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View Poll Results: Does posting a question in the forum help you to suddenly find the answer?
Yes, often 6 31.58%
Yes, sometimes 9 47.37%
No 4 21.05%
Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-06-2020, 07:02 AM   #1
hazel
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The forum effect


I'm pretty sure I posted this question once in Linux Forums but I don't think I have here. If I'm wrong, my apologies.

I often find when I pose a question here that the effort of setting out the situation clears my mind and the answer suddenly becomes obvious. Have other people noticed a similar effect?
 
Old 10-06-2020, 07:29 AM   #2
//////
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that happens to me quite often. selected "Yes, sometimes".
 
Old 10-06-2020, 07:44 AM   #3
enorbet
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Hi hazel
I selected "often" since it seems to me that having to articulate whirling thought processes with a mind toward making it clear to someone else, often makes it clearer to me especially since fundamentals are so easily passed by as complexity grows.
 
Old 10-06-2020, 07:44 AM   #4
rtmistler
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Hazel,

I do not feel it is merely a forum effect. Think over time if you happened to present a difficult question to another person where you spent the time to think about how to present it so that they would be able to help you more readily. There are plenty of times where you self-resolve the question as part of your organizing your thoughts. Or sometimes you may have been led there by the person whom you are asking the question of. For instance, you start and they don't have enough information, so they ask you some details which help them to understand, and as part of that you come to your solution, and thus you've learned this analytical process from that example.

Here, I'd say "no" or "formerly" because when I started with forums, the efforts I put in to making my questions caused me to not really post the questions. I can't think of a recent technical question I've asked, and by recent I mean years.

Last edited by rtmistler; 10-06-2020 at 07:46 AM.
 
Old 10-06-2020, 08:44 AM   #5
boughtonp
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It's often called "rubber ducking", a term introduced in 1999 by Dave Thomas in The Pragmatic Programmer https://archive.org/details/isbn_9780201616224/page/95 (the concept is without doubt far older).

As with rtmistler, there's a large amount of questions I've not posted simply because setting out the problem and answering myself will short-circuit the whole process, and I rarely get as far as the New Thread button.

 
Old 10-06-2020, 10:30 AM   #6
rtmistler
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Somebody actually wrote a learned paper about this?!?

I think the general, friendly question by hazel is good, simple discussion. Didn't look far down that link, since at the surface it appeared to want me to pay to read or get a copy, but boy I'm laughing. (Yes, I know you didn't author it boughtonp.)
 
Old 10-06-2020, 11:31 AM   #7
boughtonp
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Huh? It's not a paper it's a book, and I wasn't suggesting anyone buy/read the whole thing - the link was to save me retyping those paragraphs. (If anyone did want to read it, it can apparently be "borrowed" online with an Internet Archive account, no purchase necessary.)

 
Old 10-06-2020, 12:52 PM   #8
rtmistler
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Yes I could tell it's a book. Sorry that was just me coining a phrase, "learn 'ed paper". And I'm quite sure I realize it may be a very small concept discussed in that volume. Just I found it eye rolling, because literally every behavior is sometimes categorized and given a name. No offense intended, I still find it eye rolling, don't need to read the manuscript.
 
Old 10-06-2020, 04:55 PM   #9
boughtonp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtmistler View Post
because literally every behavior is sometimes categorized and given a name.
That one is called taxonomy.

I partly agree - it's especially irritating when terms are buzzworded, particularly in the face of existing more accurate terms. (The current nonsense of putting "social" before distancing when referring to individuals is the obvious example.)

At the same time, giving things sufficiently unique names can make it easier to get useful results out of a search engine, so... *shrug*

 
Old 10-06-2020, 07:26 PM   #10
m.a.l.'s pa
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I think over time it gets to a point where it would take a serious lack of documentation and quite a few dead-end web searches before long-time Linux users (most? some?) would even consider posting to ask for help at forums.
 
Old 10-07-2020, 03:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boughtonp View Post
At the same time, giving things sufficiently unique names can make it easier to get useful results out of a search engine, so... *shrug*
Or to paint an even more dark picture: naming things can be the first step towards abolishing them by someone who doesn't approve of certain phenomena.

Nevertheless, i voted 'very often' scince i also take advantage of that effect. I agree that putting my issue in comprehensible phraes can be very helpful allthough i admit that i made the best results re-reading a question that i had just posted for everyone to read. In my defense, looking up these questions (and it's solutions) at a later time when i re-encounter similar problems often helped me solving them again. It's like a personal public documentation and yes, i often tried keeping a personal journal for these things - it just isn't the same as in forums.

Last edited by platypo; 10-07-2020 at 03:47 AM.
 
Old 10-07-2020, 03:41 AM   #12
hazel
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I seem to have hit a nerve. I'm glad it's not just me, because that would suggest careless thinking.
 
Old 10-07-2020, 03:06 PM   #13
ondoho
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Yes, often.

And as others pointed out, the "effect" already kicks in before I even consider starting a thread - I have been told to provide troubleshooting info and RTFM and search the forums/web so many times that I go through the process as a matter of course when a problem crops up, and usually that solves it, too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Wiki
Life's a two-way street
 
Old 10-08-2020, 03:06 PM   #14
rnturn
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There are times...

... when I'll start posting a question and then, while I'm collecting the information I'm certain someone is going to ask to see (a log or similar), something will pop out at me that eluded me up until that point, and that "Ah, Ha!" moment occurs. It's sort of like the times when I'd call someone into the lab at work and we'd start discussing a problem in front of the blackboard (yeah, that long ago) and the process of writing it all down and explaining it to a colleague focuses your mind and, suddenly, a solution presents itself. I can't recall how many times I've abandoned an LQ post because a solution was found while a post was in the process of being entered/formatted.

I remember reading many years ago that Isaac Asimov would often go for a walk or attend a movie when he got stuck on a problem. The solution would often come to him when he was doing something unrelated to the original problem. It's as though there's some parallel thought process that's taking place but is running at a slower pace and presents its results when you least expect them. (Makes me wonder how many batch jobs are running in the back of my mind at this very moment?)

Cheers...

Last edited by rnturn; 10-08-2020 at 03:13 PM. Reason: fixed paragraph break
 
Old 10-09-2020, 06:04 AM   #15
hazel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnturn View Post
I remember reading many years ago that Isaac Asimov would often go for a walk or attend a movie when he got stuck on a problem. The solution would often come to him when he was doing something unrelated to the original problem. It's as though there's some parallel thought process that's taking place but is running at a slower pace and presents its results when you least expect them. (Makes me wonder how many batch jobs are running in the back of my mind at this very moment?)
Yes, walking the dog was another common way for me to find answers, especially to programming problems. Unfortunately I no longer have a dog.
 
  


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