly off-topic, do you think I should add the
Ebonics version of my .sig's quote in there, too? ("My bad fatha',
'cuz I be sin.") You know, for the occassional laugh, for that nice
afterglow affect, to get that heat spreading from your errogenous
zones,, wow.

Daniel Koepke
Forgive me father, for I am sin.

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