Dude, Your Fly is Open

  • I think I will have to disagree with you, for purely selfish reasons, if the setting is a forum such as SSC. With the intarwebz so open to search, if the 'mistake' (small or great) is not pointed out within the same document that it originates from, others (read: I) will stumble upon it when looking for answers and be misled. This is why I come to SSC, because the discussions often lead to a much more profound understanding of what is going on.

    That said, the correction should have a modicum of restraint, not "Hey, you idiot, why can't you do anything right?...", but rather "I would disagree, because of X and Y, the correct answer should be Z".

    If the setting is in the office, then I would agree that the mistake should be corrected privately, unless it causes critical errors that need fixed immediately, and training needs noted for the group.

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    How best to post your question[/url]
    How to post performance problems[/url]
    Tally Table:What it is and how it replaces a loop[/url]

    "stewsterl 80804 (10/16/2009)I guess when you stop and try to understand the solution provided you not only learn, but save yourself some headaches when you need to make any slight changes."

  • These forums, I think, do require pointing out of mistakes for the reasons Jay mentioned. However if it's something like a typo, I have pinged people to privately edit their post.

  • Hey, we are all agreeing!!!

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • jcrawf02 (2/25/2010)


    I think I will have to disagree with you, for purely selfish reasons, if the setting is a forum such as SSC. With the intarwebz so open to search, if the 'mistake' (small or great) is not pointed out within the same document that it originates from, others (read: I) will stumble upon it when looking for answers and be misled. This is why I come to SSC, because the discussions often lead to a much more profound understanding of what is going on.

    That said, the correction should have a modicum of restraint, not "Hey, you idiot, why can't you do anything right?...", but rather "I would disagree, because of X and Y, the correct answer should be Z".

    If the setting is in the office, then I would agree that the mistake should be corrected privately, unless it causes critical errors that need fixed immediately, and training needs noted for the group.

    Let's not forget, though, that threads are inherently designed around discussion, frequently with differing opinions contributing. Even if someone's posted something that turns out to be wrong, they needn't necessarily have to feel embarrassed about making the mistake - especially if it was an easy mistake to make. Moreover, the discussion you're talking about that gives a more profound insight needn't ever become criticism, constructive or otherwise (although I agree it does sometimes descend to that level in practice).

    Where someone's committed a real howler that they probably will or ought to be embarrassed about, you've always got PM to have a "quiet" word first, so even though this is a very public medium I believe the basic rules of considerate communication can still be maintained.

    Semper in excretia, suus solum profundum variat

  • Not only would I like to be informed, but I would like to be informed sooner rather than later

  • I agree with the article suggestions, but in today's economic environment I find that most people no longer want to hear they made any mistakes. I don't know if it is because they fear for their job, are hearing complaints from their supervisors too often, or simply have so much to do that they can't take the time to do the job right. (Yes I know, then when will you have time to do it over!)

    A lot of people can't stomach the slightest correction, no matter how it is offered. Personally I enjoy when people point out a better way to do things. It is one way I learn.

    Fortunately I do work with some people who have the same attitude I do, and the efficiency we have as a team is mainly due to our willingness to offer criticisms and suggestions to improve process.

    Sigh.

    Dave

  • djackson 22568 (2/25/2010)


    I agree with the article suggestions, but in today's economic environment I find that most people no longer want to hear they made any mistakes. I don't know if it is because they fear for their job, are hearing complaints from their supervisors too often, or simply have so much to do that they can't take the time to do the job right. (Yes I know, then when will you have time to do it over!)

    A lot of people can't stomach the slightest correction, no matter how it is offered. Personally I enjoy when people point out a better way to do things. It is one way I learn.

    Fortunately I do work with some people who have the same attitude I do, and the efficiency we have as a team is mainly due to our willingness to offer criticisms and suggestions to improve process.

    Sigh.

    When someone takes the time to highlight an error, omission or such like in something one has done, it highlights that they deemed your efforts worthy of at least a cursory glance e.g. they read you post.

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • majorbloodnock (2/25/2010)


    ...even though this is a very public medium I believe the basic rules of considerate communication can still be maintained.

    Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat

    ...like only using agreed languages in communications?

    Quality!!!

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • Gary Varga (2/25/2010)


    majorbloodnock (2/25/2010)


    ...even though this is a very public medium I believe the basic rules of considerate communication can still be maintained.

    Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat

    ...like only using agreed languages in communications?

    Quality!!!

    Guilty as charged, M'Lud, and many thanks for highlighting the irony discreetly ;-):-D

    All I can say in defence is that the Latin is only a (hopefully) humorous signature, and not part of what I was trying to communicate. Mind you, it's entirely possible that even then it's grammatically incorrect, so if you notice any mistakes, please feel free to correct me - in a PM, of course, to save me from more public embarrassment......

    Semper in excretia, suus solum profundum variat

  • majorbloodnock (2/25/2010)


    Gary Varga (2/25/2010)


    majorbloodnock (2/25/2010)


    ...even though this is a very public medium I believe the basic rules of considerate communication can still be maintained.

    Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat

    ...like only using agreed languages in communications?

    Quality!!!

    Guilty as charged, M'Lud, and many thanks for highlighting the irony discreetly ;-):-D

    All I can say in defence is that the Latin is only a (hopefully) humorous signature, and not part of what I was trying to communicate. Mind you, it's entirely possible that even then it's grammatically incorrect, so if you notice any mistakes, please feel free to correct me - in a PM, of course, to save me from more public embarrassment......

    I'm just cross that my education didn't extend to enabling me to understand such witticisms.

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • Gary Varga (2/25/2010)


    majorbloodnock (2/25/2010)


    Gary Varga (2/25/2010)


    majorbloodnock (2/25/2010)


    ...even though this is a very public medium I believe the basic rules of considerate communication can still be maintained.

    Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat

    ...like only using agreed languages in communications?

    Quality!!!

    Guilty as charged, M'Lud, and many thanks for highlighting the irony discreetly ;-):-D

    All I can say in defence is that the Latin is only a (hopefully) humorous signature, and not part of what I was trying to communicate. Mind you, it's entirely possible that even then it's grammatically incorrect, so if you notice any mistakes, please feel free to correct me - in a PM, of course, to save me from more public embarrassment......

    I'm just cross that my education didn't extend to enabling me to understand such witticisms.

    Sadly nothing clever enough to live up to the preceding drum-roll. Translated, it means "Always in the manure; it's just the depth that changes".

    Semper in excretia, suus solum profundum variat

  • Good article, Tim. I appreciate the reminder. I think it is true, in most cases, that calling someone out privately is best. I know that I prefer being told, privately, that I made a mistake. I can then correct it (unless its already been corrected) and certainly remember to not make the same mistake again.

    However, when I read this the incident from my past that came to mind was with a junior programmer who used to work here. This is several years ago now, back when VB4 was new. We were all learning VB4 then, and were very busy involved in writing the major applications which our agency still use today, although they now run under VB6. Back when VB4 was the hot thing, but there were several things that it didn't do. It didn't have several built-in functions which we take for granted today. One of them was it didn't have a built-in function for doing string replacements. We were very busy writing some of these basic string functions, and this developer was given the task of writing a string replacement function. She did a horrible job, because what she did was find the sought for string, substitute the new replacement string, and then look at the whole string again. For example, her function declaration looked something like this:

    Function Replace(OriginalString As String, SoughtForString As String, ReplacementString As String) As String

    So, her algorithm was to look for the SoughtForString in the OriginalString, substitute the ReplacementString, and then look at the whole, new OriginalString again. This worked fine, if you did something like this:

    Dim Tmp As String

    Dim Tmp2 As String

    Tmp = "This is a test"

    Tmp2 = Replace(Tmp, "i", "d")

    This would then result in Tmp2 being equal to "Thds ds a test". In such cases her Replace() function worked fine. But what happened if you did something like this?:

    Dim Tmp As String

    Dim Tmp2 As String

    Tmp = "This is a test"

    Tmp2 = Replace(Tmp, "i", "ii")

    What happened, because she always started at the beginning of the new, orignial string, is that she would get errors because the machine would run out of memory, because it would do this:

    Tmp2 would equal "Thiis is a string"

    then her Replace function would find the first "i" in "Thiis" and would then come up with:

    Tmp2 would equal "Thiiis is a string"

    then her Replace function would find the first "i" in "Thiiis" and would then come up with:

    Tmp2 would equal "Thiiiis is a string"

    etc

    I tried telling her in private what was happening, and she simply did not understand what I was talking about. I tried again, and she didn't understand what I was talking about. We were releasing versions of the software, with her bug in it, and it was crashing our application and our users were getting upset, etc. No matter how many times I told her, she didn't get it.

    Finally I decided I had to take the code away from her, fix the problem so that it would stop crashing our application with out of memory error messages. Eventually this woman retired and left. She is intelligent in many other ways, but programming wasn't one of them. When she left she admitted that her programming skills were poor. I believe she's doing much better, now that she's away from IT.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • Good article. It reminds me of a joke from another career world --- music.

    It's a sight-gag, but here it is in writing:

    The maestro is about to raise his baton to lead the orchestra in Beethoven's 5th Symphony. The head violinist stands up to tune the orchestra and quietly whispers to him, "Maestro, your fly is open." The conductor quietly nods and says in a whisper, "Thank you, Aaron."

    He then slowly turns his back to the orchestra, discreetly zippers his fly in full view of the audience, furtively looking over his shoulder at his colleauges.

    -- J Khalsa, Marlboro MA

  • You (SSC Veteran) point out one of the major causes of people not wanting to hear criticism. If they are in a role they are poorly suited for, every attempt to assist them just reinforces their knowledge of their inability to do the job. Anyone can write a program, it takes someone special to write good code. Some might say that anyone can be taught to code well, that simply is not the case. Logic is not taught in schools which leads to a significant portion of the population not being able to understand why things work.

    EG: A square is a rectangle. A rectangle is not always a square.

    I remember a discreet math course I took, education majors at the college were also required to take it. We had two very young, very lacking future teachers who stood up and argued that they should not have to take this course because they are going to be teachers, and why should teachers have to understand logic.

    🙁

    Dave

  • Tim, great editorial. Sometimes those of us who work in a technical world place less emphasis on the human factors of life. As was mentioned, there is a time and place for everything. Discretion with public criticism shows a lot of class, at the same time, an ill place critical remark can make one look like the "north end of a south bound mule". Keep up the good work.

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