There is more than one way to answer a question. If you’re a person who’s frequently put into a position where you must interact with other humans you already know this. Often though, you might not know what the fuck someone means exactly, based on the question they’ve asked you. Well then you take bits and pieces and connect the dots as best you can and base your response on that. If this was a behavioral studies course you’d hear the same thing.
We’ve been doing this since we were infants. Or at least we should have been. Unfortunately natural selection is a lot less selective nowadays so I can only speak for those of us who went out and collected the bits and pieces we needed to figure things out in the first place. You never asked where the proper place to take a shit was, you just took the hint. Or someone taught you really early on.
There is more than one way to solve a problem. Computer programmers live for this. Their lives are all about solving abstract problems. But you know what they say, everyone needs help at some point. How you get it is up to you, but most people just ask other people because it’s easy, sometimes. Asking anyone about programming online can either be really helpful or a massive waste of time that could have been spent just picking up a book, firing up a compiler (or an interpreter) and doing-it-yourself.
Here’s an example, John wants to learn C++. John gets on Stack-something or Gamedev since, hell, John wants to make game and this is where it’s at! John asks what he should know before he gets started because he’s smart enough not to ask the Wrong Question which would be anything beginning with “What if”, “Can I” and “How does..”
This is stupid and confusing which is why programming is such an elusive sport.
I call it a sport because:
A) It takes ingrained discipline to master.
B) Most people tend to enjoy its results but wouldn’t bother to get involved.
C) Anyone can “try it” but most people don’t stick with it. Return to A;
D) Sometimes, the people who are already “decent” at it probably won’t tell you The Secret to getting as good as they are or better. But they will vaguely answer questions about their processes.
These characteristics serve as the initial barrier of entry. Did I mention elitists? There are plenty in the programming camp. So, D alone makes forums half useless especially if you’re looking to do something besides game development. Still, there are those who seek to enter and so they may ask questions.
Anyway, John checks the forum and the first response is:
“I’d recommend C# or Java depending on the kind of game you want to make. I would not recommend assembly language because it is antiquated. Here’s a list of C# and Java tutorials..”
Which would be a fine answer, if John asked what the recommended language to make a game with was. John wants to pick up C++, not C# or Java. Shitty answer. And who the hell asked about ASM (assembly)? Still, it probably got voted up to high heaven.
Below that would be people telling him about their experiences with C++, cool. After those it would be people arguing about C (not ++) vs Java, whatever. At the bottom someone would recommend a book or two with “Godspeed” in their signature, better.
Nobody really answered the fucking question. John asks again on another forum with similar or slightly better results but his conclusion is still similar to the beginning sentence of this paragraph. So John starts looking into some of the recommended books. These books, lucky him, are at least fairly modern but very verbose. John ain’t no CS major. John works retail. He’s also getting a little better at C++, just enough to write “Hello World!” off the top and do some arithmetic.
He’s feeling good but he’s a little impatient and those books are LONG. What’s this Java stuff again? What’s that about C#? He looks into it, he asks more questions that nobody really answers.
A year later and John is a mobile developer now. He knows a little Swift and Java, he’s with the times, he made a platformer for Android. He never really learned C++ but he gets it. Sort of. He’ll never use it, they said. They were actually kind of right. Since he doesn’t know enough to anyway.
But he doesn’t owe his new skills to anyone because nobody really taught him anything. He just got impatient and figured it out himself.
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