Experience level and age?

I don't think it matters, I respond based on the question being asked, you can tell a lot from the information provided and the way a question is phrased. I just deal with what is in front of me.

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As for me, I'm just a grotesquely incompetent clown who's full of crap and should never be listened to. :rofl:

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Now serious: I prefer to have no badges at all.

Sometimes I have an opinion that everyone else disagrees with, but years later it turns out to be a valid comment. I don't mind getting no likes or even dislikes and I certainly don't care about silly badges. Okay, I was a boy scout, but I didn't care much about badges back then either.

An example of my opinion that others tend to disagree with:
In 2005, the internet existed 10 year. At that moment it was 100% clear for everyone involved that privacy and online safety were the main concerns. Since 2005 we are in a world where technological progress is pushing us back instead of forward (regarding privacy and online safety).

there's a couple things some background information can help with

for the poster

  • are they a student looking for someone to do an assignment for them
  • are they a student looking for help
  • are they a hobbyist just looking to make their project work

for those that reply

  • are they an experienced professional providing a professional answer, that the poster doesn't really care about
  • are they an experienced hobbyist who understands that the poster isn't building a career and just wants to make their project work

another thing that can be learned on the forum isn't how to write code but how to ask a technical question.

some poster will just post an error msg and ask what wrong with their program. other's may provide a lot of information but don't explain what their trying to do very well.

i think understanding their background an illicit a little more patience in some cases to help them describe their problem better. in other cases, it may be a lost cause and not worth the effort

I wrote How to get the best out of this forum after reading lots of posts from newbies and seeing the same mistakes over and over, things like expecting help with secret code, you know the kinds of thing. That tutorial was very much a reflection of the gap between the information provided and the information needed. The problem of course is getting people to read it. As it's my tutorial I get a notification every time someone links to it; I get a lot of notifications.

Do you think there is something else that should be added to the tutorial? If there is please post it here:

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Doesn't that still exist as the "about me" info in your user profile? gcjr's reads:

retired embedded firmware developer

And some other stuff.

a "signature" is no longer displayed with a post. my understanding is it can be abused and this web SW deems it un-essential. in many cases it doesn't describe the poster

i do think age would be very helpful, indicating if the poster is a high school or college age student, retired or in between.

and i do believe a checkbox for hobbyist or professional experience could also be helpful.

this information would be helpful in determining how to respond, as well as how to assess a response.

Nothing prevents giving false information, your proposal is unreliable.
It is often enough to make the applicant "speak" about his project and with a little experience to determine if it is for school work or not.
The important is to have the project well described.

This allows teachers who read the forum, but who do not participate, to detect honest students from dishonest

I also don't think you can tailor an initial response based on how the user presents him or her self.
Important, I think, is to ensure that their requirements are clarified in every detail before even writing a line of code on their behalf. This clarification process can tell a lot about the OP as well as, of course, the project.

Most school projects are easy enough to spot, especially when the OP is clueless, disinterested and appears to be wanting to do something of no practical use.

Where I have the most difficulties is in dealing with someone who presents some complex and well written piece of code or design in their OP, allowing the impression to develop that it is their own work, and wanting to discuss it as the basis of some activity. Quite a lot of time and code samples can pass before it becomes clear they have simply copied from somewhere and are no where near the skill level required to handle the information they have received.

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This is especially true in the general forum where the language is English. In the international part if the comments are in English, the code is probably copied.

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i assume people are sincere (believe what they say).

that's unreliable

If all the applicants were honest it would know.

In the event that we suspect a student of trying to cheat by pretending to be a beginner, it is not for us to police.
What we can do is force him to describe his project so that his teacher, who monitors this forum, discovers the cheater.
What happens next depends on the teacher.


I don't like cheats and nor do a lot of other people on here. In any case, most if not all the people providing help here also are not interested in doing other people's projects for them, well, not for free anyway. If a student comes here pretty much saying 'I don't have a clue do this for me' then they are not going to get much help, not because folk want to police that kind of thing, but mainly because they don't want to do the work for someone else.

In the French-speaking part (there are not only French people) help is free and only free.
Pay is not prohibited, but free help is our consensus.
The only condition for receiving help is that the requester makes an effort.
Paid offers are systematically returned to Gigs and Collaborations and more often do not receive a response.

We were talking about distinguishing beginners who receive full help from students who should be able to do their job.
We have two categories of students:

  • Those who come to see us from the start of their project (December, January) to have explanations and in general we do not see them again, they are quickly able to work alone.
    We guide them so that they can find the solution on their own. We never give the solution but the basics so that they find the solution

  • Those who do not work and who supply urgent help within 1 month of handing over their work. Often by trying to hide that they are a student.
    To allow their teacher to detect them, it is important to make them give all the details of their project. Ultimately, it's up to the teacher to decide what to do.

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If not mistaken, the old forum redirected someone after registration to the old version of your thread. Is a new user redirected to your new version after registration?

Can you comment about this? I think we were considering doing this, but I'm not sure if it happened.


During the user's first two posts, a message is shown on the post composer pane recommending them to read the "community guidelines":

Welcome to Arduino Forum — thanks for starting a new conversation!

  • Does the title sound interesting if you read it out loud? Is it a good summary?
  • Who would be interested in this? Why does it matter? What kind of responses do you want?
  • Include commonly used words in your topic so others can find it. To group your topic with related topics, select a category (or tag).

For more, see our community guidelines. This panel will only appear for your first 2 posts.

The current "community guidelines" content, which is also accessible via the "FAQ" link in the forum header is currently the stock document is provided as part of the Discourse instance and not Arduino-specific in any way.

So the way to approach this would be to integrate in some way Perry's document with the "community guidelines" document.

2021: don't collect data you don't need to operate! And the birth date is for sure that kind of personal data which isn't needed.

By the way I don't think that "age" is a significant indicator about the experience level.

Same with "professional programmer", because if someone got paid to make a JavaScript years ago, doesn't necessarily make him a good Arduino Uno programmer.

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Are you planning to do that @pert ?