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Could we please be a bit nicer to the noobs?

I don't know if people had read the FAQ over at StackOverflow but, it really seems that people that are answering questions are extremely UPTIGHT. The things they say and do would never be done in real life. Some times it would be nice to be able to message people and let them know they are being a jerk, but they probably know that and just like being that way. But it makes it hard to be light-hearted in a conversation that you thought might have been a witty answer to a question. At my job no one would ever treat another coworker with the disrespect some of the community have treated me and some of the other users here at the site.

PM system? Something I would like to see. I guess I just missed the point of trying to be helpful and maybe sometimes a little silly, but I don't think users need to pour a big glass of haterade and be complete jerks to others.

Has anyone else been affected by this? My questions also seem to be bapped down because I may not be able to explain something 100% or sometimes not even 70~ It would be nice to get an answer than doesn't contain some kind of bitter sarcasm and elitist stench.

EDIT: scanf segfaults and various other anomalies inside while loop

This is my post, the second answer, really was not all that helpful. I didn't know about the flag button, I'll try that next time. I didn't really understand what it did.

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    Comment to your edit: You call that answer "extremely uptight"? Give me a break. – Daniel Daranas Apr 13 '10 at 17:56
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    While the question you reference ( stackoverflow.com/questions/2625834/… ) has an answer that is blunt, and more than a little RTFMy (which is strongly discouraged) it is not without merit, and the only problem I see with it is the implied RTFM. – Pollyanna Apr 13 '10 at 18:01
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    Actually, I've seen Neil Butterworth writing... let's say, a lot more directly. And just because he's correct, but you feel offended by that, you want a PM system so you can shout at him? – balpha Apr 13 '10 at 18:01
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    @balpha - Who hasn't wanted to shout at Neil from time to time? ;-P – Pollyanna Apr 13 '10 at 18:02
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    Having read your question, the answers, and your responses, Neil's advice to read K&R is spot on - somewhere along the line you missed the difference between merely declaring a pointer and actually allocating storage. Don't shoot the messenger, pay heed to what he's telling you - if you graduate and get a job programming in C, this oversight will cause you - and your employer - no end of problems. ;-) – Steven A. Lowe Apr 13 '10 at 18:51
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    +1 for the word "haterade" – Randolpho Apr 13 '10 at 18:54
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    @Neil - If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck... Now if you quoted the relevant portions of that book, or explained your answer then an additional link to the book is fine. But with the terse explanation-less answer (ie, how does your answer help him understand his problem, not just solve it?) and the blatant reference to the manual, then yes - it looks an awful lot like an RTFM. But I don't think it's offensive. It simply could have been done better. – Pollyanna Apr 13 '10 at 19:56
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    @Pollyanna I'm English, not American - terse is what we do. If the OP didn't like my style, or didn't find it helpful, well he could have ignored it, or even downvoted it. As could you, instead of posting comments about it here. – nb69307 Apr 13 '10 at 20:10
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    @Neil, +1 for uncommon use of the race card – Pops Apr 13 '10 at 20:24
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    @Popular The culture card, I think. I've been accused of many things in my life (many of them justified), but never of racism. – nb69307 Apr 13 '10 at 20:28
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    @Neil: this reads like a cop out. "Don't post comments here. I'm not from your country. I am different. You should ignore me when I offend you." I'm guessing that's not your intent. (And, certainly, I'm only saying how it reads to me.) Sure, you have the freedom to be as terse and pithy as you wanna be; on the other side of the coin it shouldn't be surprising when people get their hackles up on occasion. – beska Apr 13 '10 at 20:36
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    quack quack quack – Keng Apr 13 '10 at 20:50
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    Okay, Shadow, do you have any real examples of offensive postings? – David Thornley Apr 13 '10 at 21:06
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    @Shadow Everything I have "said!" to you on SO I would be quite happy saying to you face to face. – nb69307 Apr 13 '10 at 22:14
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    It sounds to me like you could use a lot more criticism in your daily life. Coping with criticism is an important part of life. – GEOCHET Jun 28 '12 at 14:50

Consider flagging such abuse for moderator attention. Those who consistently badger/berate/insult/annoy others will be contacted through the proper channels.

The last thing we need is a system where people can respond personally to attacks, which will also be abused to initiate private attacks on users.

Keep it all out in the open, let the mods know, and ignore the haters and trolls.

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    Thanks man. At least people on here have some courtesy. – Shadow Apr 13 '10 at 17:45
  • @Shadow @Polly dang it he is getting the wrong impression! Hurry @random!! – Earlz Apr 13 '10 at 19:15
  • Looks at "Pollyanna". Looks at "thanks, man". Looks at "Pollyanna". Shrugs. – Randolpho Apr 13 '10 at 19:15
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    @Randolpho: His name is Adam Davis. Check his associated accounts. – mmyers Apr 13 '10 at 19:35
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    @Randolpho - Yeah, I'm a guy. I changed my name on a whim to Pollyanna awhile ago because I never downvote, and now I'm just used to it. I suppose I'm just perpetuating rule #29 (all girls are men). – Pollyanna Apr 13 '10 at 19:58
  • @mmyers, @Pollyanna: Hey, I don't judge. :p I just thought it was ironic, is all. At least I think that's classic-definition irony. – Randolpho Apr 13 '10 at 20:10
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    @Randolpho - This is meta. We're all about judging here. You pony hater. – Pollyanna Apr 13 '10 at 21:24
  • All girls are men because the real women are hiding as cats. – Ether Apr 13 '10 at 21:54
  • @Ether - me ow! – Pollyanna Apr 13 '10 at 21:59

As I am I suppose the person the OP is referring to :

  • I answered his problem correctly
  • I suggested where he should look for further information, providing a link.

What else am I supposed to do?

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    Shoot him! Shoot him before you answer, then answer politely. And shoot him again, just to be sure. – Ladybug Killer Apr 13 '10 at 19:27
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    A short explanation would be a better answer than merely the code snip. "This is what you are attempting to do, this is what your code is currently doing, this is the code that does what you want to do and here's the difference." Your answer isn't bad, though, but it's useless to a beginner, and as good as K&R is, it's not easy to parse for a beginner - it was written for programmers and scientists. – Pollyanna Apr 13 '10 at 20:00
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    @Pollyanna To quote the OP - "I understand creating a buffer. I work in industry and I am a graduating senior", so he is not a beginner. And as someone who has taught literally hundreds of people to program in C, I can assure you that very few of them have problems with TCPL. – nb69307 Apr 13 '10 at 20:05
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    Yeah, Neil, you should have told him to look at the chapter on pointers. That would have shown him. – John Saunders Apr 13 '10 at 20:09
  • @Pollyanna: However, it's useful for the stated purpose of the question: to get a school assignment to work, that the OP never wants to see again. Take Neil's answer and plug in the obvious code change, compile, run the standard tests, hand in, and graduate. – David Thornley Apr 13 '10 at 21:03
  • @David - Yes, the answer was complete, and offered the needed solution. It wasn't a bad answer. Neil asked "What else am I supposed to do?" and I suggested an improvement, especially given that while this person may indeed be advanced, others that find this question through searching might not be, and could use a little more background. Nothing more. – Pollyanna Apr 13 '10 at 21:21
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    But, quite frankly, the OP got 2 correct responses in under 3 minutes. It probably took them longer to write the question than it did to get an answer. They shouldn't be looking a gift horse in the mouth, IMHO. – Pollyanna Apr 13 '10 at 21:25
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    @Pollyanna Yeah it did take me more than 3 minutes to write it :p And the other answers I got were awesome. So were the answers I got from my coworkers this morning. – Shadow Apr 13 '10 at 22:06
  • @David lol, that would have been easy, I was just rather upset by his lack of finesse. It's just too many times I have had to put up with snobby behavior and I decided to explode rather than handel it with finesse myself. Just thought I would have got a more thorough response from the users here that's all :) – Shadow Apr 13 '10 at 22:10
  • @Shadow - Isn't SO great? I love it to bits. – Pollyanna Apr 13 '10 at 22:11
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    @Pollyanna @Shadow Sorry to but into your mutual admiration society, but there were only two answers. – nb69307 Apr 13 '10 at 22:32

I think the answer in the example you link to is a little bit short perhaps, but not disrespectful and certainly a far cry from having "bitter sarcasm and elitist stench."

Should we encourage people to be nicer on Stack Overflow? Yes, absolutely. Upvote the better answer. If you think an answer is unhelpful, that's exactly what the downvote button is for.

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    I could put up another of my examples, I was at work this morning and just a little angry with what I have been seeing. Granted I haven't been on very long but I am getting paid to read and respond to things in things in the community and don't want to waste my life with people who could have been nicer. I'll be down voting plenty next time someone is being a jerk. Thanks Bill and I do see your point! – Shadow Apr 13 '10 at 21:58

Regarding the comments on this answer,

  • Who is taking whom too seriously?
  • Is it possible the other user was right?

The "problem" only arose when the other user saw through your comment (perhaps in a more poignant way than you could tolerate -- that, I think, is just his personality), as the claim in that comment would invalidate the point of asking the original question.

There's nothing wrong with being a beginner, or admitting to it. In fact, you did just that by asking the question in the first place. We were all beginners at some point. In fact, we are all beginners at something right now (I know I am). Don't be ashamed of it! The community is a vast wealth of knowledge at your fingertips if you assume an attitude of learning.


As Polly mentioned, just flag it for moderator attention. Constructive criticism is supported, bile is not.

Haterade: Suck quencher http://img341.imageshack.us/img341/9215/hateradelogo.jpg

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    Have you seen the actual "example", now that he finally linked to one? Do you think "hateraid" can apply to that? – Daniel Daranas Apr 13 '10 at 17:58
  • @daniel those purple starfishes can sometimes be a bit ornery. – Jeff Atwood Apr 13 '10 at 18:11
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    Purple? He's clearly fuschia... er, fuchsia... um fyusha?... oh hell #FF00FF! – gnostradamus Apr 13 '10 at 18:46
  • If anyone is interested, the starfish is pinched from the very excellent (and open source) Scratch project at scratch.mit.edu – nb69307 Apr 13 '10 at 19:57
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    I don't know about others, but while I thought the answer and followup comment came off as short, they didn't seem to warrent flagging as offensive, either. Slightly rude, depending on opinion...but not offensive. YMMV. – beska Apr 13 '10 at 20:42

Bad Manners is the bane of the Internet.

StackOverflow is definitely better than most at keeping it tamped down.

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    This is very true. If this question had been asked on usenet.... whoa, I just felt chills up and down my spine... – Pollyanna Apr 13 '10 at 18:03
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    sings - I've got chills! Their multiplyin', and I'm losin' control! 'cause the answers you're supplyin' - they're electrifyin! – Pollyanna Apr 13 '10 at 18:05
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    AAAGGGGHHHHH!!!!!! – Lance Roberts Apr 13 '10 at 18:15
  • @Pollyanna: What song is that? – mmyers Apr 13 '10 at 18:17
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    @mmeyers, "You're The One That I Want" from Grease. – Lance Roberts Apr 13 '10 at 18:22
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    @Lance: Thanks. That explains why I don't remember it. (On a completely unrelated subject (your answer, actually), if the name-change restriction weren't in place I think I'd change my name to Bad Manners.) – mmyers Apr 13 '10 at 18:43

Now we need a Silky Johnson badge....player hater badge...feature request?

  • For whom?, if I may ask. – Daniel Daranas Apr 13 '10 at 20:45
  • @Daniel - For me, of course. /hangs head in shame – Pollyanna Apr 13 '10 at 21:22

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