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Re: The value of Disneyland's mission #7

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KubaO opened this issue Dec 18, 2019 · 0 comments
Open

Re: The value of Disneyland's mission #7

KubaO opened this issue Dec 18, 2019 · 0 comments
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@KubaO
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@KubaO KubaO commented Dec 18, 2019

The sandbox for questions is a great idea. It should also include an integrated coding environment - something like onlinegdb.com, but unified across the languages - to facilitate the users getting their question in a form that is acceptable, and facilitating rubber-ducking. In fact, if anyone has resources to pull off such a "wizard" but for code-related questions, it's SE for sure. The environment should allow the use popular frameworks, e.g. people asking wxWidgets or Qt questions should be able to use that in their C++ snippet, and there should be a way to generate and approve machine-generated screenshots. For non-graphical question, output logs should be included automatically (e.g. javascript console output). So, instead of chastising someone "where's the compiler error, ya doofus", the asker would have an environment where the most natural thing to do is including the compiler error - already inserted into the question by the machinery. To do otherwise would mean to have to remove it.

Due to scaling, I imagine that perhaps some of the lowest denominator type questions should be handled browser-side. E.g. a beginner trying to get their sorting homework done shouldn't be running gcc or clang on a VM anywhere but in their own browser.

I have, at one point, set up an environment of sorts where I can answer Qt questions effectively: a browser extension that would create a new project, include the question in main.cpp, with non-code sections in comments, then open it up in Qt Creator, with the build configuration already chosen (I have dozens of "kits" available to build stuff in, for various platforms, so this is more of a problem than for someone who has just one compiler/Qt combo installed). It was a hack, but I did it because I hate tedium: I'd rather develop a tool to minimize the tedium, even if it was more work, than deal with the tedium and repetitiveness of it all.

For professionals, answering code questions on SO has turned into a tedium. First, the barrier to runnable answers - answers that have great value to beginners, liable to get hung up on typos and incompleteness of snippet in the reply - is too high. Do we expect thousands of pros to have to spend potentially minutes setting up the environment just to build and run the code for the answer? Second, the barrier to MCVE questions - if there's no technology in place that makes MCVE simpler than the alternatives, the feeling of punishment and exclusion faced by beginners is not going to go away. The question wizard is a joke on a highly technical site like SO. It talks a lot where instead it should lead by example, i.e. make it the easiest thing in the world to have sufficient code in a code-related question.

Re. MCVEs: I often find professionals unfamiliar with the concept of minimizing a huge application down to an isolated example that's suitable for a question. Some tooling to facilitate this would be cool as well, even if it's not quite doable in a browser (not only because people are rightly apprehensive at dumping their project into a public site, due to corporate policy etc).

TL;DR: SO is in a place where heavy technical tooling support is necessary to support the requirements placed on both askers and answerers. And hopefully it's something that would help people rubberduck their code as well.


(Please use this issue for comments on The value of Disneyland's mission.)

@jericson jericson added the comments label Dec 18, 2019
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