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12:01 AM
@Jae I don't know PHP well enough to tell you
my advice would be slowly and I favor O'Reilly books
since they are generally concise, well written and their founder is a good person
they are also anti-SOPA
which helps
 
Jae
@WorldEngineer: Thanks! I'll bother Yannis later and see what he has to say.
 
12:20 AM
I want so badly to be charitable...I really do but sometimes you get a question that just needs the banhammer.
I mean it's just begging for it with big puppy dog eyes and a mouth full of worm infested teeth
 
jrg
Would a question about "How can I (politely) ask for a company to cover an interns transportation costs?" be on topic?
 
user2334
@jrg That'd be off-topic: there isn't any place on the network for general workplace questions like that yet, but the Professional Matters site proposal is aiming to cover that niche
 
jrg
Ahg. ok
thanks @MarkTrapp, figured I'd ask here before I posted.
 
user2334
no problem: thanks for asking.
 
@jrg go back that proposal /plug
 
jrg
12:28 AM
@WorldEngineer already done. ;)
 
@YannisRizos you're up late
 
12:46 AM
@Jrg You might be interested in this question: programmers.stackexchange.com/a/26904/1130 Its about talking your boss into buying you a new development machine, but the concept still applies
basically focus on why the company would benefit from paying the intern's transportation costs :)
 
jrg
@Rachel thanks.
 
@WorldEngineer Yeap, 3am here, was about to go to bed...
 
@YannisRizos Jae was asking about learning PHP
 
@WorldEngineer He left me a couple of messages, was just reading them...
@Jae I've created a room, ask away...
 
@YannisRizos good night to you, I've physics to brutalize.
 
12:59 AM
@WorldEngineer Goodnight, good luck with that...
 
@MarkTrapp Thanks. I'm not sure how much longer I'm willing to entertain dealing with that guy
 
user2334
@WorldEngineer ¿que?
 
The biological transmutation question
 
user2334
Oh, heh. No idea why that was asked here
 
the poster appears to be nearly illiterate
 
user2334
1:09 AM
Checking with Biology.SE if they want it
 
I think it's actually more of a chemistry question
 
 
3 hours later…
3:44 AM
@AnnaLear @MarkTrapp Thanks for the reply Mark. Regarding the 771 votes won by Anna Lear, I have a doubt. When analyzing the slt text file, I found out only 756 votes. I deduced this by the following method.
@MarkTrapp The text file starts with the number of candidates and choices. Then it gives a space separated values of the votes in order. Thus 1 1 2 3 0 mean 1 - votes 1 - first choice is the 1st candidate, 2 - second choice - 2nd candidate, 3 - third choice - third candidate, 4 - no choice. Values marked as zero has not opted for other options>
@MarkTrapp Following this with Anna's candidate number (10) I found 756 entries in the first column. Am I right in my calculation? Kindly clarify. Also there were only 4994 votes when compared to 5004 votes as shown in SO. Had the 10 haven't voted for anybody?
 
4:04 AM
@MarkTrapp I deducted the above logic from this page
 
 
4 hours later…
user2334
7:59 AM
@Ubermensch Columns 1 and 5 are parity bits to denote the beginning and end of a ballot: columns 2-4 are the selections. If they didn't choose a third candidate, column 2 is set to 0. If they didn't choose a 2nd candidate, column 3 is set to 0. In the case of Anna, 756 people who picked three candidates chose her as their first. Another 7 who didn't choose a third candidate chose her as their first, and a final 8 only chose Anna. 756 + 7 + 8 = 771.
 
user2334
I don't know why the election page says 5004: likely counts invalid or unparsed votes that didn't make it into the BLT file. 10 votes didn't make any difference on the election
 
user2334
0
Q: Why is there a 10 vote discrepancy in the Stack Overflow elections?

Mark TrappThis hardly makes or breaks an election, but the vote count total for the Stack Overflow election appears to be off. On the election page, it says (emphasis mine): 72,908 voters were eligible, 45,177 visited the site during the election, 17,866 visited the election page, and 5,004 voted But...

 
8:14 AM
@MarkTrapp Thanks Mark for the explanation. Thanks again for posting in meta. I just wanted to know more about STV though the 10 don't matter. May the 10 people may not have voted for anybody. Is this possible? There are a lot of places where you can vote for nobody
 
user2334
I was thinking that, but it seems like they would just be counted amongst the visited (which is tracked separately), not the voted
 
user2334
I was also thinking maybe it was people who voted, but then retracted their vote
 
May be but is there an option to retract or change votes after voting.
 
8:50 AM
@Cleanupcareerdevelopment Then there shouldn't be a difference even when the accounts are closed
and I am against retracting votes within such a small time
 
 
2 hours later…
user2334
10:47 AM
@WorldEngineer Replacing with —or worse, replacing with another catch-all tag—doesn't fix the problem, and makes things substantively worse. If we just wanted to rename to , we could've just done a merge. Stuff in needs love: substantial edits, thoughtful tagging, close votes, etc.
 
Jae
11:00 AM
@MarkTrapp: This is probably a really late question, but what can I do to help the clean-up?
 
user2334
@Jae Right now, the best thing to do is get involved in the structured tag cleanup discussion. If we can implement that, it there'll be a specific gameplan for tackling and all the other crap tags.
 
12:43 PM
@MarkTrapp Understood. I'll go through my internet history and do stricter evals
 
 
3 hours later…
3:29 PM
6
Q: What's the difference between "client" and "customer"?

WebMAOhistI already asked a similar question (customer vs. client vs. user vs. consumer of on-line service) but, I believe, there may be some differences between technical and legal jargon and general usage of English. I'd like to find the distinct most appropriate and unambiguous terms to distinguish t...

 
@YannisRizos I have got a real good understanding of openSTV courtesy an explanation from Mark. Would meet tomorrow
 
@Ubermensch I think you should do a Meta post out of it, so everyone sees it...
 
@YannisRizos Thanks for the suggestion. Still working on it. Would definitely do it within this week. Of course with a little assistance from you
 
4:37 PM
@ThomasOwens I think this question is one you'd find particularly interesting...
 
4:49 PM
I know. I saw it. I need to try to see if some data is available on the Internet - there was a slide deck used by my university's SE department that had data about the career differences between CS, SE, CE, and IT.
 
5:35 PM
@YannisRizos And I just blew my lunch break answering that question. Probably not the answer he wanted to hear, but it's what I think is the best answer.
 
6:03 PM
@ThomasOwens You blew your lunch break to write an answer that essentially says "it doesn't really matter, don't bother"? Well, that deserves my +1 :) I liked Karl's answer as well, I'm surprised you didn't leave a comment there nagging about his definition of software engineers...
 
@YannisRizos It's not so much "don't bother" as "you probably can't achieve this in a way that's good for everyone, so do what you can"
 
@ThomasOwens That's a better summary of your answer, but oversimplification is what chat is for :P
 
 
2 hours later…
8:01 PM
Election just started! Fellow candidates, good luck! Voters, don't forget about the Town Hall chat tomorrow...
 
Already cast my vote
 
Not enough rep to vote.
 
@PersonalNexus Why rush? We didn't even have the Town Hall chat yet...
 
@YannisRizos I had already made my mind up a while ago, following people's activities on the site, Meta and chat, my first vote was an easy choice. Also, I hope it will be considerably harder for you to get more helpful flags than me once you are a moderator ;-)
 
8:21 PM
Hi all. Was wondering if this would be a good place to ask what publications you'd recommend to a former java developer trying to get back into the marketplace.
 
user2334
9:05 PM
@canadiancreed That'd be off-topic: recommendation questions do not do well in the Stack Exchange format
 
@canadiancreed There's still some debate going on as to whats on-topic and what isn't on this site. I would just ask it anyways, and if enough people think its off-topic they'll close the question. You'll probably still get some good book suggestions though.

There are many other book advice topics on here, some closed and some not. I'd suggest searching on something like "java book advice" first and see if any of the existing answers match what you're looking for.
 
@MarkTrapp ya its' why I didn't have it as a question on the site itself, and @rachel I'll have a browse. Thanks to both for the reply.
 
Hrrrm Mark answered at the same time I did. I guess since he's a moderator you should probably listen to him, although if you really want answers you can always post anyways and delete it after you get answers but before he sees it ;)
 
@canadiancreed It all depends on what your background was and what you want to get into now too. Android development may be an option for you as far as application development goes.
 
user2334
@Rachel ಠ_ಠ
 
user2334
9:09 PM
The lidless eye of Mark Trapp sees all
 
user2334
7
Q: Are book recommendations on-topic?

Mark TrappWe get a lot of book recommendation questions, so much so that it's hard to keep up with them. We've been closing them as off-topic, not a real question, and not constructive based on a few different points of guidance: The What questions should I not ask here? part of our FAQ Q&A is Hard,...

 
Shhhh you have to sleep sometime! Just wait till his profile says he's been offline for an hour or two ^_^
 
@tylerrrr07 well I havent' done java coding since v1.5 so was after anything that would help to shake off the rust. Anything on android dev might be an idea, havent' considerd that one
@MarkTrapp You go through eyedrops like mad I take it? ;)
 
user2334
Book recs are generally okay if they ask for the canonical book on a niche topic: periodical recommendations for something as broad as Java would be out of scope.
 
@MarkTrapp I like Chris F's answer to that question. It's a good guideline to go by
 
9:11 PM
Would people be adverse to asking book rec questions in the chat?
@canadiancreed I daresay you haven't missed much language wise :)
 
Not at all, as far as I know you can ask anything chat
 
user2334
@Rachel We've been trying to follow that and revise old questions to meet that format; some broad stuff is still out there, though.
 
Just don't expect an an answer in a hurry :) Sometimes chat is extremely quiet.
 
That's more or less been my policy, you may not get a nibble, but it is the designated place for open-ended chatty discussion questions.
 
@rachel guess I posted in the right place then :D

@steve good to hear. I was reading about java7 but I doubt any companies around my neck of the woods use it (or even know about it)
 
user2334
9:12 PM
@SteveJackson This is the perfect place for it: we should think about organizing a regular chat, like SciFi does
 
@MarkTrapp I was wondering why some book questions were closed while others weren't. I was looking at the list by title though, and not reading the contents of the questions
 
@canadiancreed Java 6 was mostly performance improvements, there's some new stuff in concurrency and desktop apps, but I can't think of any WOW feature like generics or the like. Java 7 is more of the same really, all the cool stuff I can think of was pushed to Java 8 or later.
 
@SteveJackson Ah ok, so if I have a basic grasp on say v1.6 and have some mobile dev semi-recently I should be fine for anything at a beginner/intermidiate level would need to know?
 
A lot of people swear by the Certification manuals, I skimmed the Java6 one but I don't remember much.
@canadiancreed I would think so - there's people out there that haven't grasped collections yet :)
 
@SteveJackson I'd probably be one of them, or at least would need to relearn it (the joys of doing PHP work for three years, albiet OO PHP work)
and good call on the cert manuals
 
9:20 PM
anyone good with database queries want to have a quick chat in another room? I need to talk my problem through with someone :D
D:
 
9:36 PM
@tylerrrr07 Stack Overflow not fast enough for you? :P My database-fu is pretty low... Anyways, if it's not an on topic question you can try at the heap, DBA.SE's main room...
 
@YannisRizos Thanks!
 
@MarkTrapp Not so sure that's a dupe: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/132520/…. One is how to explain a general topic, the other is how to differentiate between three similar fields of study. That's like "What's a design pattern" vs "Differences between an Adapter and Bridge"
 
9:51 PM
@tylerrrr07 of course you can ask here as well.... but your chances are better there
 
user2334
@SteveJackson Teaching children is outside of our site's expertise: I don't think it's necessary to split hairs about the different techniques for different curriculums one could teach at a career day. In reality, these questions really don't belong here to begin with, and are better handled on a site like Parenting
 
@MarkTrapp Fair enough.
 
user2334
Someone at SE has been meaning to write a post about that: there seems to be a number of questions asked here that could be handled by Parenting. Keeps falling by the wayside though.
 
I say questions about how to educate the public about our profession are on-topic, as it's something that a good engineer does. It's even something called out in the Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice: "1.08. Be encouraged to volunteer professional skills to good causes and contribute to public education concerning the discipline.
 
That's a good point too, @Thomas. If those questions were How do I explain programming to my mom, or how do I explain the differences between the three to an English major, are they suddenly on-topic and not duplicates?
 
user2334
9:58 PM
@ThomasOwens Children are not the audience of our site, and questions about how to teach them are outside our expertise
 
user2334
> Programmers — Stack Exchange is a site for professional programmers who are interested in getting expert answers on conceptual questions about software development.
 
user2334
@SteveJackson They'd be dupes of this question
 
@MarkTrapp Oh, great he have a and a tag... How lovely...
 
@MarkTrapp I'm not sure if high school juniors - students getting ready to prepare for college - are children. Also, I can point that that "if your question is about...software engineering, you can ask it here" part to the FAQ and then to the Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice, which represents "the consensus of the profession on ethical issues" (emphasis mine). I think the FAQ is what's in the wrong here for having giant catch-all topics.
The FAQ list in general is kind of broken. How are "developer testing" and "quality assurance" different (developer testing is a subset of quality assurance techniques)? What freelance and business concerns are acceptable here, since they all aren't? What topics of software engineering are acceptable to ask about, since most construction and tool questions belong on Stack Overflow?
 
user2334
@SteveJackson Or a number of other questions: there's going to be a number of things we have to explain to non-programmers, but this isn't an education site; getting into fine-grained curriculum differences (like having two separate questions about career days that have mostly the same answers) is beyond the scope of professional programming.
 
user2334
10:08 PM
@ThomasOwens I really don't see your confusion on this. If it's a question about software engineering in a professional setting, it's on-topic here. Teaching kids about programming—outside a basic career day—isn't what most would consider a professional setting
 
@MarkTrapp Multiple companies that I have worked for have people involved with local high schools for things like teaching about the profession and mentorship days. It's something a professional might have to do, and it's not something that's taught in the classroom.
 
user2334
@ThomasOwens Every question that one might do as a programmer or a software engineer is not on-topic here: this isn't ProgrammersLifestyle.SE. There are tons and tons of questions that we might do as a programmer that aren't in the site's expertise
 
@MarkTrapp I just don't see how something that professionals have to deal with isn't on topic. In fact, tomorrow, a few of my colleagues are giving a presentation at a local high school about careers in engineering, for work.
 
Teaching someone to teach programming isn't really what a programmer would do best. That job would best be done by a great teacher. The Computer Science Education proposal seems like it would fill that niche: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/2529/…
 
10:14 PM
@ThomasOwens I have taught for about 10 years at various levels, and most challenges I faced would be best answered by education professionals, not programmers.
 
user2334
@ThomasOwens I don't deny there's room for a question or two about career days or presenting the basics of the profession to children. But the scope of the expertise on a site like Programmers stops at "How do I get across the concepts of the job to young people?" Our scope does not include "computer science educators". The proposal that @cdeszaq linked to would do that, or the more general Educators proposal being floated around
 
@MarkTrapp So career days questions are indeed on-topic? I'm confused now, because I'm pretty sure the idea was that they were out of scope.
 
user2334
32
Educators

Proposed Q&A site for teachers, professors, tutors, learning specialists, trainers, and educational researchers to discuss tools and best practices for instruction of all age groups in any content area.

Currently in commitment.

 
I do think that teaching is out of scope, but "how do I explain what I do" is very different than "how do I teach someone to do what I do".
How to explain what we do to various groups is something we've all done. Teaching is hard, so let's go shopping.
 
user2334
@ThomasOwens Having a basic, canonical question about how to explain the job to children in a short, career day like setting is good to have: we have that. Multiple, fine grained questions about educating children is outside our scope of expertise.
 
10:18 PM
@MarkTrapp I just tend to have a little looser definition of duplicate, I guess. Explaining it to elementary school children versus high school juniors or seniors who are already interested in the topic area are different beasts.
 
user2334
@ThomasOwens At one point, we had a separate question for "How do I explain programming to an N year old?", where N was 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15, and 17. I'm sure a professional educator could offer insights in how to teach kids at each age level, but that's not our expertise, and it shows: the answers are almost always the same for each question, despite the protestation that they're fundamentally different questions. If someone's looking for that level of detail, they need to talk to an educator
 
I would close "how do I explain programming" questions as off-topic, right off.
We aren't teachers.
 
@YannisRizos I didn't want to ask on StackOverflow because I wanted to talk through more of a high level "how to approach" type of thing and I feel like the complex problem in question was better suited for a real time conversation
 
A question about "how do I explain what I do in a way that's accessible to [a significantly-size group of people"" is perfectly acceptable, though.
Where "a significantly sized group of people" has to be fairly broad - "high school seniors interested in the computing professions", "elementary school children", "non-technical users that must collaborate with my development team" are probably good, while "my mom" isn't.
 
user2334
@ThomasOwens You're splitting hairs. The impetus for these questions is precisely "How do I explain what I do to <my children|my child's class>"
 
10:27 PM
And, to me, if you want to know how to explain what you do to a large enough group of people, that's perfectly acceptable. However, if you want to know how to teach someone how to design and build software, then that's out of scope.
 
user2334
@ThomasOwens Our site's expertise—the content of what's being taught—is the same in all those questions. What our site is not an expert in—how to teach specific groups of people—is what differs. That's why they'd be duplicates: if you want fine-grained help with teaching specific groups of people, you need to speak to a professional educator, not a programmer.
 
Preferably, you would speak to a professional programming educator ;)
 
But educators teach people how to do, not what one does. With a few exceptions, many professional educators have limited industry experience.
Here's a different take on it: A professor who was in industry 20 years ago, but then started teaching has a limited perspective on what modern professional software development is like (unless they happened to take a sabbatical and return to industry temporarily). As professionals and practitioners, it's part of our job to explain what we do to others. Other professionals who have done this are best suited to give ideas on how to present this information effectively, since we have done it.
 
user2334
@ThomasOwens Explaining to people what one does is on-topic here: the issue is having multiple variations of the same question for all the different audiences as if that significantly changes the question on Programmers: it doesn't, because the part that is different—the part about teaching to a specific group of people—is outside the scope of the site. So it's effectively superfluous information, and all the variations duplicate each other.
 
user2334
"How do I explain what I do to a child?" is—for the purposes of this site—"How do I explain what I do to a non-programmer?"; as is "How do I explain what I do to a teenager?" and "How do I explain what I do to grandma?"
 
10:34 PM
I don't think they are all the same, though.
 
user2334
They aren't, if this was a site for programming educators. It isn't.
 
But it's not about educators.
It's about professionals doing their professional responsibility to explain their profession.
I would explain what I do differently to an elementary school kid than I would a junior or senior in high school who was interested in the computing profession than I would a non-technical stakeholder who (in order to do their job) needed to understand what software developers do.
 
@ThomasOwens But ot Mark's point I think that to have to explain to an educator how to explain our profession to a certain subset of people is where the problem comes in
If an educator has lost touch on a topic and wants a refresher, the question should be "What is the modern implementation approach to X" versus "How do I explain the implementation of X to Y People"
 
This isn't about educators at all.
 
user2334
The expertise of how to communicate an idea—whether it's a curriculum or what you do for a living—is education. People who practice that are educators. It's important that we can explain what we do to others: nobody's denying that. But knowing how to communicate that idea effectively to specific groups of people requires the expertise of a professional educator.
 
10:38 PM
That's where I disagree - it's important for me, to promote the profession, to be able to effectively communicate about my profession to different groups of people.
And I think that professionals who have addressed these groups would have tips and techniques on how to relate key concepts to them.
 
user2334
@ThomasOwens I'm sure it is. Just as it's important to me—as a small business owner of a programming firm—to know how to do my taxes correctly. I wouldn't ask a programmer for help with those, because that's not what they're experts in. I ask someone who is: a CPA.
 
This may have been brought up, but I think it comes down to localization really. "What is the modern implementation approach to X" (Not localized) versus "How do I explain the implementation of X to Y People" (localized)
and to that point the questions would be off topic
 
That's obvious. But I wouldn't ask a programming teacher how to explain the job of a software engineer. If I wanted to know how to explain a teacher's job, I'd ask a teacher. If I wanted to know how to explain an engineer's job, I wouldn't ask an engineering professor, but a professional engineer.
 
@ThomasOwens If the idea is to get general "how did you solve this problem" sort of advice, that's one thing, but it isn't likely to be the most correct way of solving the problem (that being how to explain X to Y in your specific case)
 
There's often no most correct way of teaching.
 
user2334
10:42 PM
@tylerrrr07 Too localized has a weird, arcane definition on SE: it has to absolutely not help anyone else (e.g., "Why is there a green car in my driveway?"). But otherwise, yeah: the emphasis of the question—the "teach X group" part—is off-topic
 
But knowing what has worked and what hasn't is a foundation for doing it better.
But isn't the target audience the most important part? I think they are.
 
user2334
@ThomasOwens Again, I'm not arguing that explaining the profession to people is off-topic. It's on-topic: we have a question about it and it's fine. The issue is getting specific help about teaching that to specific, targeted groups of people. Explaining something—whether it's Programming, Software Engineering, World History, or otherwise—effectively to a particular group of people—1st graders, teenagers, etc.—is the expertise of a teacher, not a programmer or a software engineer
 
user2334
@ThomasOwens For teachers and educators yes: they spend years taking classes and honing their craft to teach specific age groups. Not for programmers. If you're a professional educator—who needs to know the differences between teaching specific age groups—this is not the site for you.
 
See, I'm never going to be able to see it that way. I consider it my professional responsibility to be able to assess my target audience and get my points across to them.
 
In a nutshell, @MarkTrapp's argument is that a programmer has the domain knowledge needed, but the targeted aspect is what makes a programmer (or a community of them) unsuited to provide a correct answer for how to target that domain knowledge. (please correct me if I'm understanding it wrong)
 
10:47 PM
Even as a professional software engineer, I have a duty to educate others on my profession. I'm not a professional educator, by any means.
 
user2334
@cdeszaq That's definitely it
 
Don't get me wrong - I see your point. I just don't agree with it. :\
And now, I must bow out for a while. Need to do my shopping tonight if I'm going to be around tomorrow.
 
user2334
11:04 PM
@ThomasOwens You don't have to agree with it, but as long as you can understand what I'm getting at, that's good enough for me :P
 
user2334
@ubermensch Turns out the 10 users were deleted.
 
11:37 PM
@MarkTrapp Ha! I should have posted an answer... damn!
 

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