How many questions is too many?

@Jaydog, my advice would be to not get involved in a thread if you think you might be too harsh. I’ll be honest, sometimes I am guilty of this and I either catch myself before I post something I’ll regret or I end up apologizing after the fact. There are a ton of people here who love to answer questions so if you think you can’t answer without being too harsh then I would just not answer.

A free forum like this is going to attract a wide array of people with a broad range of reasons for wanting to learn this stuff. Who are we to tell them how they should learn.

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I think a lot of this has to deal with the language barrier too.
I think Quincy said that only a small percentage (like 30-35%) are based in English speaking countries like the U.S.

But there is a large population of people that come from Europe, Asia, Africa, etc.

So if English is not someone’s first language or if they know very little English then it is probably really hard for them to ask questions.

They probably wanted to join earlier and ask but they were really scared too.

But once they joined, a lot of them will feel comfortable finally asking the questions they were to scared to ask earlier.

So that could explain the flood of questions from a user.

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Fair point but no this topic has nothing to do with the way I answer someones question, I answer peoples questions in the same way whether it is thier first ever question or thier 50th and my high ratio of solutions to posts I think confirms that.
My feelings on whether someone might be relying on others a little too much never come into the equation when it comes to answering thier questions.
As I mentioned earlier, if I found someone irritating I simply wouldn’t answer thier questions, it solidifies and improves my own knowledge to answer peoples questions so I am very happy to do so but as a student of human behaviour I cannot help but observe it.

I will admit there have been times when I think people are basically asking the forum to do their work for them. I don’t notice this as much with the FCC material as much as people that have some pet project, clearly have not studied the FCC material or much other material and are trying to get us to fix their project for them one step at a time, that seems to go on forever because they have no idea what is going on. Yeah, that gets on my nerves. I can’t remember seeing that much in the FCC material though. There was one recently - I just started pointing out ways they could find the answers themselves and stressed how important learning to look for answers is for web dev.

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I agree with your points.
I personally think help vampires is a horrible term to label someone with just for asking questions. However as you have clearly observed there are a tiny amount of people who seem to ask for the answer before attempting to reason for themselves.

Fair points, definately some truth to that.

This is the first time we agree
“I will admit there are times when I think people are basically asking the forum to do thier work for them.”
I have always said it is a tiny percentage I am talking about, people who ask the question before attempting to think for themselves. I say these things not to put people down or because they annoy me but because I would like to see people do as well as possible and asking for the answer before attempting it yourself I don’t believe is in thier own best interests.
I am nearly 50 and I still experiment with new ways to learn things as I still havn’t completely worked out what’s best for me in every circumstance and I have spent many years trying.
I know I am not alone in that and I remain convinced that a tiny minority are not acting in thier own best interests by asking for help before theyv’e had a decent try themselves.
However I will never be the one to tell them that as I am no ones mother or master

I’m not sure where this topic is going at this point?

Asking questions is good.

Not everyone feels comfortable asking questions, and that is fine.

We certainly cannot draw any conclusions about anyone based on how many questions they ask.

Some small number of people abuse the generosity of others.

Everyone should participate in the ways that they like on the forum so long as they are being kind.

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Well, the people that annoy me are the people that clearly don’t want to learn. Or people that have plagiarized. In my anecdotal experience, having been active on the forum for 4.5 years now, I can count those on my fingers.

There may additionally be some that are doing themselves a disservice by not learning the “right” way. I try to steer them in the right direction, but at some point you just have to roll your eyes and wish them luck. I’m not going to get bent out of shape over it.

I know I am not alone in that and I remain convinced that a tiny minority are not acting in thier own best interests by asking for help before theyv’e had a decent try themselves.

Sure. Yeah. If you notice when I’m in a thread, I (and others) often will try to gently chide them for that and steer them towards branching out and being more independent. But for some people, that is not natural for them and they are still scared about all this so you do it gently.

But I’m not going to get bent out of shape about it. Most of the people that start FCC I assume won’t finish - I don’t have data here, I’m just guessing. And an even smaller percentage will become developers.

I used to see it as a professional musician - people that love the dream of being a musician but didn’t want to put in the time or effort. I might give a suggestion, but ultimately they are in charge of living their life, not me. If they were a student, that’s a little bit different, but still, people are going to do what they’re going to do.

Unless we (FCC) start instituting some qualification test and progress reports and start checking up on people (and I hope we don’t), there will always be people that misuse this material. There will be people that just want to skim through it and learn as little as possible. Whatever floats their boat. But there are far, far, far more people that get value from this, even the ones that don’t become devs. I myself learned to be a dev and at 49 got a new job with a huge pay increase. I might have been able to do it without FCC, but I think it would have been a lot harder and taken longer. I’m not going to let the fact that 0.1% people don’t use it properly get me down. I really just don’t care. I try to help them a little, but in the end, it’s their life and I can’t help them. I worry about the 99.9% that I can help. That is where my focus and energy is.

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Agree with most of what you said.
I think asking questions is a good thing but it should not be our first go to option before attempting to answer the question ourselves. You can tell to some degree by the questions people ask as well as the quantity how much of the course they have learned.
If I see some one attempting a project but they are asking how to make a font bigger and change it’s color I cannot help but feel they would be better off going through the course once more

These are the people that will winnow themselves out, as they move forward. I’ve been a mod on the FCC discord for a while, a contributor to the news feed, and I occasionally say something that makes sense. :wink:

There are many who are not yet confident in themselves, regardless. Some of this is because of the newness of the whole field, some might be attributable to the whole “Impostors” thing, some might simply be the difficulty in learning both a coding language and the “meta-language” that surrounds it. There is a lot of jargon that those of us who have been at this a while are comfortable with, that new folks simply aren’t.

Sure, we can be bothered if someone asks questions about every single small step, but we can’t know their learning style or their intent. We can’t know they’re here to earn the certification and move on, until we see their forum post about “Woohoo, I got all the certifications in six days! Bow down and fear me, I’m a coding GOD!” (And yes, while paraphrased, that happens).

Some start this, and get through the HTML/CSS, get into the JS, and feel overwhelmed. Or life happens. Or whatever. They take a break for a few weeks or months, and come back. And yes - they will ask many of the same questions again, because they either need to confirm what they think they knew or because they simply forgot. It happens.

I do get a bit bothered when someone posts an entire working solution here and says “Here’s my code, how would you improve it?” First, that blows a hole in the side of others who might search the forum, they see your complete solution. Second, that takes up a lot of bandwidth talking about things that may or may not apply - my solutions might involve techniques they haven’t learned yet, so they’re useless at that point in their education. But they ask, and I can’t know their intent. So what’s the harm in answering?

Some are worried about breaking something or not doing a lesson right, or feeling that they’re stuck after working on a lesson for twenty minutes (or two days, or a week). They take as long as they take, and the questions to help them past the hump? Are welcome. The answer that simply gives them everything without guiding them to a solution they find… that one bothers me. Guidance, not gimme’s, people! :wink:

The “I’m nearly 50” thing? I was having a conversation with someone who asked about how long I’d been at this. I had been coding for a while before React was a thing. Well, before jQuery was a thing. Well, before jScript became Javascript 1.0. Well, before HTML 1.0. In fact, before the internet officially existed. I learned on mainframes. So I’ve seen many things, I’ve seen many ways of learning, I’ve learned in many different ways.

My point? You can’t know the intent or learning style of the person asking the question. You can provide guidance and mentorship, but you can’t assume anything about that person that they have not explicitly told you. Being kind and being helpful doesn’t cost you anything.

If they are simply lazy learners, looking to StackOverflow-copy-paste solutions from here to get the certification, then when they’re in the work force they’ll face a rude awakening. Their karma in that case, my conscience is clear.

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These are the people that will winnow themselves out

It reminds me of a funny story from when I studied music at the university…

A guy… he was a good guy and a great musician but was also very lazy and didn’t like the academic aspects. There’re these classes you have to take in your junior years, basically three quarters of music history. It’s a pretty intense class - a lot of study. Any way, this guy had taken the classes the year before and skated by but failed the last quarter. He was retaking that last class this year. But he rarely showed up for class, when he did he was usually late and didn’t pay attention. He didn’t work hard on any of the papers we had to do, but he was hoping to nail it down with the final exam. The day of the final exam comes - he was on time for once. About 10 minutes into this two hour exam he just gives up and says to the teacher, “see you next year”, and he did - he took that class a third time. But that time he showed up on time and took notes.

But some people never learned that lesson. I knew people that dropped because they just couldn’t get with the program. There’s only so much you can do to help people if they don’t want to help themselves.

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LambdaConf 2015 - How to Learn Haskell in Less Than 5 Years, Chris Allen[0]:

Most people believe that the way they teach … is the way they learned it… it is usually not true. Most people have created a narrative around how they learned things, that is mostly not true.

Definitely among the self learners one of the anti patterns (if you will) … they believe that they figured it out and get it all by themselves … and yeah, that’s nonsense… I’ve seen all the questions in IRC and mailing lists.

Getting help is good, just to be clear. But don’t tell yourself that you didn’t get help … you did, you got a lot, some of it was synchronous some of it was asynchronous. Like they are reading something in a book … the explanation didn’t make sense … then they proceed to google and go through a bunch of other explanations, then they understand it. But what they going to tell to the next person that wants to learn: “oh, I read this book”.

That’s not true, that’s not the whole truth. And it is important that we understand that’s not the whole truth, because otherwise the recommendations we’re giving people are subjecting them the same pain that we’ve already gone through and that’s not necessary.

Ok, let’s see … according to your profile:[1]

  • Infinite loop confusion, i+= 2 vs i+2[2]

was under the impression they both did the same thing. When doing basic maths they seem to do the same thing.

This was explained in the lesson:
https://www.freecodecamp.org/learn/javascript-algorithms-and-data-structures/basic-javascript/storing-values-with-the-assignment-operator

3 - Why wouldn’t you go through the course a second time or third time or as many times as needed to really learn it.

  • Why would this be infinite loop?[3]

I have already looked up the correct answer to this test …

6 - How would you get a developer job without having access to a forum in the interview and any coding tests that might be a part of it?


… but I am curious if I am being too harsh on people or if others notice the same things

I think that your are too harsh on other people (and too soft with yourself).

Cheers and happy coding :slight_smile:

Notes:
[0] LambdaConf 2015 - How to Learn Haskell in Less Than 5 Years Chris Allen - YouTube
[1] Profile - Jaydog - The freeCodeCamp Forum
[2] Infinite loop confusion, i+= 2 vs i+2
[3] Why would this be infinite loop?

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I think this is starting to wade into “false premise” territory for the sake of an argument.

I agree, I don’t see many productive outcomes on this topic besides increased noise with the potential to dove-tail into some kind of argument.

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The best solution is to be kind and provide guidance (not solutions) for the sake of helping itself.
I think one of the things that make this forum great and motivated me to contribute, is that the majority of the contributors do it as something voluntary apart from their jobs. Even in some universities or learning institutions you Do Not get that kind of guidance (even if you are paying for it).
Good actions are better when you do not expect something (or at least, Not too much) in return.
Some people may never appreciate that, but you should not have expectations about it. If a person is rude or ungrateful , this tell you about his/her integrity, not about yours. No need to make a classification of this people as “vampires”
Be kind and you will see things in a better form.

I completely agree with that. One can feel compassion for them in this case.

Exactly.
Best wishes and hope you continue helping in the forum.

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I don’t think there are practical examples for a lot of the lessons IMO. I have to search for examples of a topic so I can see it in use before I can understand how to use it in my project(s). I’m stuck on the JavaScript course. I’m going through my notes right now and then I have to go back to the lessons that I found difficult. I’ve asked a lot of questions and I have a lot more questions…

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And in that instance, you’re trying to grok a concept and you’re asking for guidance. When it comes to this kind of questioning, I’m delighted to help, because you’re putting in the work to research and ask, and try things out.

I do get the frustration that was being vented. If you think about this education path as a partnership, mentors working with mentees, both sides are investing in this. Mentees are investing time and effort in learning all they can, while mentors invest time and guidance.

When it feels that it’s all one side or the other, that’s when the frustrations happen. Your case is not that.

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I have been on forums since last century. So I have some experience. It is a great tool for questions and debate. On some forums multi-questionnaires are banned. On some forums they are ignored.

StackOverflow is downvoting a question (many times without explaining why) when the question is not asked “the right way”. Many comments and answers are close to rude. I am not using SO because of this.

So there are at least three parts that make a forum great. The one who asks. The one who answers and last but not least the moderators.

FreeCodeCamp is amongst the friendliest forums I have visited. But I hesitate to ask questions on this forum. Because FreeCodeCamp is not an ordinary forum. But I sometimes answer.

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And this thread is done now.

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