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"The tone" towards newbies - IMHO


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#1 Eisot

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 04:44 PM

I wish "the tone" would be kinder to noobs in the Q & A board. It is after all a Q & A board and it does not say anything about it only being for pros.

 

Not everyone is able to put code together after reading the manual. Many, maybe even most, watch and learn from tutorials, videos and snippets of code. Many are "picture people" that have problems seeing the logic in code and thus rather follow tutorials to find the logic and understand why stuff happens. It does not by default mean they are lazy or trying to skip steps, they just want to understand what is happening.

 

I have been part of various programming tool boards for the past 20 years and most are very friendly without any "find it yourself" attitude. For example study boards like Unreal, Unity and most other and you may learn how one can support newbies. If you consider the question being a "stupid question" (which actually does not exist IRL) no one is forcing you to answer it or comment. 

 

Invite noobs to ask any Qs without them being worried of getting their head bitten off or forced to stand in the shame corner and scared away from GM for ever. One day they may be the ones knowing enough to help others in a friendly manner thanks to you. 

 

IMHO.


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#2 Xer0botXer0

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 06:13 PM

Hmm.

 

Thank you for sharing your view point, I am in the learning stages and I've found the GM community most helpful.

Sometimes, very so seldom someone wants the GMC to explain how to create an mmorpg open world sandbox slash pikachu.

So there is a bit of, start with the manual sense there.

 

When you ask for the definition of a word, one can answer, when you ask for ten definitions, we tell you to use a dictionary, because give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he's set for a life time.

 

In regards to not many being able to read from the manual, we all have the innate ability to define words.

It requires connecting already known words together to identify another.

Programming is not far off, there are principles. Some people understand things when using metaphors of figures of speech or demonstrations.

I think what's really really great about a forum is that it allows for OP to post a question or misunderstanding or such, and in response as many people as are aware can respond with their own ways of teaching/helping.

 

Just as some people are not good learners, others are not good teachers.

And by good I mean, some people dont know how to ask the right questions which will allow them to receive more accurate responses.

And some teachers or advisers may not provide the most optimal response/lesson.

Yeap that's about it from my side.

 

Just felt like posting, I do think we're all trying our best. :)


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#3 NakedPaulToast

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 07:19 PM

[snip]

 

 

I wish people wouldn't exaggerate edge cases and portray them as being common place or the norm.

 

I also wish people would more accurately portray their observations. Rarely are people chastised simply for being new or not knowing something. It is the effort or lack there of, that generates harsher tones.


Edited by NakedPaulToast, 27 January 2016 - 07:24 PM.

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#4 Eisot

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 10:51 AM

Good points both of you. 

 

I have also been helped every time and appreciate it a lot. And I did not mean "the attitude" is a general rule but it happens and it makes me a bit sad. That's all. :)


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#5 Lindion45

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 11:06 AM

I have been part of various programming tool boards for the past 20 years and most are very friendly without any "find it yourself" attitude. For example study boards like Unreal, Unity and most other and you may learn how one can support newbies.

An unfriendly attitude is definitely a bad thing, however I'm not sure I've seen very much of it on the GMC at all. Definitely no more than other communities.

 

But honestly, if you lack the "find it yourself" drive, simply relying on existing tutorials to finish your game, you're probably not gonna end up anywhere you want to be.


Edited by Lindion45, 28 January 2016 - 11:07 AM.

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#6 Braffolk

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 11:11 AM

Well, I honestly haven't seen any out of place comments to newbies by the older users.

If you are speaking of cases such as this

 

<link removed>

 

where the person asks for tips on how to make the whole game from start to end then I don't think the comments are out of place. The QA forum is not for helping you create a game from start to end, it's to help you with specific GML related questions.

 

Could you show us an example of what you believe to be "the tone" towards the newbies?


Edited by chance, 28 January 2016 - 12:34 PM.
Let's avoid posting specific examples, or calling out members.

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#7 Eisot

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 11:58 AM

But honestly, if you lack the "find it yourself" drive, simply relying on existing tutorials to finish your game, you're probably not gonna end up anywhere you want to be.

 

 

@Lindion45, I absolutely agree!

 

@Braffolk, that thread is a good thread. :)

Don't want to post links and point fingers at anyone, we are all part of the "GMC family" and I am not trying to get at anyone, my post is not meant as a hostile post. :)


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#8 Braffolk

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 12:01 PM

@Braffolk, that thread is a good thread. :)
Don't want to post links and point fingers at anyone, we are all part of the "GMC family" and I am not trying to get at anyone, my post is not meant as a hostile post. :)

You don't have to point fingers, i was just asking for an example, if you accuse the "pros" of having "the tone" against GM newbies then you should have examples because people will interpret it quite differently. Just make up an example so that everyone knows what's "the tone" you are speaking about.


Edited by Braffolk, 28 January 2016 - 12:01 PM.

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#9 Eisot

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 01:13 PM

A couple of made up examples based on real posts.

 

1. A person asks why his code is not working and posts the code. He/she also mentions that they found the code in a tutorial and that it works fine besides this particular situation and asks what he/she is doing wrong.

One of the answers is: "Stop copying and pasting code when you don't understand what it does. Read the manual."

The newbie responds with something like: I read that part in the manual but do not get it maybe because I'm used to other programming languages. But thanks any way, I will try to figure it out myself.

 

2. Another person is more lost and clearly have no clue where to turn. They mention they have read the manual but has problems understanding the connections and logic.

The help is good but with a comment at the end in the line of: "Had you tried a bit harder you could have figured it out yourself."

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

These examples may seem harmless but if you are new and struggling it can be destructive.

 


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#10 Lindion45

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 01:22 PM

"Stop copying and pasting code when you don't understand what it does. Read the manual."

Is that an extremely condensed quote, or was it actually as blunt as that?
 
For example:

"Perhaps it might be better to start with individual scripts, rather than pasting a big chunk of code you don't understand. Then you'll be able to approach it at a speed better suited for you. The manual is probably the best place!"

this says exactly the same thing, but obviously much less rude!


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#11 Suspense

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 07:56 PM

I've seen people talk about copying and pasting in almost those words verbatim.

 

I'm new to GML, but I've dabbled in programming for years on and off.

 

I can think of a few members by name that this may be directed at and I think I understand why those members sometimes answer in the way they do.

 

Some people here are reading a lot of topics for the sake of helping people. Reading through a lot of topics, they will surely run into many topics that are simply asking for a code to be written for them. Some people, in all honesty, aren't trying to learn; they are wanting it done for them.

 

These members who want to help read ten or fifteen of these and begin getting aggravated. They open the sixteenth and it's a person who may actually be wanting help, but has worded it poorly. Our hypothetical veteran has now had enough of this crap and lashes out with a simple, "Read the manual. We aren't going to build your game for you."

 

I've seen it a few times and it's not the best way but I understand why it happens.

 

The veteran programmers should try to be more patient but the newbies should also try to show that they've tried by themselves.

 

When I've seen posts with an attempted code in the original post, I have noticed the responses are usually much better.


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#12 Rusty

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 08:14 PM

I wish "the tone" would be kinder to noobs in the Q & A board.

Last year on Skype, a person (who shall remain nameless), cried over voice chat because I wouldn't simply hand them the solution to the problem they were facing with their GML. By last year, I mean December and by nameless, I mean you know who you are.

The people who browse the GMC Q&A section are spending their time to help countless newbies and veterans alike with their coding, game design and general Game Maker usage problems. During this time, we treated with disrespect, we are ignored, we shift through the absolute worst grammar and all for some kid who is probably going to give up on GML when he discovers that it's not the high ride to xBox live bestseller fame and hipster girls wearing oversized glasses the size of their heads.

We shift through these topics because we want to help you. We want to help you learn, we want to help you with making your dream game, everybody's got one tucked away back there. So when newbies start complaining about how mean we are or how we don't help, it can get old fast. So a member or two might be a little snappy with you, that member has probably responded to forty messages and got ten thank yous, they are allowed to be a little grumpy.

So really, take this to heart when I say this. Stop your whining, ask a question if you have one, report any members who start crossing the line into personal attacks and shut up about how the rest of us who come to your help for absolutely nothing.

Edited by Rusty, 28 January 2016 - 08:16 PM.

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#13 Eisot

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 09:15 PM

@Rusty & Suspense, very good points about the helping out with lots of questions and getting tired. I can relate to that and apologize for not thinking that far myself. 

And while looking for examples I came across a couple of examples where the one asking questions clearly did not follow the suggestions given but just asking more questions. If I'd been the one giving support I would not have handled the situation well.  :wink:

 

As Rusty said, I'll stop whining and lets drop the subject. :)

 

 


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#14 GameGeisha

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 10:32 PM

A couple of made up examples based on real posts.

 

1. A person asks why his code is not working and posts the code. He/she also mentions that they found the code in a tutorial and that it works fine besides this particular situation and asks what he/she is doing wrong.

One of the answers is: "Stop copying and pasting code when you don't understand what it does. Read the manual."

The newbie responds with something like: I read that part in the manual but do not get it maybe because I'm used to other programming languages. But thanks any way, I will try to figure it out myself.

 

2. Another person is more lost and clearly have no clue where to turn. They mention they have read the manual but has problems understanding the connections and logic.

The help is good but with a comment at the end in the line of: "Had you tried a bit harder you could have figured it out yourself."

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

These examples may seem harmless but if you are new and struggling it can be destructive.

 

 

So if a novice isn't being mollycoddled, it's destructive? Have you ever heard of tough love? Have you ever heard of a reasonable expectation for effort (i.e. the opposite of "A+ for effort")?
 
I tell people to stop guessing and consult the Manual all the time. Being used to another language (or none at all) doesn't mean you get to pass up instructions written in plain English, way too often the answer is in there. They really could have figured it out if they just bit the bullet, re-read the instructions and tried again, the same way I did a decade ago.
 
I also tell others that they aren't trying hard enough all the time. This line I save for people not tracing simple code (sometimes as simple as bracket boundaries, which requires no programming experience), people who fail to re-read instructions for important detail. They really could have figured it out if they just bit the bullet, retraced their steps and tried harder, the same way I did a decade ago.
 
And yes, I know you are talking about me, I need no anonymity regarding this issue. In fact I directed similar tones at you personally when you tried to whine your way out of networking functions last year. My bluntly worded "stop believing that nonsense" command hit home immediately, the other softer suggestions never dashed your hopes of an infeasible solution.
 
Would you have continued your whining and make no progress on that or anything else in life, had I not uttered those words?
 
I once read about a tradition at US Navy SEAL training camps, renown worldwide for its rigour. Instead of being fenced in with no way out, it liberally lets people go. At the beginning of training, the drill sergeant would show everyone a bell hung on a post, and tell the cadets that anyone can ring it at any time to pack up without penalty.
 
Instead of AOL-style retention centres, the GMC needs that boot camp bell at the door --- a will to let go of people who show no promise of lasting and incentivize them to leave for something else.
 
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#15 Eisot

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 11:29 PM

@GameGeisha, I thought you had a good and for me helpful answer to my question in that thread at the link, and I said so too. I did not feel a negative tone towards me in your answer. Should I have? 

 

Yes, one of the examples above is about you. You do tend to sound upset and angry sometimes. :)

 

As I mentioned earlier I am and have been part of forums for many years, 3D, game engines and other programming tools and have not encountered this before which is why I reacted and got curious to why it is happening. 

 

I also want to point out that I am nothing close to hostile or trying to stir things up, on the contrary I am usually all smiles. :)

 

 


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#16 Loaf

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Posted 28 January 2016 - 11:47 PM

When I was younger I found the GMC to be incredibly forgiving to my badly phrased questions and requests for free code (and my arrogance and rudeness too!)

 

The GMC has changed a lot since then but I still believe the Q&A is a very welcoming place for newbies. If your experience has been different, that is disappointing, but there are ways a newbie can avoid getting unwanted hassle. 

 

Be clear in your topic about what the issue is: what you have tried, what you are trying to achieve, and what code you are currently using.

 

I've seen topics go sour because:

  • The poster doesn't provide enough information and gets upset that nobody is helping
  • The poster is asking an unrealistic question and is not willing to learn
  • The poster is really just demanding free code and doesn't want any other form of help
  • The poster will argue with people trying to help because he / she does not like the answer and wants an easy option
  • The poster has demonstrated no effort to search through other topics or read the manual

People are giving their free time to help these newbies, so I don't blame anyone for getting frustrated at either of the five situations above.


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#17 Andy

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Posted 29 January 2016 - 12:39 AM

I personally have not seen many mean spirited people in the Q&A.

I do agree, telling someone to "read the manual" alone, without directing them to a certain part of the manual, is wrong. I just do not come across this much.


Edited by Andy, 29 January 2016 - 12:40 AM.

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#18 Eisot

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Posted 29 January 2016 - 08:12 AM

It got very late here and I needed some sleep. 

 

Would like to address a few more of your comments if you don't mind GameGeisha.

And no need to be rude or insulting I get your point without it. Be happy, friendly and try to see the positive side of posts they are not war declarations. :)

 

So if a novice isn't being mollycoddled, it's destructive?

Could be for certain young individuals, yes. Especially if GM is their first try at game making.

 

 

.... and make no progress on that or anything else in life, had I not uttered those words?

 

Why would anyone's life stop if an answer has a friendly tone?

I have done well with my programming and game making for three decades before joining this forum. Since the general internet arrived and forums appeared I have seen lots of individuals doing great progress after being helped with friendly answers.


I once read about a tradition at US Navy SEAL training camps, renown worldwide for its rigour. Instead of being fenced in with no way out, it liberally lets people go. At the beginning of training, the drill sergeant would show everyone a bell hung on a post, and tell the cadets that anyone can ring it at any time to pack up without penalty.
 
Instead of AOL-style retention centres, the GMC needs that boot camp bell at the door --- a will to let go of people who show no promise of lasting and incentivize them to leave for something else.

 

Do I understand this right, if GM users can not handle a tough attitude and unfriendly tone in the answers they should leave the forum all together?  On the other hand help without the military bell at the gate seem to work well too. :)

 

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#19 Nocturne

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Posted 29 January 2016 - 08:27 AM

As forum administrator, I take this kind of thing very seriously... I've strived over the years to make the GMC as forgiving and inclusive as possible, and can only say that if you see posts that you consider rude or disrespectful then you should report them and something will done. Obviously this is not 100% guaranteed as sometimes a little dose of reality is required now and then, and there is often no easy or polite way to tell someone they are wrong or that we are not going to make their game for them, but in general I like to think that most cases where a user is obviously being rude or overly aggressive then we'll tell them.

 

As for the harsher ideas that are being shown by certain members here, I disagree wholeheartedly. I've watched countless members start out without a clue and ask for code snippets or post full projects and request that people "fix" them only to be told (politely and with respect) that no, that's not how things work. These members have then realised their mistake and gone on to become "power" users of GM and in turn impart their knowledge here on the forums to people that are like they once were. Having a policy whereby we agree to help users rather than tell them "shape up or ship out" is what kept these people going and is what helped them to become the helpful and independant members that we have today. A harsher attitude would only have scared them off and deprived the world of some great games...

 

Young people in particular are sensitive to this kind of behaviour and since you have no way of knowing the age nor the capacities of a user, it's better to err on the side of caution and if in doubt JUST DON'T POST. A user that repeatedly posts demanding that their project be fixed and who receives no replies will quickly realise that they are doing something wrong and either give up (in which case this is obviously not for them) or change and learn. No need for us to browbeat them into submission. 

 

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