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A little rant about new coders...

Discussion in 'HTML & Website Design' started by PoPSiCLe, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. #1
    Okay. I frequent this forum, and have started frequenting parts of Stack as well, just to "broaden my horizon" (and the fact that this forum doesn't feel as active anymore). I like to help people with their troubles with HTML, CSS and PHP, and hopefully learn something in the process.

    But, what I don't get is the seemingly utter lack of knowledge by the people asking for help. Maybe it's just me, but when I started coding HTML, about 13-14 years ago (probably more, I have no concept of time, really), I read and read and searched and searched, bought books, and so on, before even trying my first page. And when something didn't work as expected, I tried and tried over and over, before trying to find help - back then, mostly via Usenet.

    Today, it seems they watch a video on YT, tries, fails, and yells for help. They have absolutely no understanding of what they're doing, doesn't put in any effort at all, and basically just wants someone to fix it for them. Not to mention those taking a "HTML-class"... WHY in all that is holy, don't they have any checks for these classes? People with no clue about computers shouldn't start coding, even if it's something as simple as HTML/CSS.

    Yes, I am a grumpy old man, by all means. But I except at least a minimum of effort put in, before you cry for help. And if you do cry for help, please provide some code? Not an image of what you dream it should look like, or a poor description of the problem (more often than not using terms and descriptions that has nothing to do with the actual problem at hand).

    I just don't understand. HTML is pretty simple. It's almost impossible to get pure HTML wrong (granted, you can place things wrong semantically, and you can use the wrong syntax, but learning HTML should be done in about a day). Then it comes to CSS. Which gets a bit trickier, especially now if you jump straight into CSS3, with animations, more complex selectors etc. But still, the basic functionality is straight forward, and should be easy to learn, in maybe 2-3 days at most. THEN you can start with the trickier stuff, and perhaps even include some javascript. These days, I look at people saying
    and I see them trying to utilize javascript (often via jQuery or similar) to do simple stuff like showing and hiding stuff based on #href and IDs. It's a CSS-thing - you haven't even understood what it is you're trying to do.

    And then, of course, you have the abundance of Bootstrap issues. If this is supposed to make your life easier, why do so many people have problems with it? And how, if you have no bloody clue about the underlying basics, are you supposed to figure out why and how and if it's actually better (spoiler: it's not).

    I get saddened by the state of general stupidity.
     
    PoPSiCLe, Nov 21, 2016 IP
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  2. dwirch

    dwirch Well-Known Member

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    #2
    I'm with you, brother.

    Having been working in IT since *before* HTML existed, it is quite disheartening to see the laziness of some people in the industry today. (rant mode engaged!) Back in the days of yore, there was no YouTube, Wikipedia, Ask, Google, etc. When you bought a computer, it usually came with a manual that showed you how to get it running, some beginning programming concepts in BASIC, and pinouts (yes, pinouts!) for ports and other connections. If you didn't know how to do something, you went to the library, looked your info up in the card catalog, and studied the material. Sometimes, you had to order in a particular book or document, and wait weeks for it to show up.

    Remember swap meets? User groups? Compute! magazine? All sources of good info.

    What it boils down to is that some people today expect things to be handed to them without putting the work in that is required, which included the accumulation of knowledge. Some people see working in the field as a quick way to riches. What they don't realize is that it is not a get-rich-quick type of situation. Yes, we as IT professionals get paid a little more than minimum wage. However, if one takes the time to build knowledge and gain experience, one will go much, much farther.

    I used to be one of those guys that would jump all over a n00b, admonishing them to use their favorite search engine to find the glaringly obvious answer to their question. I've mellowed in recent years, though, and I usually will give those types of posts no more than a passing glance. Especially if it is obvious that the person simply snatched a chunk of code off of some random forum and was met with nothing but errors. Sometimes it can be funny, though. I once had a guy pissed at me for a piece of assembly code on my website. The code in question removes disk partitions, instantly. Despite the warnings on the page, he ran it, and was mad that it made his computer "die". That's what happens when you don't understand what you are doing.

    Eventually, people who expect everything to be done for them will end up in a situation where others will be unwilling to help them with them fake it through life, and they'll end up going back to MLM or slinging burgers at the local fast food franchise. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

    Sometimes though, there is that one person who is genuinely at the end of their rope. They've fiddled and fingered the code, Googled to the end of the interwebs, thoroughly exhausted their local geek, and they still can't find the answer. Those are the posts I watch for, for I dearly love a good puzzle. For those of us who enjoy broadening our knowledge, and helping others to do the same, this is the unicorn. The gold at the end of the rainbow.

    Go forth and do good, fellow graybeard.
     
    dwirch, Nov 21, 2016 IP
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  3. qwikad.com

    qwikad.com Illustrious Member Affiliate Manager

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    #3
    The software gurus and IT people are so stuck on themselves (not you guys, the people I had to deal with in the past) they have no clue anymore what it is like to be the one asking. I asked for help on stackoverflow several times and I swore to never ask for any help there again as it's overrun by the types that think it's their duty to tell everybody how dumb they are for asking stupid questions. Personally, I do not want that attitude to be carried over to DP. I get more help here than there, to be honest with you.

    And that fake "show me what you've done so far, then I will help you" thing is just that - stupid and fake. And here's why. There are days I can spend hours trying to figure something out, until I feel completely stuck. So for me it is easier to ask a question without showing what I've done so far, because what I've done so far doesn't work and is more confusing than the original version. I saw a few people here and on stackoverflow posting questions with "here's what I've done so far" solutions so that they could get a reasonable reply. But their "here's what I've done so far" solutions looked totally bogus.

    Why is it so important to you whether or not someone puts an effort in solving something before they ask for your help? You are there to help anyway, what difference does it make whether or not the person tried something? I guarantee you, if the person paid you, you wouldn't dare to ask "show me what you've done so far". So you keep harassing the noobs for daring to ask you for help free of charge. Seems to me that's the main reason for that pissy attitude.


     
    qwikad.com, Nov 21, 2016 IP
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  4. dwirch

    dwirch Well-Known Member

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    #4
    When someone sends me this piece of code:

    
    CFG_Conn="Driver={SQL Server Driver};Server=myserver.home.com;Database=MyMainDB;"
    Set objConn = server.CreateObject("ADODB.Connection")
    objConn.ConnectionString=CFG_Conn
    
    strSQL="Select ID,FirstName,LastName from NameTable"
    
    objConn.Open
    objConn.Execute(strSQL)
    objConn.Close
    
    Code (markup):
    and this error message:

    Application Error
    Number: -2147217843 (0x80040E4D)
    Source: Microsoft OLE DB Provider for SQL Server
    Description: Login failed for user 'NT AUTHORITY\ANONYMOUS LOGON'.


    No other information is given. No hint at what has already been tried. The only other information that is in the post/email/IM is "Broke, please fix".

    Hint: The error shows what the problem is (no user id or password in the connection string).

    I've actually gotten the above from some random person, through my website. When requesting help, it is important to note in the request certain things.
    • What is the environment? It's good know if we are dealing with a LAMP stack, Windows, or a mix. In the above example, in can be seen to be Windows/MS SQL, but sometimes it is not so clear.
    • What has been tried? In order to quickly propose a solution, it is good to know what has been attempted to remedy the situation, so I don't have to "backtrack", asking questions such as "did you try xxx?" We'll arrive a plan of action sooner if I know what has been done so far.
    • Have you consulted to documentation? Yes, I hate this one too. Nobody likes to be told to RTFM. But sometimes, refreshing myself from the documentation will show me where I missed that one crucial piece of information.
    I don't mind helping people. It's why I do what I do at my day job, why I've maintained a web site for just that purpose for over ten years, and why I can be found lurking around some of the previously mentioned sites some evenings. I love to help people.

    Just like OP though, I'm frustrated with the people who decided over lunch that is was high time for them to go into some form of IT, take a week long course in HTML, sell themselves into a contract for web design, and then expect the community to do their work for them.

    And to paraphrase, it's not all people, but it's becoming more prevalent.
     
    dwirch, Nov 21, 2016 IP
  5. ericastone

    ericastone Member

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    #5
    I can't agree more with you on this! Other trades as well fit exactly into this category...
     
    ericastone, Nov 21, 2016 IP
  6. badger_

    badger_ Greenhorn

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    #6
    I fully agree with the OP.

    Another problem is that most valuable advices and posts get buried under low quality content.
     
    badger_, Nov 22, 2016 IP
  7. kk5st

    kk5st Prominent Member

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    #7
    No question, @PoPSiCLe has the right of it. There are few things more frustrating than some goober (for the non-southerners, that's a peanut head) coming to the forum without having done a damned thing to help himself. If he had paid support, the help desk would be asking what had been done, which version was he using, which operating system and the version, had he read the effing manual, what was he trying to do as opposed to how he wanted to do it and more.

    The first question to anyone who hasn't otherwise made it clear is, "have you read the manual?" If this or other pertinent question piss you off, you should re-examine your sense of entitlements. Because, little snowflake, you are not entitled to anyone's time or knowledge.

    Keep in mind, we help because we enjoy problem solving and hope to learn something ourselves. There is no way one person can run into a really wide variety of development ideas or potential bugs. (Keep in mind that a bug solved in one place may suggest a solution in another.) This isfree, and no one here has any obligation to help you with your issue. Make it something we want to help with.

    Before anyone asks a question of the forum, read and digest
    How To Ask Questions The Smart Way by Eric Steven Raymond.

    Go ahead.

    Do it now.

    We'll wait.

    cheers,

    gary
     
    kk5st, Nov 22, 2016 IP
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  8. qwikad.com

    qwikad.com Illustrious Member Affiliate Manager

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    #8
    This is funny. The snowflake geeks defending their pissy attitude. "Whaaa-whaaa we're helping you all for free. Please, listen to our whining".

    That "better than thou" attitude is so disgusting, actually. I know that's what they all do in Europe, I guess, the same attitude is now creeping into the American mentality too.

    My point was and is, if you're helping - help like you mean it. There are a few members on DP that help without whining, so I know it can be done. Secondly, not everybody's out to take advantage of you. Most people are like me (I hope). 99% of the time I ask for help ONLY if I couldn't figure it out on my own. Just because I don't post the dumb "here's what I've done so far" doesn't mean I didn't work on it prior to that. You should look at every person case-by-case and not lump everybody together into one category. You don't like when I lump all of you together into a stinky pile of whining geeks, do you? Or maybe you don't care. Then I don't give a damn either.


     
    qwikad.com, Nov 23, 2016 IP
  9. PoPSiCLe

    PoPSiCLe Illustrious Member

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    #9
    Oh, most of us do. Look at the person asking, take into account previous interactions, and so forth. However, if it's a new, random person asking VERY silly questions, often accompanied by "it doesn't work"-statements (for Stack Overflow, the best ones are "here's my code, I made a snippet, it doesn't work" - and it does. It totally works, RIGHT THERE ON THE SCREEN, a blue button below the question - haven't they even tested their own test-case?).

    The point is - we like to help, or else we wouldn't be here. However, helping is a lot easier when we have a starting point. If someone asks "well, I have a bit of HTML, and some CSS, and it doesn't work as I want it to work" - without even providing a single line of code, we have nothing to work with. Yes, we can write something that will do what s/he wants, probably (not always though, if the question is written in pidgin-english with no real vocabulary) - but will they learn anything from such an approach? My vote is "no".

    As for the other statements, I think some of the major problem-solving skills "old-skool" people have, is that we started before the Internet. We didn't have the benefit of thousands of people, forums, websites, Google etc. We had to figure stuff out "the hard way", or (in the beginning), via Usenet-posts that might get an answer in a day or two. The point is that we learned to exhaust all possibilities.
     
    PoPSiCLe, Nov 23, 2016 IP
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  10. kk5st

    kk5st Prominent Member

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    #10
    Don't forget those early mail-lists. B4 the internet, I used spare cycles on large int'l corp systems, e.g. General Electric's Genie. system..

    Mail lists had the advantage of pushing content out to the members. Woe be to those who wasted their time by not providing the info needed to solve a problem or those who reacted childishly when more info was requested
     
    kk5st, Nov 23, 2016 IP
  11. badger_

    badger_ Greenhorn

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    #11
    Mailing lists use to have better signal/noise ratio and are great. I use to browse http://marc.info/
     
    badger_, Nov 24, 2016 IP