Re: [CODE]

From: George Greer (
Date: 06/20/00

On Mon, 19 Jun 2000, Jason Stortz wrote:

>Hey Oleg, got anything better to do than be a jerk?  Why do you even
>bother to send this in?  "WHAT? And after all that you can't find
>where...blah blah." Get over it, if you can't offer him some constructive
>advice then don't send anything at all.  You all need to calm down and
>get a grip.  Do any of the rest of you see this?  More often than not
>there are a lot of people that send in dumb questions or things you may
>think are easy.  Obviously they DO NOT think that way or they wouldn't
>have had to seek your advice.  Thanks to Oleg here I don't know why
>people even come to this listing for help when they get crap like this
>sent in reply.  What a waste of all our time and bandwidth.

Fortunately, I deemed this entire previous thread potentially inflammatory
when it started so this should be more rational that some of the previous
messages. Perhaps not but the list will be the judge of that.

There's a fine line between what is deemed worthy of help and what is taken
as a ZipMUD question. Frequently, I (and others I would think) judge that
based on the perceived amount of effort the poster has already given toward
the problem.  That doesn't necessarily mean the poster hasn't been pulling
their hair out over the problem, just that we don't think they have. It's
important for the poster to try in order to learn things themselves which
will help much more than asking five questions a day on the mailing list.
Imagine someone who wants you to drive them around in their car because
they don't know how to drive it yet or aren't comfortable with it.

Most of the good responses, or ones I even consider responding to, come
from posts where there is a detailed explanation of what the person is
trying to do, what they've already tried, and why it's not working.  For
the case of a compilation error, they generally describe what they want to
do, display the code in question, show the compiler or debugger error, and
point out any other relevant information such as what line of code
corresponds to the error.  Sometimes the person may get back three
different valid responses to the non-functioning code, it happened on the
list just a week or two ago.  The important part was giving us enough
information to help us help them.

That fine line frequently goes toward the "not worthy" as well.  Sometimes
messages pop up like "I have bpl14, DG Scripts xyz, and OasisOLC.  My MUD
crashes every few hours, can you tell me why?"  That doesn't help us in the
least and the best reply would be "updrade to bpl17" or some other vague
response that is a wild stab due to lack of a crystal ball.  That sort of
message also shows a lack of understanding and use of the debugger so even
if we did have more information about the problem, pinpointing it would be
a needle in a stack-trace.

This isn't a hard-and-fast rule by any means.  We've also seen a message
recently from someone who started their MUD over from a coding problem he
couldn't figure out.  The message obviously convinced us of the effort
level put into it as several people, in an odd turn of events, said he
should have asked on the mailing list for help before starting over.  When
in doubt, ask. We can generally prod necessary information out of people
who have a clue or at least point them in the right direction.  You may get
a flame or two, or ignored, if the question has been sufficiently covered
in the list archives (read the box below, people!), the FAQ, the WTFAQ, or
is covered in detail in an existing package on the FTP or Developer's site.
So this is a hint to check all of the above first.

>Was my reply a waste of time?  Yes, in my mind.  Someone, however, had to
>point this out and tell you all to stop sending replies like this.  If you
>can't just offer some real useable advice just don't send anything.

Your reply qualified on the 'lack of effort' scale.  Remember, that applies
to "perceived" effort, not necessarily your true effort. There was enough
information to understand what you wanted, but we shouldn't have needed to
answer it, honestly. The reason I felt that way is because a search like:

        fgrep -in color *.[ch]

would have been the best place to start out and wouldn't have taken long to
find the appropriate incantation you wanted. An appropriately similar
Windows search is available as well with 'Find Files' (F3) on the Start
Menu.  From there, a search on:

        fgrep -in 'new character' *.[ch]

would have given you the function init_char(), which is generally where
such a feature would go.  Perhaps you may claim I can think of those
searches off the top of my head because I work with the code.  I haven't
actually worked deeply on the code in longer than I would like to admit so
I'm more than a little rusty on the specifics.  I don't believe they are
contrived beyond reasonable expections, however.  Knowledge of the '-in'
parameters isn't completely necessary for this case either but it would
have made the search for PRF_COLOR* a lot shorter.

>P.S. "You all" are the people that send this stuff.  I actually began this
>note with intent to put names down of some people I've seen make AWESOME
>contributions.  Can't though, there are a lot of "You all contribution
>people" that rock.  KEEP IT UP.  For the rest of you, and if you've sent a
>reply like this you know who you are, just DON'T!

And we hope people will continue to learn and contribute.

George Greer

Now look what you made me do. I feel like Daniel. :)

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