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burlster
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Good day to you,

So I've been encountering what could be percieved as a little bit of a problem in this forum. It's been discussed recently in various threads and I would be intrigued who feels what on the topic. For those of you who have shared your views, I would be appreciative if you would share them again in this thread so that we might make it the focus of a discussion.

The brilliant Gurus and other experts in this forum are extremely helpeful, very generous with their advise and in a lot of cases, absolute life-savers. However, because of how we treat the 'beginners', we're starting to have a rather elitist feel about us. That would be fine but we have specific threads FOR beginners who should perhaps be given a little bit more patience then those who just outright ignore the stickies and rules, as they may not know about them.

In a previous thread I proposed one of many possible solutions which is why I am starting this thread in 'Site Discussion'. A standardised reply for those not following the rules but are beginners. I proposed the following as a standard template.

"This is an automatic message. The help you have requested may not be providable as you are either:

1) Short a doctype. (learn what one is here)
2) Not presenting all your code or a live link.
3) Are presenting unvalidated code. (Please validate here)
4) Have not explained your problem clearly enough.
5) You have not read our stickies so are not following forum rules.

If you can rectify these issues, the members of this forum would be more then happy to help.

Thank you,

The CSSCreator Gurus"

This benefits everyone as it would save you all time writing to people you think deserve harsh replies, but this way they are far more likely to go away
and do what it takes to fix their problems. Whether it's built in to the forum, or just becomes a copy and paste jobby, it would save these threads which just degrade in to slagging matches and sometimes even lean towards the bullying side. It saves the beginners time because they know precisely what to do to fix their problems and get the help they need. Finally we all end up in a forum with a friendly feel about it so everyone benefits Smile

Thanks for reading,

John

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barbs75
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sounds good

Hey John,

I totally agree with you. I'm kinda new to CSS, i covered it within my multimedia degree at university, but not too in depth, i only know the basics, and am not too aware of standards for web design (i have had to teach this myself since graduating), hence the reason why i joined this forum in the first place, i heard they are a great way of sharing views and getting expert advice on your work.

There have been times in the past, where without these forums i would've fallen on my arse, and gave up, sometimes you can read up on content on the web or in books, but sometimes, especially for people who are not experts in CSS, they can't integrate that info into their own work to solve problems....

I know that sometimes, for experts, it can seem that some of the newbies on this site, just want a quick fix, (some do) and can't be bothered to work it out for themselves, that, the majority of the time isn't true.

I know that when i first joined other forums asking questions, i would get some outright nasty comments back saying, "you're not doing this, you are not doing that, you are wasting my time". Its not nice, it makes you feel 'unwanted' from the community and makes you wander if you want to learn programming at all!

as a relatively new user of this forum and with not too much programming experience (i'm getting there!) i am SO EAGER to LEARN about CSS. This, and multimedia is what i want to do for my career, probably the same with other newbies on this site, so if i know standard procedures i need to check my work and figure it out for myself, and improve my skills, i will do it no problem!

Whenever i have a problem, i take ages trying to fix it, i then search through forums for previous threads which might be relevant to the problem, and then the last resort is posting a new topic.

John, because you posted me that link to w3c validator, i used it and validated my code myself, and got rid of bad content in my syntax, which is extremely useful, when you get your code right and you get a 'congrats' message from w3c, its so rewarding!

i know there are probably a SMALL amount of users who just want a quick fix, but as you said, rather than getting nasty about it, just give a reply similar to the one you suggested.

People who want a quick fix will just give up, and try other forums etc while people who want to learn and can be bothered to help themselves will actually do the procedures you ask, and solve it themselves and learn in the process.

it seems like a problem solved to me, give the forum a more communial feel, its a feel good thing when you get experts being friendly and giving you encouragement, it gives you motivation and the will to do it!!!

don't forget EVERYONE is a 'newbie' at some point in their lives!

cheers

Craig

cheers

Hugo
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John it's a matter we have

John it's a matter we have debated in depth and at length on in the dim distant past, and it is one that doesn't have an easy solution.

We have also asked that people be kind on beginners before especially - as you rightly point out - given the fact that we have a 'Beginners CSS' section.

One point I would personally prefer that we didn't refer to forum 'Rules' we have 'posting guidelines 'and 'responding to' guidelines for those wishing to help, rules has a nasty connotation to it which IIRC was a matter discussed a time back.

Elitist attitude is not something that this forum was ever about and sadly the last few months has seen a little rise in that seeming air to proceedings, and ought to stop, however, this doesn't mean licence for newbies not to put the basics of good forum netiquette in action. It is always beholden on the newbie to any forum to observe basic common practises, these include, but are not limeted to, Lurking, reading ALL forum guidelines and stickies, performing searches, this helps to promote a good atmosphere by not causing mods or others to have to request certain actions and also shows respect towards the forum; this is something that over the last few years has been in sad decline, and I suppose indicative of the copy and paste approach that draws so many new people to coding, but such is life Smile

Automated responses should not be necessary really I would prefer that we handled things in a personal manner albeit a friendly one Smile

Before you make your first post it is vital that you READ THE POSTING GUIDELINES!
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Please validate and ensure you have included a full Doctype before posting.
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burlster
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Agreed!

Thank you Hugo, the points you make are both fair and to the point. My only concern is that netiquette isn't taught anywhere and we should be mindful of that. If all we say to someone who hasn't adhered to these rules is "Please abide by netiquette, click this link to see how' and link them to the guidelines post, that is still more helpful then a sarcastic comment.

I completely agree with the annoyance of people who just want someone to do their work for them, or the copy and paste approach as you call it but by getting annoyed with everyone who doesn't follow these rules we're tarring those who just don't know about netiquette with the same brush as those who just don't care.

That alone is my concern.

Craig, thank you for your thoughts, I was where you are not all that long ago so keep at it, it only gets more fun Laughing out loud .

Thank you,

John

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Hugo
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Actually John forum/list

Actually John forum/list netiquette is 'taught' for want of a better word here in this page and which is considered as close to a RFC on the subject as one gets.

http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

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burlster
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True

Ok, I'm really worried I'm going to start pissing people off and that's really the last thing I want. God forbid I be seen as ungrateful of the help provided here for free no less, and by experts whom I really respect. So I may drop the whole thing after this.

But Hugo, before your post I had never heard of RFC before. That may just be because I'm ignorant, but even Wikipedia had 6 definitions of what it stood for under the sub-heading 'Technology' alone. Eventually I found one referencing Internet Standards and read a little before coming back to follow your link.

That was a completely new document on me to be honest, and I can't think why I might have come across it before, nor can I figure out why any beginners may have been pointed towards it. I did computing GCSE, a computing A-Level and only graduated from a Multimedia degree a couple of years back yet still the concept of 'netiquette' is one I became familiar with only after having joined this forum last year.

I love the idea that when people sign up for web access they get a 'before you continue, you must read this' or something including it, but sadly that's not the case.

By now you're probably thinking I'm just an outspoken ignorant programming wannabe Laughing out loud . But I just think we're in a lul at the moment because the internet is too easy to use, but it will become the case eventually where people are taught in schools and on courses the proper way to handle forums (ie. read the stickies first) and in the mean time, we just have to be a touch more patient when we can't guarantee someone is just after a quick fix.

John

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downtap
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John, I'm with you on this.

John,

I'm with you on this. As a long-time frequenter of this site, but not too much of a poster, I see a lot of what you're referring too. I almost commented in that other thread that you had chimed in on. I do understand why the experts and mods on this site can get frustrated, as it seems to be a lot of the same issues with new posters (doctype, validation, need more information, etc). I do think that there are a large percentage of people who come on here and basically want a freebie and could care less about learning the techniques taught here. However, I do believe there are a lot of people who come in here, are a little frustrated because they can't get past a problem they've encountered, and just would like a little direction. Unfortunately, it may be a little hard to discern between these two groups of people in a two sentence post. I think an automatic msg is a pretty good idea, but I do trust the experts and mods here in the direction they want to take their forum, as they are the ones who have sunk their time, help and hearts into this place.

Hugo
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God John your just such an

God John your just such an outspoken ignorant programming wannabe Tongue

RFC 'Request for Comment' are the scientific white papers of the techi world where protocols are laid out and requests for people to comment on them taken, one of the better known ones might be http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc2068.html

Your right though there is no real reason why people would be aware of these or of the 'How to ask Questions' paper, however we have posted a link to it any number of times and I had thought that it was linked to in one of the stickies which I had a hand in doing some small revisions to yet it appears not.

In some respects we know what is happening with the internet and the attitude of some newcomers to it so we shouldn't really get riled by things, yet sadly often it's hard not to or rather at times a point has to be made. One must also not forget that many tech forums are deliberately unforgiving and with reason, and we are in fact of a much more laid back friendly persuasion here.

Oh and worry not I don't think you're going to piss anyone off raising these issues, part of the point of a community is that members must be able to air their views/feelings and it's healthy to do so once in a while Smile

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Hugo
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Downtap it's nice to have a

Downtap it's nice to have a vote of confidence as such, yet truthfully the 'experts' and 'Mods' can and do get frustrated and perhaps from time to time we need to take a bit of a backseat, but as you point out many of us have devoted a fair amount of time to the place and do feel a little protective of it.

There was/is an interesting piece written called something like 'forum vamps' which explains in a light-hearted manner how forums can be drained of their lifeforce (regulars) by those wishing simply quick fixes without a thought to the community giving of their time, I've lost track of it but if anyone can find it it does explain some salient truths as to what can drag a forum down.

Before you make your first post it is vital that you READ THE POSTING GUIDELINES!
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gary.turner
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If I may jump in late

If I may jump in late …

Any forum or mail list that allows members to slide on the strict netiquette guidelines without a public tongue lashing is on the downward spiral. The guidelines as written by Raymond and Moen's "How to ask …", or those in the "official" RFC 1855, define how a forum keeps its lifeblood flowing.

Members should always be held to the standards, but that does not mean the the old-timers, gurus or mods should use sarcasm or harsh criticism, or otherwise embarrassing comments. Newcomers should be taken by the hand and gently led to the path of righteousness. If, after several attempts to open their eyes to the light, they remain obdurate, then harsh sarcasm is justified. There is no embarrassing them. Wink

cheers,

gary

Unplanned code results in a tangled wad of brain-cramping confusion.

There are enough html & css demos and tutorials to be interesting. Please visit.

Hugo
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Ah 'Obdurate' perfect word

Ah 'Obdurate' perfect word Smile

While being obdurate they often will demonstrate an impenitent nature ( or are the two mutually inclusive?) and that is simply never to be tolerated.

Before you make your first post it is vital that you READ THE POSTING GUIDELINES!
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burlster
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Just checking!

ob·du·rate (bd-rt, -dy-)

adj.

1.
a. Hardened in wrongdoing or wickedness; stubbornly impenitent: "obdurate conscience of the old sinner" Sir Walter Scott.
b. Hardened against feeling; hardhearted: an obdurate miser.

2.
Not giving in to persuasion; intractable. See Synonyms at inflexible.

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burlster
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Fun fun

Thank you Hugo and Gary!

This has been an enlightening discussion and I am glad to have raised the point. Perhaps I'm just a bit of a coward, knowing that a sarcy comment early on would have put me right off on my learning curve so would hate to see that happen to anyone, but on the other hand, it is a forum to be proud of and you Gurus/Mods and all the other regulars have done a great job.

I hope you like my next website (coming soon) as practically the whole thing will have been built using the advise and help I have recieved in here Smile. Yesterday, I read up and learnt about Sitemaps and Robots.txt files, and today it is time to investigate writing my own cookies much as Tyssen does so I too can remember whether a user has selected larger text or high contrast versions!

J

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I think another thing people

I think another thing people don't realise is when they say "You didn't post your full HTML, come back when you're willing to", it sounds (on a text-only forum) a little terse. I make sure I never take it that way, and I encourage others to as well. This is probably why my comments are... um, a little bit more on the verbose side of things? I may sound rambling, but never terse : )

We can't see expressions on forums or hear the tone of voice, so it's extra likely that someone will misunderstand someone else.

I've never, ever run across any of these funky documents, never heard of them, anything. And I've been surfing teh interwebz since... 28.8 bps modems? Maybe cause I never did any technical/computer schools or anything (unless you count UNIX classes). Though I did learn somewhere that stickies should be read first before making a first post.

I'm no expert, but I fake one on teh Internets

burlster
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Interesting!

Stomme poes wrote:
Though I did learn somewhere that stickies should be read first before making a first post.

Me too, after I had posted a couple of messages and was advised to read the stickies which I hate to confess, I had to look up the definition for before returning to the forum to do so.

It's all fun and games, now I have to shift my attention because the biggest feedback I've got from my new site (currently in site checks) is that the logo is rubbish. Looks like I have to find me a photoshop forum or something. This time however, I'll head to the stickies first in search of things such as "Please ensure you include all layers", "Please adhere to our web-colour friendly standards" etc etc.

It's ok though, because I've learnt to love the rules. They make it so much more satisfactory when you get the results... like getting to the end boss in a computer game WITHOUT cheating!!

J

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gary.turner
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Quote:And I've been surfing

Quote:
And I've been surfing teh interwebz since... 28.8 bps modems
Don't you mean 28.8kb/s? Then you missed the 300baud acoustically coupled modems—not to mention the state of the art 2400bps modems in the AT days. Smile Newbies! Bah!

cheers,

gary

Unplanned code results in a tangled wad of brain-cramping confusion.

There are enough html & css demos and tutorials to be interesting. Please visit.

Stomme poes
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28.8

That must be what I meant, but I could have sworn we called them bps.. but then, ours was never a technical family : ) Actually the first was 14.4 but we never got it working : ) I certainly don't come from the generation of punchcards, magnetic tape and paper in place of screen!

I'm no expert, but I fake one on teh Internets