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I've posted an answer to a java + math problem here : http://stackoverflow.com/a/11967112/880118

In my opinion i'm answering the question as the OP posted for a java exercise so it had precise requirements. But some disagreed with the mathematical part of the subject which IMO is not the point here. They said near 0 the answer won't be correct and I agree with that. They also said double near zero is full of rounding issues which I totally agree BUT I said it's not part of the java exercise.

I was waiting for someone to debate with me about that and instead duffymo kept coming at me with the rounding/bad formula for root issues. Shortly I was thinking around this problem : Should we give a better answer to a math problem when it's just a java exercise?

I would consider that meeting requirements for an application is the base for a good application, doing better is doing it wrong but hell no one cared and kept attacking me.

What should I say? For me it's inappropriate and non constructive as I'm just pissed off and still don't know what is the good answer for that.

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You did someone's homework for them, with virtually no explanation or effort to help them learn, but just provided a wall of code for them to copy/paste and send to their teacher. Sorry, but I have no sympathy for you. –  Servy Aug 15 '12 at 14:52
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Well, at least take a step back. Breath. Calm down. Getting pissed off is never constructive. Do you feel he might have a point? Then acknowledge that and be done with it. (Or integrate it into your answer). Do you think he's wasting your time? Then stop discussing it. Upvotes and downvotes will be enough of an indication for you. Don't take this whole thing personal. Keep some emotional distance and you'll be just fine. –  Bart Aug 15 '12 at 14:53
    
@Servy I gave the explaination here then the solution while others just said the same thing without giving the answer. –  TecHunter Aug 15 '12 at 14:56
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With such questions focus on "teaching a man to fish" rather than "providing the fish". Though that's besides the point of your question here I assume. –  Bart Aug 15 '12 at 14:57
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@TecHunter Yes, and I would support their method over yours. You can certainly help someone with a homework problem, but help, in my opinion, should almost never involve code that they would then be able to submit as an answer. You need to help them solve their problem, not just solve their problem for them. In this case, explaining what they forgot to do is not only a sufficient answer in my opinion, but the superior answer. –  Servy Aug 15 '12 at 14:58
    
@Bart I never said he said something absolutely wrong but it doesn't fit the question. His math skills are certainly better than mine but at least I consider other answers. The point here is this guy just argue with me without aknowledging my answers and without explaining to me why should we input another formula than the teacher wrote. that's why I don't get it. He changes the initial problem statement and no one care to explain to me why it's good or wrong –  TecHunter Aug 15 '12 at 15:00
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instead of downvoting me like this could you at least explain why? –  TecHunter Aug 15 '12 at 15:01
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It's not going to do anyone any good to move the original argument here. –  Robert Harvey Aug 15 '12 at 15:02
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Pro tip: move on. That might not sound like a solution, but some people on the interwebs are wrong, or annoying, or whatever... Don't waste your time on them if it's not spent constructively. –  Bart Aug 15 '12 at 15:02
    
@TecHunter Voting works a bit different on Meta, check the FAQ. –  Yannis Aug 15 '12 at 15:02
    
@Servy ok I get it, now can we please talk about my question? –  TecHunter Aug 15 '12 at 15:02
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Yannis already answered it satisfactorily. –  Robert Harvey Aug 15 '12 at 15:03
    
/me takes one look at the length and nature of the comments, turns around, and walks away from the mud-fig^W^W^Wposting. –  Martijn Pieters Aug 15 '12 at 15:25
    
@MartijnPieters Come back and fight like a man. –  Bart Aug 15 '12 at 15:32
    
@Bart: Don't make me pull out my big trout.. coloradotrouthunters.com/sitebuilder/images/… –  Martijn Pieters Aug 15 '12 at 15:33

1 Answer 1

up vote 15 down vote accepted

JackyBoi, the author of the question you answered, puts it best:

pfft! programmers and there obsessions!lol haha.. CHILL out!

If you feel the discussion is running in circles, or worse has turned a tad offensive, just walk away from it, there's no better way to handle those situations. You can flag the comments you felt are offensive, if you must, but best thing here would be to just walk away.

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I did walk away but still, I want to understand......... I don't get it –  TecHunter Aug 15 '12 at 15:04
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Must resist urge to correct "there"... –  Flexo Aug 15 '12 at 15:04
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@TecHunter: What's to understand? You disagree, that's all. duffymo expects a reasonably complete and accurate answer on a site for programming professionals. That may not be a reasonable expectation in school, but it's not unreasonable here. –  Robert Harvey Aug 15 '12 at 15:06
    
@RobertHarvey as a programmer I always expect a software to meet initial requirements. Even if you can do something 10 times better if it doesn't fit a requirement then it's not good no? –  TecHunter Aug 15 '12 at 15:09
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@RobertHarvey Yes, but I think you'll agree with me that the time duffymo wasted arguing TecHunter's answers would be better spend in writing a more accurate answer. –  Yannis Aug 15 '12 at 15:09
    
No argument there. We all had to do homework, and none of us had the time to make it perfect. Sometimes good enough is good enough. –  Robert Harvey Aug 15 '12 at 15:10
    
@YannisRizos yes thank you for that, I just wanted to get why doing his way is better from a software design and requirement point of view –  TecHunter Aug 15 '12 at 15:11
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@TecHunter People who are doing homework are generally in school. People who are in school are generally there to learn. Explaining to a student that an algorithm they are using is flawed, and explaining a better one is teaching them something they didn't know and making them a better programmer. It may not help them do this assignment, but it's certainly helping them in general (and all future readers). That makes it entirely appropriate in my mind. –  Servy Aug 15 '12 at 15:13
    
@TecHunter I'm just saying that when someone feels they have a better answer they should just go ahead and post it - I'm not taking sides on the argument, or commenting on which answer is preferable, yours or the one duffymo suggested. I'm avoiding the argument all together, 42 Celsius here, too hot to argue. –  Yannis Aug 15 '12 at 15:14
    
@Servy I already said I agree with that. Learning better way to do it is what I'm looking for in SO. But telling the OP he should do it in his answer I disagree as it is specifically stated that he should use the given formula. –  TecHunter Aug 15 '12 at 15:20
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My guess is the user was answering the question as if it wasn't homework at all, and helping the user understand the best way to solve the problem, intentionally disregarding constraints of the assignment does two main things, 1. it teaches the student more, so that if they ever run into the problem in a non-academic setting they are better equipped to solve it, and 2. it actually prevents them from using your answer, verbatim, as their homework; it forces them to learn from your answer and modify it before they can actually use it. I consider that advantageous, not problematic. –  Servy Aug 15 '12 at 15:25
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I think the problem here is that you are answering the question as if the teacher was asking you to do an assignment. You should either answer it as a tutor would answer a student (which is what I would do) or you can answer it as if you were a professional programmer solving a real problem. (That is what this other user is clearly doing.) Both approaches are more likely to help the student, and neither is (generally) as likely to be considered "cheating". When you consider this mindset, the other users' comments make more sense. –  Servy Aug 15 '12 at 15:29
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@Servy "It's not going to do anyone any good to move the original argument here" - please think of poor old me, getting all these inbox notifications for an argument I couldn't care less about ;) –  Yannis Aug 15 '12 at 15:31
    
@YannisRizos I intended to walk away, but the OP kept trying to continue it. My appologies, I just couldn't resist. I promise I'm actually done now. –  Servy Aug 15 '12 at 15:34
    
@Servy true, now I better understand. In this case he was just training so I was not thinking about just teaching him but just answering to the exercise he tried to solve. Thanks for your time –  TecHunter Aug 16 '12 at 6:18

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