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It is, I'm afraid, as meta- as can be.

I'm a system administrator, and most assuredly not a programmer, except for a little bash scripting. But seriously, why do people go onto, see all the questions about C# constructs, how to use variables, compiler optimization, and then ask 'Why can't I boot my computer from a Linux CD?' Really, people? Has the internet made you all stupid?

We seem to have either a) watered down the term 'programming' or b) are stuck in baby-boomer land where anyone sitting at a computer doing anything not easily recognized as surfing the web, email, or word processing is immediately assumed to be 'programming'.

From my side of the fence, people assume that since I can make computers do things like share files or change their names online, I can 'program' them as well. This is not the case, and it makes me fed up when well meaning but clueless individuals ask me to 'just quick write a program that will make my computer do xyz.' Presumably programmers get this as well, to a certain extent. 'My computer can't hook up to my internet. Can you fix it?'

How do we educate the public that there are two (at least two) major classes of computer people in the world, and that simple use of a modicum of common sense will get you a long way?

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closed as off topic by JSONBog, Pops, jjnguy, gnostradamus, Robert Harvey Mar 29 '11 at 16:08

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I think this should go to (or has already been asked) on – Pëkka Mar 29 '11 at 15:10
2 is for talking about This belongs on – Kyle Trauberman Mar 29 '11 at 15:11
You are lucky. People ask me to re-tune their TVs from time to time – Carlos Campderrós Mar 29 '11 at 15:12
@Carlos, I've been asked to do TV's as well (I'm a IT Technician for a school). – tombull89 Mar 29 '11 at 15:18
Why do people ask programming questions here? Why are Android devs so clueless? Why is the sky blue? – Won't Mar 29 '11 at 15:38

They don't think that "administering" is "programming". They don't even know what programming is. They just think that SO is for all computer problems.

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They think that SO is for problems faced by programmers. "I'm a programmer, and I'm writing a program, and I'm installing and testing it, and as part of that process I'm having problem X." Then they take that problem the same place they take all their programming problems.

Same reason people in a frequent flier forum will ask for Rome Restaurant Recommendations in the Air Canada Aeroplan section, or on a parenting place ask about training a pet not to do some particular thing that affects their child. They have a destination and they often don't realize it's part of a larger entity that has other parts, just as helpful. I think the migrating that happens here is a great way to teach an awarenesss of the other parts and that some questions belong there.

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