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’d know this of course.  Often, 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.

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 x64 assembly language.  John gets on Stack-something or Gamedev since, hell, John wants to make game.  John asks what he should know before he get’s started since he’s smart enough not to ask the Wrong Question which would be anything beginning with “What if”, “Can I” and “How does..”.  Now programming is an elusive sport.  I call it a sport because:

A) It takes ingrained discipline to master.

B) Most people tend to enjoy it’s results but wouldn’t bother to get involved.

C) Anyone can “try it” but most people don’t stick with it. Which goes back 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.

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.  Since outside of that niche you really do need some skill outside of 3rd party frameworks.  Still, there are those who seek to enter and so they may ask questions.

So, 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 assembly language, not C++ or Java.  Shitty answer, but it probably got voted up to high heaven.  Below that would be people telling him about their experiences with it, cool.  After those it’d be people arguing about C 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.  John starts looking into some of the recommended books.  These books, lucky him, are at least fairly modern since x64 isn’t 6502.  But they’re still verbose.  John ain’t no CS major.  John’s a fucking delivery boy. He’s also getting a little better at x64, just enough to write “Hello World!” off the top and do some arithmetic.  He’s feeling good but he’s a little impatient. What’s this C++ stuff again?  What’s that about Java?  He looks into it, he asks more questions that nobody really answers.

John is a native android developer now.  He knows a little C++ and Java, he’s with the times, he made a platformer for Android.  He never really learned x64 but he gets it.  He’ll never use it unless he develops kernels or drivers or something.  Since that’s what they all said. They were actually kind of right.  But he doesn’t owe his new skill to anyone because nobody really taught him anything.  He just got impatient, so he figured it out himself.

Don’t Miss: More “C” with That “C/C++” Please

- Doop

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