Then, should we just toss up our hands or attempt to do something about it? I think the latter.
Didn't understand this part?
I said "......but being there helps in cases where people act by the rules......"
My apologies. That was not to you but to the situation.
If we can help some or most people then it is worth doing, regardless of the few poison pills who refuse to abide by the rules.
I did not speak clearly enough.
Personally I think that there are already too many forum categories and adding more will not help
If I were a student seeking help with homework I very much doubt that I would make it obvious by posting in a section that had guidelines relating to how much help should be given
If there are not going to be such guidelines then what is the point of having a special forum category ?
The problem I think is that the vast majority of new threads here are from people who are making their first visit to the forum and who will disappear when their questions are answered (or the due date for their assignment has passed).
Of those folks, a very large proportion don't seem to read any of the stickies, to the extent that the regulars sometimes congratulate the ones that do.
Given that, I have no faith at all that the homework issue can be effectively addressed.
I agree. Maybe that can be addressed as part of this issue.
I had hoped that there would be some rationalisation as part of the change of forum software but my suggestion fell on deaf ears so don't hold your breath
I understand, at least you tried. That counts in my book.
To be fair, there was quite a bit going on at the time and you can imagine how difficult it would have been, and still would be, to decide which categories should be removed and what sections the topics in them should be moved to
My rather radical suggestion, whilst not entirely serious, was to have only one category in the main forum. After all posters here are looking for help with the Arduino, aren't they ?
Very little trumps simplicity.
I see something like:
- Project Guidance
- Hardware - subdivided by chip, searchable by chip or board
- Show Off
- General Electronics - Non Arduino Specific questions
- Paid Services
- Secret Category for senior members
Then, I'd eliminate all the international forums and build in google translate as a service.
The things that our more active users have achieved and demonstrated here show that we, that is the active we, do have the ability to be organized, but that a lack of defined directions in the general planning of this forum prevent us from doing so effectively.
I think that's a major part of it and that as @UKHeliBob has mentioned, the massive number of categories is a problem that prevents this from being viable.
Soooooo, can we consider fixing that problem at the same time? It would ease work on the moderators and allow for the Homework segregation that is necessary to maintain academic integrity.
You can consider to your heart's content, but it's unlikely anything will come of it other than some interesting discussion.
Ever get deep into a project only to discover a better path, but you're hesitant to take it because of all the work you've already put in so far?
I talk nonsense.
When such categorization takes place...
Their students tend to work hard on things that "it can't be seen as homework".
And it's often a beginning of the battle.
It's a brain war between regulars who wonder if this is homework for every post and students who disguise their posts as not homework as much as possible.
Also, this student's efforts are not spent on their studies, only for cover-ups.
Personally I'm in favour of a category called "Homework and Assignments". I'm also in favour of moderators moving threads into it if it becomes clear that a homework is being "disguised" by the OP.
I think the existence of that category would encourage most students to use it. They could also search it, as many homeworks are somewhat similar. Recall the sudden interest in hand sanitiser dispensers.
The number of programming questions that aren't posted in the Programming section would seem to indicate that is not the case
This is a general problem not confined to information technology.
Some students will seek help for their assignments and, because of the extent of networking through social media, may find it easier to get grades which they do not, through technical merit alone, deserve. However, the ability to exploit a resource, such as this forum, to achieve their goals is also a useful faculty in this highly networked, collaborative world.
The Information Technology teacher/ lecturer can do certain things to lessen the problem:
- Instead of using Arduino, choose a more exotic platform where such help is not so easy to "requisition"
- Devise projects in such a way that it is obviously school work or the problem to be solved is structured in such a way that the idle student would continually have to fight off alternative suggestions. For example, base the problem on variants of the classic "Traffic lights" or "Lift" problem which are clearly of no practical value outside their educational function. Or maybe require solutions which are contrary to the normal best practices such as using interrupts for button presses, or integrating a TTL logic element with well specified MCU.
- Devise a bounty system where school colleagues can report obvious abuses of forums for obtaining complete solutions to class exercises.
- Lecturers can, themselves, look through the forum to see if any of their assignments are appearing in some guise.
I do, however, tend to agree with the idea of a forum category generally for educational use of Arduino where limited help and even new project ideas could be suggested. I also share some of the fears expressed that students, whose primary objective may be limited to some urgent solution for an approaching assignment deadline, will not make appropriate use of it.
@6v6gt Thanks for taking the time to explain so thoroughly.
While it will never come close to stopping the misuse of forum resources, I believe it will influence enough students to the honest help they need as to be worth the effort.
Would it also be fair to attribute a good bit of that to the multitude of categories and somewhat limited help in selecting the correct category for new users?
I have previously made my feelings about the excessive number of forum sections known
However, if users cannot be bothered to post a programming question in a clearly named section I hold out no hope for a Homework section
@UKHeliBob Do you find that a large number of questions incorrectly end up in Installation and Troubleshooting?
Do you have access to satirical tools as a mod, that would let you see how many questions were moved from each category?