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Guide - How to ask questions in the Programming Forum
Blitz[VFF] 
18/12/06 5:29:13 PM
Titan

I thought the programming forum could do with a guide to asking programming questions ... in general, I think people are pretty good, but I think point 1 especially needs to be made clear to the programming forum newbies :)


1. The people in this forum are NOT here to do your school/uni assignments for you

As much as some people would like to think us programmers are a bunch of geeks with no lives, and would love to spend our spare time coding your entire bubble sort apps, I'd like to inform you that THIS IS NOT THE CASE!

We're here to assist you with problems you're having, and to help you learn. You will learn nothing by getting us to do it all for you, so it just ain't gonna happen ... even for bribes of cash and/or sexual favours, sorry :)

If you make an effort and post the code you've started, then we'll be more than glad to help out.


2. Have an informative title

If you'd like the right people into your thread asap, then grab their attention with the language you're having difficulties with and if possible, a brief description of the problem/error message.

Examples of a good title:
"Java - getting java.lang.NullPointerException"
"Having some C++ pointer issues"


3. Provide error messages

There's no use saying "Here's my C code, it doesn't work" as people helping will then have to go to the extra effort of setting up the code in their own environment, and testing it out to see what's happening.

If you get an error message/stack trace, copy and paste it (if possible) into the thread. This way you'll be providing us with the exact error message your code is throwing. This will make it easier for the problem to be tracked down by the helper and get a faster resolution to the helpee :)


4. Post code/code snippets and use the [ code][ /code] tags

Sounds fairly obvious, doesn't it? Yet I still see questions posted without any code provided.

If your codebase is huge, then just post the code of the area where the trouble hits. On the other hand, only posting the line of code where the problem hits may not be enough either.

A good rule of thumb would probably be to post more code instead of less code ... just ensure that you format it with the code tags ([ code][ /code] minus the spaces). Also note, that if you're posting a loop with array access that [ i] (minus the space) will bork the formatting. Just use j or k, or whatever instead.


5. Giving more information is better than less information

It's always better to provide more information than less. If you think the problem could be environmental, then let us know what your compiler/IDE is, what OS you're running, an SDK version etc

Most of the time that may be extraneous info, but at least it could save someone asking you extra questions, and once again may get you a quicker answer and assist the helper :)


6. Looking for a [insert language of choice here] tutorial?

Check here first before posting :)

http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/forums.asp?s=2&c=10&t=824


-------------------------


Hope this helps, and if anyone thinks anything else should be added to this guide, please let me know.


Edited by Blitz[VFF]: 20/12/2006 03:30:22 PM

-----
Quote by Ron Burgundy
If you don't think this song is the greatest song ever, I will fight you.

http://www.bwsolutions.net.au/

freespace 
18/12/06 11:23:50 PM
Hero
Guru


Another guide: http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/forums.asp?s=1&c=24&t=16

Good work :-)

-----
By perseverance the snail reached the ark.

http://www.shuningbian.net - blog
http://www.dailydiscovery.org - something new every day
its f reespace damn it!

zephyr 
18/12/06 11:41:23 PM
Hero
Titan


stickytastic! :-)


especially number 3, as 90% of compiler problems i see here can be explained by actually reading and understanding the errors and warnings your compiler outputs .

Same goes for many exceptions/stack traces, the information is there, you just have to interpret it.

-----
"It is better to be silent, and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt." (Confuscius)

Slace 
19/12/06 10:52:05 AM
Guru

aww here I was hoping for a tounge-in-cheek post :P

-----

$ cd /pub 
$ more beer

Why can't a programmer tell the difference between Halloween and Christmas?
Because OCT31 = DEC25

joeuno 
19/12/06 11:55:09 AM
Master

Here's a partly tongue in cheek post: How about supplying a template for posting these sorts of questions?

-----
Allright, sweethearts, you heard the man and you know the drill! Assholes and elbows!

spielentwickler 
19/12/06 2:29:54 PM
Champion

TEMPLATE:

I am having problem with some basic C++ code. It seems to compile ok, but keeps throwing an exception. Here is the code:

#include <iostream> 
using std::cout;
using std::endl;

class leet { };
class ferret : public leet { };

int main()
{
ferret deadFerret;
throw deadFerret;
cout << "woot" << endl;
}


I'm getting the following output:

terminate called after throwing an instance of 'ferret' 
Aborted


Please explain to me how I can get it to output "woot" at the end.

-----

         (__) 
(oo)
/------\/
/ | ||
* /\---/
~~ ~~
...."Have you mooed today?"...

Blitz[VFF] 
19/12/06 2:37:05 PM
Titan

#include <iostream>  
using std::cout;
using std::endl;

class leet { };
class ferret : public leet { };

int main()
{
//ferret deadFerret;
//throw deadFerret;
cout << "woot" << endl;
}

See how that goes ;)

Seriously though, I'm not sure if people would use a template ... once the new kiddies get a feel for how they should ask Q's here, then they probably won't be bothered coming in here each time to copy and paste the template to use it ... what do you guys think?

-----
Quote by Ron Burgundy
If you don't think this song is the greatest song ever, I will fight you.

http://www.bwsolutions.net.au/

joeuno 
19/12/06 3:35:49 PM
Master

realistically, templates only add layers of beaucracy we don't need :). I'm so used to filling out / looking at bug reports for a bug tracking software that the idea of templates jumped out.

-----
Allright, sweethearts, you heard the man and you know the drill! Assholes and elbows!

spielentwickler 
19/12/06 4:27:21 PM
Champion

I'd like to think some guidlines would be appropriate, templating it is going a bit far...

-----

         (__) 
(oo)
/------\/
/ | ||
* /\---/
~~ ~~
...."Have you mooed today?"...

tuvoky_wo 
20/12/06 1:59:12 PM
Overlord

Quote by Blitz[VFF]
I thought the programming forum could do with a guide to asking programming questions ... in general, I think people are pretty good, but I think point 1 especially needs to be made clear to the programming forum newbies :)


1. The people in this forum are NOT here to do your school/uni assignments for you

As much as some people would like to think us programmers are a bunch of geeks with no lives, and would love to spend our spare time coding your entire bubble sort apps, I'd like to inform you that THIS IS NOT THE CASE!

We're here to assist you with problems you're having, and to help you learn. You will learn nothing by getting us to do it all for you, so it just ain't gonna happen, sorry :)

If you make an effort and post the code you've started, then we'll be more than glad to help out.


2. Have an informative title

If you'd like the right people into your thread asap, then grab their attention with the language you're having difficulties with and if possible, a brief description of the problem/error message.

Examples of a good title:
"Java - getting java.lang.NullPointerException"
"Having some C++ pointer issues"


3. Provide error messages

There's no use saying "Here's my C code, it doesn't work" as people helping will then have to go to the extra effort of setting up the code in their own environment, and testing it out to see what's happening.

If you get an error message/stack trace, copy and paste it (if possible) into the thread. This way you'll be providing us with the exact error message your code is throwing. This will make it easier for the problem to be tracked down by the helper and get a faster resolution to the helpee :)


4. Post code/code snippets and use the [ code][ /code] tags

Sounds fairly obvious, doesn't it? Yet I still see questions posted without any code provided.

If your codebase is huge, then just post the code of the area where the trouble hits. On the other hand, only posting the line of code where the problem hits may not be enough either.

A good rule of thumb would probably be to post more code instead of less code ... just ensure that you format it with the code tags ([ code][ /code] minus the spaces). Also note, that if you're posting a loop with array access that [ i] (minus the space) will bork the formatting. Just use j or k, or whatever instead.


5. Giving more information is better than less information

It's always better to provide more information than less. If you think the problem could be environmental, then let us know what your compiler/IDE is, what OS you're running, an SDK version etc

Most of the time that may be extraneous info, but at least it could save someone asking you extra questions, and once again may get you a quicker answer and assist the helper :)


6. Looking for a [insert language of choice here] tutorial?

Check here first before posting :)

http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/forums.asp?s=2&c=10&t=824


-------------------------


Hope this helps, and if anyone thinks anything else should be added to this guide, please let me know.


Edited by Blitz[VFF]: 18/12/2006 05:30:34 PM



Nice work Blitz[VFF]! I like the strong emphasis on making people actually LEARN to program in whatever language chosen/used.

How about adding the fact that bribing programmers with money to do uni/school homework is not permitted ? Note there is a difference between being bribed and actually working for money. You could add that to point 1 :)

-----
"..Quantum Physics: The dreams stuff are made of .."

Blitz[VFF] 
20/12/06 3:30:46 PM
Titan

Cool, updated :)

-----
Quote by Ron Burgundy
If you don't think this song is the greatest song ever, I will fight you.

http://www.bwsolutions.net.au/

joeuno 
20/12/06 3:46:11 PM
Master

How can someone be bribed into doing homework or assignments? Bribing implicates the programming being corrupted by the work. Ok. Sorry. I think I just answered my own question. If someone pays me to work with VB6 that is a bribe . Why? Because I have, in a way, been corrupted .

-----
Allright, sweethearts, you heard the man and you know the drill! Assholes and elbows!

Blitz[VFF] 
10/1/07 11:48:50 AM
Titan

I think bribes are required to overlook some of the dodgy code that's posted here ... bit like when you bribe a cop to overlook that red light you just ran ;)

-----
Quote by Ron Burgundy
If you don't think this song is the greatest song ever, I will fight you.

iamthemaxx 
18/1/07 9:48:38 PM
Mod
Hero

Titan


There has been a few requests for this to be stickied.
So here we go!

Top work Blitz[VFF].

-----

blueibanez 
4/5/07 6:47:01 AM
Serf
I am new to this and I need some assistance with my online course. I need help writing an assembly program which inputs three 2 digit decimal numbers and compute their sum. if the sum is greater or equal to 100 (decimal) the output is 0; if the sum is greater than 50 but less than 100, the output is 1. For all other sum cases the output is negative one.

Can someone assist me with this. It based of the SAP 1 thru 3 instructions.

Thanl you


Edited by blueibanez: 4/5/2007 6:47:34 AM

-----

joeuno 
4/5/07 7:38:08 AM
Overlord

blueibanez, you'll need to create your own thread and then follow what Blitz has said :)

-----
Please allow me to introduce myself, Im a man of wealth and taste.
Ive been around for a long, long year. Stole many a mans soul and faith.

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