Are the posted questions getting worse?

  • Naked Ape

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1095

    To answer the original question - yes, they do seem to be getting worse.

    I have been using this site for a couple of years now, and have yet to actually post a question. I have posted a couple of responses, but it is rare that I have felt the need (I'm usually beaten to it by one of the elite, and typically with a better response than I might have given)

    Despite my lack of interaction, I find the site enormously helpful. I skip over many articles, reading just what piques my interest. Occassionally finding something very timely to what I am working on. I like to know why a solution works, and will research things myself rather than simply post a question - but then I'm old school (or just old). I hardly ever search historic articles, but I find this site immensely useful just with the daily posts.

    I have noted how helpful, understanding, and patient all the regular respondents are. In fact, I'm often astounded at how much time and effort some of you guys spend posting responses - the likes of Jeff, Steve and Gail, to name a few.

    Elitist, no. Elite, yes. The site is successful because of all your efforts, and it is appreciated.

    Chris

  • Ron McCullough

    SSC Guru

    Points: 63877

    I have noted how helpful, understanding, and patient all the regular respondents are. In fact, I'm often astounded at how much time and effort some of you guys spend posting responses - the likes of Jeff, Steve and Gail, to name a few.

    Elitist, no. Elite, yes. The site is successful because of all your efforts, and it is appreciated.

    I roundly second what the "Naked Ape" has said, and would like to add Gsquared, Ninja's_RGRus to the list of those who should be thanked.

    If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

    Ron

    Please help us, help you -before posting a question please read[/url]
    Before posting a performance problem please read[/url]

  • Gail Shaw

    SSC Guru

    Points: 1004484

    Jeff Moden (11/18/2008)


    consider the answer that one wiz kid gave...

    "You should be using derived column transformation, and use substring or available string functions. This would help." ... and that's ALL that was given as an answer.

    Technically correct and, yet, totally useless.

    Those are irritating, along with times where people post a badly rephrased copy of an answer one or two posts above.

    What really gets to me are the answers that aren't just wrong, but are extremely dangerous. Like the one I saw at another forum where the OP had a problem with a full transaction log. The suggestion someone gave was to stop SQL and delete the tran log file...

    I get more frustrated and upset with bad (dangerous) answers than with basic questions. I know the people are trying to help, but....

    Gail Shaw
    Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server, MVP, M.Sc (Comp Sci)
    SQL In The Wild: Discussions on DB performance with occasional diversions into recoverability

    We walk in the dark places no others will enter
    We stand on the bridge and no one may pass
  • Michael Valentine Jones

    SSC Guru

    Points: 64818

    There are a lot of people that post questions where they don’t even know how to ask the question, can’t make themselves understood in English, probably shouldn’t be working with SQL Server, are posting their homework or job interview questions, etc. “I need a database for my data. Urgent, plz help!” Or post 1000 lines of code followed by “I have an urgent error. Please fix.”

    I usually don’t bother with these; I just don’t have the patience. I answer the questions I actually feel like answering, and don’t worry about the rest. I find this refreshing, because I have the choice. I get plenty of requests at work that are no better, and I do have to deal with them. “I need write access to the server.” “Setup a new server. I need it in one-half hour because the vendor is coming in to install their software. They need 200 GB of memory and a hard drive.”

    If you enjoy venting about these types of posts, feel free to jump into these long running favorites:

    Twit List

    http://www.sqlteam.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=69568

    Trigger Madness

    http://www.sqlteam.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=57741

    Urgent!! respond NOW!!!!!!!!!!!

    http://www.sqlteam.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=107216

    It's dead, Jim

    http://www.sqlteam.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=67782

    And my personal favorite

    Not Even Stupid

    http://www.sqlteam.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=79305

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 720963

    There are definitely people posting interview or homework questions. Please feel free to call them on it if you don't want to answer.

    And participate where you can. Don't feel bad about ignoring questions for people that don't want to try to help themselves.

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 997149

    GilaMonster (11/19/2008)


    Jeff Moden (11/18/2008)


    consider the answer that one wiz kid gave...

    "You should be using derived column transformation, and use substring or available string functions. This would help." ... and that's ALL that was given as an answer.

    Technically correct and, yet, totally useless.

    Those are irritating, along with times where people post a badly rephrased copy of an answer one or two posts above.

    What really gets to me are the answers that aren't just wrong, but are extremely dangerous. Like the one I saw at another forum where the OP had a problem with a full transaction log. The suggestion someone gave was to stop SQL and delete the tran log file...

    I get more frustrated and upset with bad (dangerous) answers than with basic questions. I know the people are trying to help, but....

    Boy oh boy do I ever agree with that! Guess that makes us "elitists", huh? 😛

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".
    "Dear Lord... I'm a DBA so please give me patience because, if you give me strength, I'm going to need bail money too!"

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 997149

    Hey, Naked Ape and BitBucket... thanks. It's folks like the two of you that make this all worthwhile. 🙂

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".
    "Dear Lord... I'm a DBA so please give me patience because, if you give me strength, I'm going to need bail money too!"

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • Adrian Nichols-360275

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 7694

    Jeff Moden (11/19/2008)

    Boy oh boy do I ever agree with that! Guess that makes us "elitists", huh? 😛

    I wouldn't say that makes you elitist in the slightest. If you want a correct answer from a community such as this, the OP needs to present enough information to formulate a decent question; a question that can be answered.

    My original comment of "sounds a little elitist" is because the thread questions the knowledge level of post subject matter, not just about the quality of posting. There are genuine people out there (loosely termed DBAs, people who have had SQL dumped on them, whichever you'd like to use) that post questions such as "How do I restore a backup to another server?" and to me this question takes about 2 minutes to answer. These are easily answerable and are even easier to leave alone, but if you continually point them in the right direction (to BoL usually) they may think to go there for their next answer before coming on here.

    I agree that there are a lot of OPs that fire useless questions at the site and expect a silver bullet answer straight off. This is just crazy and all we can do to help these sort of posters is to point them to the article on how to post a question. If the first respondant points them to the article and no one helps until they post a decent question, it might affect their behaviour.

    Steve is here to sort the multiple posters out, if the community points out multiple posts to Steve this can be cleaned up. It's a symptom killer but not a cure. There'll always be people that don't use these forums as required and repeat offenders can be dealt with, sadly it's something that comes with Forums. The only cure is to educate and that's impossible to do to those who don't care about the community and only want their work doing for them:exclamationmark:



    Ade

    A Freudian Slip is when you say one thing and mean your mother.
    For detail-enriched answers, ask detail-enriched questions...[/url]

  • dbajunior

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2307

    I wonder if it's a sign of the economic times we live in? Seems like I'm seeing more questions where the first sentence or two goes something like "I'm not a programmer, but....". Could it be that due to staff cutbacks, some people are being asked to go above and beyond their talents to supplement the missing knowledge base in their company?

  • Longv-278915

    SSC-Addicted

    Points: 412

    I agree with everything Adrian Nichols said.


    Kindest Regards,

    VL

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 997149

    Adrian Nichols (11/20/2008)


    Jeff Moden (11/19/2008)

    Boy oh boy do I ever agree with that! Guess that makes us "elitists", huh? 😛

    I wouldn't say that makes you elitist in the slightest. If you want a correct answer from a community such as this, the OP needs to present enough information to formulate a decent question; a question that can be answered.

    My original comment of "sounds a little elitist" is because the thread questions the knowledge level of post subject matter, not just about the quality of posting. There are genuine people out there (loosely termed DBAs, people who have had SQL dumped on them, whichever you'd like to use) that post questions such as "How do I restore a backup to another server?" and to me this question takes about 2 minutes to answer. These are easily answerable and are even easier to leave alone, but if you continually point them in the right direction (to BoL usually) they may think to go there for their next answer before coming on here.

    I agree that there are a lot of OPs that fire useless questions at the site and expect a silver bullet answer straight off. This is just crazy and all we can do to help these sort of posters is to point them to the article on how to post a question. If the first respondant points them to the article and no one helps until they post a decent question, it might affect their behaviour.

    Steve is here to sort the multiple posters out, if the community points out multiple posts to Steve this can be cleaned up. It's a symptom killer but not a cure. There'll always be people that don't use these forums as required and repeat offenders can be dealt with, sadly it's something that comes with Forums. The only cure is to educate and that's impossible to do to those who don't care about the community and only want their work doing for them:exclamationmark:

    Yep... I pretty much agree with all of that... and I understand where someone really needs help and can usually identify those good folks trying to hammer out a living. Most of us can also pretty much identify when someone is being an arrogant jerk or just plain lazy. So, the word "elitist" just didn't sit well with me when it's our turn to blow off some well deserved steam. 😉

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".
    "Dear Lord... I'm a DBA so please give me patience because, if you give me strength, I'm going to need bail money too!"

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • Lynn Pettis

    SSC Guru

    Points: 442359

    Jeff Moden (11/20/2008)


    Adrian Nichols (11/20/2008)


    Jeff Moden (11/19/2008)

    Boy oh boy do I ever agree with that! Guess that makes us "elitists", huh? 😛

    I wouldn't say that makes you elitist in the slightest. If you want a correct answer from a community such as this, the OP needs to present enough information to formulate a decent question; a question that can be answered.

    My original comment of "sounds a little elitist" is because the thread questions the knowledge level of post subject matter, not just about the quality of posting. There are genuine people out there (loosely termed DBAs, people who have had SQL dumped on them, whichever you'd like to use) that post questions such as "How do I restore a backup to another server?" and to me this question takes about 2 minutes to answer. These are easily answerable and are even easier to leave alone, but if you continually point them in the right direction (to BoL usually) they may think to go there for their next answer before coming on here.

    I agree that there are a lot of OPs that fire useless questions at the site and expect a silver bullet answer straight off. This is just crazy and all we can do to help these sort of posters is to point them to the article on how to post a question. If the first respondant points them to the article and no one helps until they post a decent question, it might affect their behaviour.

    Steve is here to sort the multiple posters out, if the community points out multiple posts to Steve this can be cleaned up. It's a symptom killer but not a cure. There'll always be people that don't use these forums as required and repeat offenders can be dealt with, sadly it's something that comes with Forums. The only cure is to educate and that's impossible to do to those who don't care about the community and only want their work doing for them:exclamationmark:

    Yep... I pretty much agree with all of that... and I understand where someone really needs help and can usually identify those good folks trying to hammer out a living. Most of us can also pretty much identify when someone is being an arrogant jerk or just plain lazy. So, the word "elitist" just didn't sit well with me when it's our turn to blow off some well deserved steam. 😉

    I guess, that as professionals, we aren't supposed to vent! 😛

  • Stephanie J Brown

    Hall of Fame

    Points: 3866

    I've noticed an upsurge in poor questions and homework questions. Is there normally a flush of these in the fall, as summer ends and new graduates find jobs while college starts up again and new students get hard questions? 😀

    As a developer with (gasp!) MS-Access background who was thrown into SQL Server (and most recently MySQL), I can attest that many of us are suddenly expected to support software we know nothing about, that someone else (often a user) selected, with minimal to no training on said software. And it's not just SQL Server, I've got my list...

    The expectation is that because you're a "programmer", you know how to deal with every kind of software and platform - you're an "expert". (and if I believed that I'm an expert, THEN I would be elitist - as well as crazy!) :hehe:

    When I see homework questions, I just snort and move on. Often someone has already posted the "answer" - do your own homework! And frankly some of the "Please HELP!" questions look like someone procrastinated on their homework, but it could be they've just been thrown into a situation such as Jack described, but they don't have the skills or training to deal with it - and they probably have a VP breathing down their necks! Not a situation conducive to rational thought (especially if the supplicant is young, and doesn't yet realize the VP is just another co-worker). They may not even know WHAT question they need to ask, much less HOW to ask it; that's a tough situation to be in.

    Yes, guru's need a place to vent too - like most volcanos, venting prevents eruptions (or reduces the severity)! Most of the people posting on this thread are those who give the most concise, well-explained answers - they're a joy to read, even when I don't understand exactly what they're saying. I suspect part of the frustration is not just with the questions being asked, but by the percieved quality (training, experience level etc) of the person asking the question. Those at the highest level of compentence have worked hard to get there, and have built this community up to a high standard. Then you see these questions, and perhaps wonder, "Is this the caliber of person that will follow, and be answering questions when I've retired? EYUCK!"

    The good news is the world will weed them out - they'll either improve, get bored and go away, or become mediocre developers or JR DBA's. But a few will grow to challenge the heights, and become the "new" Modens, Gila Monsters, et al. And the best part is, you have no idea which of those questioners will follow those paths... 😀

    Food for thought; as with a buffet, pick the dishes you like!


    Here there be dragons...,

    Steph Brown

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 997149

    Heh... yeah... "Please Help"... I especially love the one's that have the word "URGENT!" in the title. Those are always "fun" in one form or another. Then, there's the one's that "bump" there own post with phrases like "Anyone?" or "I thought this was a forum"... of course, they also have the worst formatted and least clear of the posts and that's the reason why no one has answered. Some people...

    ... I've found that a nice nip o' Scotch or a good beer fixes most of those, though. 😛

    Another favorite are those that ask things like "which would be faster" and they post the code for both... talk about "lazy". :hehe:

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".
    "Dear Lord... I'm a DBA so please give me patience because, if you give me strength, I'm going to need bail money too!"

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • Gail Shaw

    SSC Guru

    Points: 1004484

    Jeff Moden (11/21/2008)


    Another favorite are those that ask things like "which would be faster" and they post the code for both... talk about "lazy". :hehe:

    Yeah, but at least those are easy to answer - "It depends. Try both and see."

    Gail Shaw
    Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server, MVP, M.Sc (Comp Sci)
    SQL In The Wild: Discussions on DB performance with occasional diversions into recoverability

    We walk in the dark places no others will enter
    We stand on the bridge and no one may pass

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