I recently inquired into asking & answering questions about a niche programming language here on Meta in this question and received some encouraging answers and useful guidelines.
Today I finally got myself in gear to ask & answer my first two questions, but at least on the first one, my tags were removed (in my mind incorrectly), the question downvoted without a comment, and additionally it was voted to close as too localized. (And I see now the second one has an upvote so never mind that one.)
I'd appreciate the community to help me out, as I want to create quality material and think that attracting this segment of the programming world would be positive for Stackoverflow (and believe me folks, hospitals all over the country have people who code MLMs). I don't see why it has to start out negative this way. I suspect it's because people have no clue what this is, but if my question is truly low quality I'd appreciate at least a comment on what to improve. Your thoughts appreciated.
In general, while there are many accomplished programmers working with MLMs, there is a substantial portion of the group of MLM-coders that have limited technical backgrounds, coming from the clinical side--people who were first and primarily lab techs, nurses, and physicians, for example. This means that while some questions may seem extremely basic (like, how do I do a substring) the fact is that the quality of code found in the wild is sometimes extremely low. My hope is to provide a large enough body of content to attract other knowledgeable MLM coders and eventually make SO a resource that the beginners are directed to and where they will have a real chance of learning something new. The syntax of Arden is very strange compared to other languages (and the list-handling being somewhat Lisp-like, only not really) and it can be quite difficult for people to put together even a simple
SUBSTRING, possibly due to Arden's wordy, non-parenthetical method of providing parameters to functions and methods.
When intending to answer my own question, I have never before thought about "showing enough effort" or putting in a "what have you tried" since I already know the answer and plan to give it in a moment. I'll try to think about this a little more and will see what I can do.
Regarding the anonymous nature of downvotes: of course people are allowed to downvote without a comment. I am not complaining about this practice per se. Simply given that in fact no comment was given and I would like to repair any defect in the question, I am asking here (and explained why I am asking by saying there was no comment to help me figure it out).
I have improved the first question and answer. Is that better? While I always show my effort on regular questions, for self-answered questions I will be more careful to show this so the questions are of higher quality. It feels strange to pretend to be confused or to lack knowledge when in fact I do not, but I'll figure it out.
The original discussion suggested I use two tags: medical-logic-modules and sunrise-clinical-manager. I foolishly went for three tags, but agree now that is too many, so I was leaning toward medical-logic-module and sunrise-acute-care, similar to the tags sql and sql-server-2008, one for the language, and the other for the platform (or think java and android).
But I am being told to use only one tag, so I am suggesting sunrise-acute-care-mlm since just medical-logic-module by itself is not specific enough to me, and sunrise-acute-care gives no clue what the programming language or context is.
More about Arden, MLM, Sunrise
Could I get input from more people please--people who are really going to think about this rather than just ignorantly toss off something that "sounds good"? The suggestion to use acute-syntax is, frankly, a joke. I'm sorry that this programming language is so obscure, but it SO's specific position that niche programming languages are welcome here. To do this welcoming thing and put paid to those words, we have to come up with a tag or tags that the people programming MLMs will understand. Perhaps an explanation of the topic is in order to help you all arrive at an informed position:
Arden Syntax: the actual programming language that is used. This is not the term people in the industry generally use (they say "MLMs" and "MLM coder"). It is at least accurate.
MLM (Medical Logic Module): The term most used for these kind of clinical decision support programs. "An MLM" is one block of code with a name, sort of equivalent to a single method in another programming language. MLMs, however, are all self-contained "full programs" with a definitive structure and a usage that doesn't really lead to thinking about them as "just functions". MLMs are sort of like VBA modules, where a user can write code to automate an application, to respond to events, and perform other actions (open custom forms, modify application data & UI elements, read/write data, tell the application to allow/disallow something).
Allscripts Sunrise Acute Care: The particular medical system within which my MLM knowledge is based. MLMs with Arden Syntax do run in other medical systems, though, and the syntax may not be the same--especially when it comes to the underlying LISP implementation in Sunrise.
Imagine I were the first person to post any SQL questions on stackoverflow, and I created 100 questions and answers with just the tag "SQL". Then, come to find out, it was really postgre-sql and now all those questions have to be retagged because it's confusing everyone who now also wants to post questions about sql-server? Wouldn't it have been better to start with "postgre-sql" in the first place?
My coworker suggests arden-syntax and that we do in fact work out any implementation-specific differences in the future. Given he is likely to be the only other person on SO for a while with any interest in MLMs, I'll run with it.
Any objections to arden-syntax?