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Comment I just won Buzzword BINGO for the week! (Score 1) 15

From the abstract: "Through this pilot project, Roadtrip Nation will lay the groundwork and provide proof-of-concept for a CS Roadtrip, leveraging a combination of multimedia deliverables, an evidence-based educational curriculum, and dynamic engagement strategies (a triple score!!!) that will provide critical connections between students' natural interests, positive role models who align with those interests, and corresponding CS educational and career pathways. To that end, the CS Roadtrip Pilot will develop up to four student-facing videos that feature the stories of diverse computing professionals, appropriate for on-air, online, and classroom purposes, along with the appropriate Learning Guides."

This sure reads like a marketing pitch at an ISV. This should be part of next week's Dilbert run.

Comment Re:Tested in the courts (Score 1) 115

Employ? Who says anything about employment?

Implement a "public forum" where all applications are published and input from the broad public can be gathered - if someone knows prior art, or is able to point out triviality of the patent (e.g. "[doing an extremely common thing] over the Internet" ) they can post it and the USPTO clerk will just reject the application without further ado.

Comment Re:He did jot adress the dubplicates issue (Score 1) 76

The solution is:

- ask the question one more time.
- link previous "duplicates"
- tell exactly how they don't answer it
- tell what you expect from the answer, that the accepted answer doesn't have.

Example. The original question asked "how to deal with the problem". My question was "Why the problem exists; what are its potential consequences?" - I had to state I'm not looking for solution but for a rationale, not "do it because standard says so" but "what rationale lies behind this entry in the standard?" - it was three close-votes down before I got the point across.

Another one, not on SO but on Arquade, one of SE sites. A Minecraft question, which was at first deemed a duplicate... except the original was about the Creative mode, and mine was about Survival, making the (trivial) answers for the original useless in my context. Again, underlying the difference... made all the difference.

So: Just re-ask the non-duplicate, just make sure to show clearly why and how it's non-duplicate.

Comment Re:"Not in THIS Stack Exchange site!" (Score 1) 76

Nicely ask in the question that if it doesn't belong here, could you (please) be redirected to the right site? :)

"Programmers.SE" is also a good site for questions that can't be answered with a snippet of code. You may get a better track record asking there - especially that it's not so ridden with competition between vicious addicts of the karma that swarm every new question and fill it with loathing if they find they can't gain any karma to be earned from it.

Also, if the situation was regular, it would be a good idea to bring it up in, asking for advice.

And if the answer is "there is no site in the SE network that would be a good match for your questions currently", the right course of action might be a visit to ...

Comment Re:Three cheers for selfishness! (Score 1) 76

Yeah, I'm sure to master systemd from reading its manpages.

Good documentation is hard to come by. Most of documentation out there seems to be more of a logbook where developers log their achievements and describe what they made in terms only they can understand. It's way too often unreadable for the outsiders.

A good documentation needs a document that describes the structure of the whole thing, how its elements influence each other and how the user can affect them. Provide usage patterns, examples with explanation of what and how is being done, caveats, processes.

Most of documentation, instead, lists available functions in alphabetic order, with perfunctory descriptions of their parameters and vestigal mentions of their purpose. Mapping intended action -> sequence of functions is about impossible for anyone not already trained in the system. Instead of "How to do [task X]" you get "which [mysterious parameter] does knob Y tweak?"

Imagine trying to learn flying an airplane given only a list of names, locations and briefest descriptions of every switch, dial and knob in that airplane.

Comment Re:Three cheers for selfishness! (Score 1) 76

In the (not so rare) cases where a question was closed as a duplicate even though it was not, the right course of action is to act the question for a third time. This time - underlying differences and focus; linking the existing "duplicates" and telling how they don't answer what you need. It works.

Also, don't treat every single closure as a "punishment".

"Duplicate" closures mean people still get the correct answer (at the original question) but they still provide alternative paths to find it.

"Migration" closures mean there are people better qualified to answer that elsewhere, so you're better off going there.

"Too broad" closures - you really won't obtain a comprehensive answer because it's impossible; it would require a library, not an answer entry. In these cases Either split your question into smaller, bite-sized chunks or explicitly ask for a shallow, broad summary of the topic.

Also, before you ask a question that has numerous possible answers, think how are you going to pick that single "correct" one. If you know some quality that would let you choose, include it. If you don't - you should really rethink your question.

Also, in case "is there any...?" type of questions, don't hesitate to state "this is a yes/no question, I'm not asking to list all, just drop me any single example or 'none' if there is none." Some mods are allergic to list questions and unless you narrow it down sufficiently, it will be closed. Same about short, closed lists - if the list goes on and on with no way to find its tail, the question is too broad. But if the list is like "which out of these five?" then its answer will not exceed five items and it should be perfectly acceptable. And sometimes people forget "none" is a valid answer, it's good to remind that in the question.

Last but not least, each site has its chat. If you have trouble formulating a neat question, you can drop in and ask for help there. Not for answer as such, but help in phrasing your question right.

e-credibility: the non-guaranteeable likelihood that the electronic data you're seeing is genuine rather than somebody's made-up crap. - Karl Lehenbauer