Any ideas?

"I need to do some poorly described task. Any ideas?"

Next posts try to get the description cleared up and I swear the Q&A gets nowhere but the OP ends every go-nowhere post with "Any ideas?". This isn't just the latest one, every so often the same pattern comes by always ending with "Any ideas?"

My idea: Is it idea-farming or trolling? Is it even worse, a marketing course assignment?

inexperienced person tries to accomplish some goal, trying to save time and effort he/she utilizes forum as a medium trying to get an opinion of more experienced people. Fast paced technologic progress makes this process even more useful, quite often tutorials/guides made few years ago present methods less effective than the current ones. Idea farming... I'd rather call it... communication

Seems to me it just indicates a mind devoid of ideas - and of the ability to absorb and develop concepts from the replies that are provided.

Maybe someone whose life experience so far is getting things without any effort.

...R

In order to produce a microcontroller breakout board, that costs about 25 dollars (such as an Arduino Uno) many customers are needed. Therefore, hobby electronics are marketed to a wide audience that ranges from electrical engineers with time on their hands, to folks that don't even change their own batteries.

Browse Instructables or You Tube projects. The idea is that if you buy the right things, and follow (vague, but exciting!) directions, you will be able to make a 'cool thing.' People buy the parts, and start on their project. When it gets bogged down, arduino.cc is the place to seek help.

Many people have never done anything like an electromechanical device, yet they will select, as their first project, a flying robot capable of all sorts of advanced behavior. As soon as someone asks "what's your background" or scolds them for not using code tags (17 scrolls of unformatted code ... which doesn't compile) and they disappear like moths when the Raid comes out. They have no background in electronics, math, or any science, engineering, or technology development at all for that matter.

If anywhere, the failure is expectations - on both sides.

michalmonday:
inexperienced person tries to accomplish some goal, trying to save time and effort he/she utilizes forum as a medium trying to get an opinion of more experienced people. Fast paced technologic progress makes this process even more useful, quite often tutorials/guides made few years ago present methods less effective than the current ones. Idea farming… I’d rather call it… communication

We get a lot of those, I’ve even helped one or two of of them. They usually at least try some of the advice.

This thread is about other ones that I specifically described in the OP.
Common elements: never a clear description of the project and ends posts with “any ideas?”.

We get beginners that try and bite off more than they can chew. Some times they understand being told to learn to walk before trying to run a marathon, sometimes they don’t and proceed to pour money and time into a big disappointment that experienced members tried to help them avoid.

ChrisTenone:
Browse Instructables or You Tube projects. The idea is that if you buy the right things, and follow (vague, but exciting!) directions, you will be able to make a ‘cool thing.’ People buy the parts, and start on their project. When it gets bogged down, arduino.cc is the place to seek help.

Many people have never done anything like an electromechanical device, yet they will select, as their first project, a flying robot capable of all sorts of advanced behavior. As soon as someone asks “what’s your background” or scolds them for not using code tags (17 scrolls of unformatted code … which doesn’t compile) and they disappear like moths when the Raid comes out. They have no background in electronics, math, or any science, engineering, or technology development at all for that matter.

While that does describe many of the threads, those are not the ones I mean. For one thing, the “any ideas” posters are far less common.

I’m not joking about maybe they’re trolling but I can’t be sure. The “charge ahead” tactic often used by businessmen on job-seekers and vendors is quite similar but more directed.

ChrisTenone: In order to produce a microcontroller breakout board, that costs about 25 dollars (such as an Arduino Uno) many customers are needed. Therefore, hobby electronics are marketed to a wide audience that ranges from electrical engineers with time on their hands, to folks that don't even change their own batteries.

Given the IDE and docs, it seems aimed for a learning/doing environment accessible by all kinds of people.

Old joke: how many programmers does it take to change a lightbulb? Can't be done, it's a hardware problem!

So here you have a system that allows programmers to learn electronics. Or EE's to learn more about code. What it is not is a thing that lets anyone skip the learning parts. That's what appliances are for.

Most people have never been taught to properly formulate questions. Engineers are no exceptions. It takes effort to formulate your question. By the time you do get a question written out, you are already on your way to solve it, maybe partially. Compounded with general laziness of the mankind and need for instant gratification, you get these annoying posts. Do your binary decision: ignore them, give them a response (positive or negative). Unless there are classes teaching kids how to ask questions, which is very critical skills they should learn, you will continue to face this binary decision.

Same issue regarding handling failure. Everyone is taught content knowledge in the hope that they will succeed. No one is taught how to fail, gracefully. That is probably the first thing you learn in a martial art class, to fall without hurting yourself. The other day I was reading teaching related stuff, being a teaching I just can't help. I was reading mastery learning. As compared with large lectures, mastery learning appears to be better and more modern. It paces students individually. I wonder if someone should work with khan academy to create some mastery learning content for arduino. It's going to save us on the long run by diverting the problem of not knowing how to ask questions ;)

liudr:
Most people have never been taught to properly formulate questions.

I agree.

In many cases people on the Forum make very good guesses about what the OP really meant.

However I’m not convinced that is helpful in the long run. My instinct is usually to ask the OP to explain him/her-self more clearly on the basis that doing so will probably be a good learning experience for them.

And if they are too lazy to do so then it saves us a lot of effort :slight_smile:

…R

Robin2: In many cases people on the Forum make very good guesses about what the OP really meant.

In some cases we've had to work for mainly-clueless management. You get used to thinking for them in order to get paid.

BTW, most of the replies I've gotten in this thread seem to interpret what I wrote in the first post don't address all the points while addressing others. So just maybe add ability to comprehend questions to ability to formulate them? Maybe I failed by not writing the first post in logic rather than English?

GoForSmoke: BTW, most of the replies I've gotten in this thread seem to interpret what I wrote in the first post don't address all the points while addressing others.

Rule #1

If you want an answer just ask one question :)

And you can't even get a politician that way - s/he will say "I'm glad you asked me that question, but before I answer it may I say ...."

...R

One short question with little or no background to confuse readers, I get it.

GoForSmoke: One short question with little or no background to confuse readers, I get it.

Yep.

For example ...

"Answer 'Yes' or 'No' - Have you stopped beating your wife?"

...R

I can see why the "yes or no" part. That stops the answer from being "the day you quit raping babies".

ouch!

ChrisTenone: ...folks that don't even change their own batteries.

The only battery I'm fitted with is in my pacemaker, rather difficult to change myself. :o