[meta] It doesn't work

So many posts include the entirely useless statement "It doesn't work/It didn't work". Is there any way to add a filter to the forum so that when someone tries to post something that includes either of these statements it gives them a warning to explain why such a statement is useless and for them to provide more details on their "not working" problem?

Metallor:
So many posts include the entirely useless statement "It doesn't work/It didn't work".

It would need to be very sophisticated. What if I said "It doesn't work, in that when I press the button on pin2 which is wired to ground and pinmode input_pullup blah blah and here is a schematic and my code and a link to the button datasheet". Can't get much more complete than that, yet still contains the phrase "It doesn't work".

@Metallor, do you have an Arduino programming question?

Yeah it's a bit irritating. We were all beginners once though. Try to be nice about it.

Willpatel_Kendmirez:
It would need to be very sophisticated. What if I said "It doesn't work, in that when I press the button on pin2 which is wired to ground and pinmode input_pullup blah blah and here is a schematic and my code and a link to the button datasheet". Can't get much more complete than that, yet still contains the phrase "It doesn't work".

While what you are saying is true, I believe that would be an edge case. Most people won't type a description of the problem after saying the forbidden phrase. So in that case they would get the warning message and they could simply edit their post to remove the text that triggers the warning.

At this point, no.

However, I was reading through the programming questions and came across this phrase multiple times. As programmers, I thought surely there is something we could do about it since even though it states in the forum guidelines:

  1. Tips for getting the most out of your post

Describe your problem in detail.

it is not getting through to people (it's too far down the list). I think adding this as a feature would actually help the beginners by actually making them think about what their circuit is doing by making them type out what is actually going on with their circuit.

I've dreamed about something like this for "exit status 1".

Metallor:
I think adding this as a feature would actually help the beginners by actually making them think about what their circuit is doing by making them type out what is actually going on with their circuit.

There are different sorts of people who present with the “it don’t work” symptom.

Sure, some of them are beyond help. But many of them are people who are interested to learn but have no experience whatever of debugging or fault-finding for anything where they had to interact with another person - either to ask for help or to give help.

IMHO debugging is one of the more arcane (as well as important) features of effective program writing and it may take time for a newbie to grasp the concept. Some people never do.

…R

Metallor:
At this point, no.

What I find intolerable is when a newbie posts non-technical diatribes in the technical section. What's with those people? Can they not read the section titles? Is it really that difficult to find an appropriate section for their whinging?

Thankfully, there are moderators to clean up the vomit.

Metallor:
So many posts include the entirely useless statement "It doesn't work/It didn't work".

You were not born with an ability to debug. Nor was your blind infant self able to troubleshoot. You were certainly not able to inform your parents about any problems you encountered.

"Debug", "troubleshoot", "communicate" are skills you had to learn. You are criticizing others for a lack of knowledge. You are criticizing others because they lack experience.

For me, it's not about a lack of information in the first post being irritating. It's about providing a solution as fast as possible. A cycle of request information, wait for response can take days in some cases. I want to get the problem solved as soon as possible so they can get back to having fun working on their project. If someone provides all the necessary information in the first post, they could have a solution within minutes.

pert:
If someone provides all the necessary information in the first post, they could have a solution within minutes.

That's true but somewhat irrelevant.

In many cases the person looking for help does not know what is needed by us to help him.

We all start any sphere of activity with little or no expert knowledge. If we are reasonably intelligent and good learners that situation changes very rapidly and after a short time it is hard (or impossible) to remember the time when we were ignorant. The essence of a good teacher is to see the subject through the student's eyes rather than a teacher's eyes.

In many Threads I ask the OP for more information with the idea that s/he will have to do some thinking in order to respond. Unfortunately there can be an excess of enthusiasm from the more knowledgeable members who jump in to answer the question before the OP has the opportunity to do so. To my mind that robs the OP of a learning opportunity.

Having said all that I do believe that any thoughtful person with a question in mind will do some research before posing the question, including spending some time looking at other Threads to get a sense of how the Forum works. I can understand, and share, the frustration of people trying to help when all of the evidence shows that the OP has made no effort whatever.

...R

Robin2:
That’s true but somewhat irrelevant.

In many cases the person looking for help does not know what is needed by us to help him.

That’s the whole point. If someone tried to post “I’m getting exit status 1. PLZ HLP MEEEEEEE!!!” and the forum showed a dialog that says:

exit status 1 is a generic error that only means something went wrong. Please click the “Copy error messages” button on the right side of the orange bar in the Arduino IDE and then paste the error messages into you post using code tags (</> button on the toolbar). Please also post your code using code tags.

At worst, that would eliminate one of the “request information, wait for response” cycles. There is a very good chance it would provide us all the information we need.

Robin2:
In many Threads I ask the OP for more information with the idea that s/he will have to do some thinking in order to respond. Unfortunately there can be an excess of enthusiasm from the more knowledgeable members who jump in to answer the question before the OP has the opportunity to do so. To my mind that robs the OP of a learning opportunity.

To me, it depends on the problem. In the case of a “how do I do this” sort of programming question, absolutely. It’s often faster and easier to “give a man a fish” than to “teach them how to fish”. I’m sure I’m guilty of taking the easy way out sometimes.

In the case of an infrastructure bug or confusion about the inner workings of the IDE, and other things of that sort, this is something I’m interested in but most people don’t care. They just want that stuff to work so they can get back to writing code and making circuits. In that case I think it’s fine to just give them a “do this” answer. Even in the case of a “do this” answer, I think it’s valuable to add some extra information they can learn from if they want: “do this, here’s why that works, here’s how I knew you needed to do that”. What I often find is that by the time I’ve written a more comprehensive answer, someone has already beaten me with the quick “do this” answer and often I don’t even bother posting my largely duplicate answer. That’s frustrating, but it’s also great that we have such an active forum that, within minutes of a new post, there are often multiple people competing to reply first.

Even though it wasn’t about programming (well in a sense it was, but for the forum, not Arduino) I figured maybe it was appropriate to post it there because the people who primarily use the programming forum wouldn’t see it at all if it was originally posted elsewhere. It looks like I was mistaken so I do apologise.

I personally don’t see it as whinging, rather than a suggestion for improvement. Seems like a pipe dream however.

While that is true, I’m sure at least most of the users of this forum are not infants. I would like to think that if somebody has an Arduino in their hands, they possess at least some level of ability to think critically about what is happening and describe what is happening if prompted. Why do they have the Arduino if they don’t?

Robin2:
IMHO debugging is one of the more arcane (as well as important) features of effective program writing and it may take time for a newbie to grasp the concept. Some people never do.

This is true, but if they can provide at least some level of description without being prompted that is at least a more useful post and probably get to the answer quicker. It's not a "Ha! You are stupid, go back and debug it yourself" message it's a "Please provide some more information about what your circuit is doing".

Metallor:
While that is true, I'm sure at least most of the users of this forum are not infants.

Oh lovely. Fallacy. What's that? False Equivalence? Doesn't really matter. Let's see what's next...

I would like to think that if somebody has an Arduino in their hands, they possess at least some level of ability to think critically about what is happening and describe what is happening if prompted.

"If prompted?" What's that one? Changing the Goalposts? Looks like it.

Why do they have the Arduino if they don't?

And that's three. Three solid fallacies. Good for you.

Metallor:
This is the single most useless piece of information.

Metallor:
It's not a "Ha! You are stupid, go back and debug it yourself" message...

Extremely hostile is extremely hostile no matter how it's clothed.

False evidence? OK, you go and find the demographics of how many infants are using this forum. While I do not have any evidence that it is 0%, I think it is a rather reasonable assumption.

The idea was that if they said "It doesn't work" they would get an automatic error message asking them for more information. You know, like a prompt. I guess you missed that. Try reading and understanding everything better next time.

Good for you too.

I actually apologised to that person before coming back and reading this post.

Metallor:
I apologise for my curtness and lack of tact.

Also, those two things are totally different. One was something that was actually said, and one was a hypothetical thing that would never actually be said.

You seem rather hostile yourself btw.

Metallor:
The idea was that if they said “It doesn’t work” they would get an automatic error message asking them for more information. You know, like a prompt. I guess you missed that. Try reading and understanding everything better next time.

But then there will be a million annoying false positives. Like I said, what happens if they say “It doesn’t work…” just as an introductory phrase to a proper explanation, “It doesn’t work, in that when I do and expect , I get etc etc.”

Willpatel_Kendmirez:
But then there will be a million annoying false positives. Like I said, what happens if they say “It doesn’t work…” just as an introductory phrase to a proper explanation, “It doesn’t work, in that when I do and expect , I get etc etc.”

In your experience, do people write like that though?

Metallor:
This is true, but if they can provide at least some level of description without being prompted that is at least a more useful post and probably get to the answer quicker.

The newbies to the Forum may not be infants but their question might easily be the first time they have asked for help other than to say “Dad, my [xxx toy] won’t work” in which case Dad probably did all the debugging without passing that skill on to his child (or just bought a new one).

And, to take a more grown-up example, if you need to call in the plumber or the electrician to fix a problem the symptoms are usually very visible and a Q & A dialogue between the plumber and the householder is not necessary. “It’s leaking” or “it won’t work” are probably sufficient for the plumber or electrician to be able to sort the problem out.

…R