Aug 162012
 
 August 16, 2012  Posted by at 2:02 pm Not So Stupid Questions  Add comments

I remember how it was, just when I thought I had learned something, and managed to do something well, this one developer in particular would start bragging about how he could do that and that so much better. And he would point out everything that I didn’t know how to do, and my self-esteem and my passion would just fade as he continued to talk. AS soon as he walked away, and I managed to persuade myself to bring up my computer and write a piece of code, compile it and watch the magic happen – I would instantly feel like I could do something. And for me that meant the world.

I don’t think many people understand how much time I put down to come up with the Q and A’s, and how many comments I get, both bad and good. I get angry emails from the ‘experts’, and love declarations from new developers desperate for somebody that understands them and supports them. But the bad ones hurt really bad. Some emails are scary angry. Some comments are painfully bitchy. And it is draining me.

Three weeks into the Q and A. It all started really good and people were eager on joining the debates and give good comments and additional information. But, the last week I’ve been getting more and more negative comments. Mainly critique that I am oversimplifying and generalizing, and that I should add this and that.

I am seriously considering stopping the Q and A series. Maybe it is so that I am too stupid to ask these questions and answer them. I don’t have four digit Stackoverflow points, and I have only been programming for 13 months. But tell me, when do I get to ask and try to answer? Am I making an ass out of myself by not providing a four page article on each question? Should I be more formal? I take this personal, yes I do. I care and this is my passion. So therefore I ask, what might be the last question, should I keep asking?

What I have noticed is that other developers find it hard to understand that I just want to ask very basic questions, try to answer them in a simple and generalized way, and let the comments add information. As I wrote to one developer when I was defending my approach:

I know X and X is complex, and that is why I wanted to give a simple get-started-definition,- hoping devs will join in on a discussion. You might have noticed, and joined in yourself in the discussions on the previous questions and therefore hopefully see that I don’t try to oversimplify or imply that I am an expert.

What i am thinking is that I am allowed to ask, and try to answer, even if I am not an expert or can provide a big discussion on the subject. Or is it so, that only the elite is allowed?

I just don’t want to scare the living daylight out of new programmers. Some things become second nature as we get better, and we forget how scary it was/is.

Fear is not a good learning tool, it makes you supress information given at that time. But good feelings, like ‘hey- this ain’t to bad. I understand this, this is easy!’ will stick. And little by little we will add complexity without the student even noticing. People ask me how I can run a marathon. I say one step at the time. That one step is so easy. And so is the next one. after 42 Km it was an easy run. Whenever it got hard, i just had to take one more step.

So the questions are just that, steps. One question at the time, one step at the time, we all become marathon developers.

This is quite personal, and I would really like to hear from you. What you think. Should I stop the Q and A , and let the experts do that kind of stuff?

Are we only entitled to an opinion if we are experts? And if so, when do I become one?

  44 Responses to “Question 25: Am I too stupid to ask and answer questions?”

  1. Don’t stop the Q&A. I don’t comment on blog posts much (first time here, I think), but these types of posts are good for beginners and for more experienced programmers who have let something slip by. Don’t let the naysayers get you down.

  2. To quote Albert Einstein

    “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

    As your blog gets more and more popular, you will have both good and bad comments. NEVER stop asking questions, when you stop asking questions you stop learning. Your format is refreshing and needed. In our industry (Yes, I said ours), there will always be people that are smarter than your or THINK they are smarter than you OR will TELL you they are smarter than you. What is important, as you have said in other posts, is enjoying life. If you are enjoying what you are doing, keep doing it, but dont let people push you off your path. You are doing amazing things.

    Daniel

  3. Hi Iris.

    As a self-proclaimed, small time “expert” in many things (Backbone.js at this point), with a 5 digit stack-overflow rating, a few thousand followers on twitter, and a boat load of people asking me questions all day, I’ll say this:

    Anyone that tells you to stop, gets angry at you, says you’re not doing it right or has any other negative, destructive feedback for you is an and a troll, and needs to be banned from the internet. Don’t respond to them.

    Your series of questions is brilliant. Please don’t stop. If you need to, turn off comments and remove your email address from anywhere you have it posted so that you stop getting the trolls.

    But I can also (and unfortunately) promise that you will continue to get the trolls and the worst of the internet, as your name gets out and your site becomes more popular. It’s ok to take this personally, and to be passionate. You also have to grow thick skin and uplifting self defenses because the world of online trolls is a horrible place.

    This is the price of success in the online world, unfortunately. The truth of it is that these trolls are typically scared little people with low self worth, though. They are are angry at you for trying to learn, trying to show the rest of the world that they aren’t magicians and that this stuff is knowable and understandable by mere mortals and noobs alike. They’re scared of you because in your 13 months, you’ve outpaced and out-shown their 13 years already, with no sign of slowing down. They can’t fathom that someone can pick this up and run so quickly when it took them so many years to get where they are. They’re mad at the circumstances and they’re taking out their frustration with their own inadequacies on you.

    Be confident in what you know and what you don’t know. Don’t claim to be an expert when you know your not. State your questions and ideas and ask for corrections and constructive feedback. Ignore the trolls. Block them, mark them as spam, and get back to being awesome because the internet and developer communities need more people with your passion for learning and sharing.

  4. “There is no stupid question! Except, possibly, a question not asked.” –Christer Romson

    I’m sorry to hear that the trolls are getting to you. My personal opinion is that you should NOT quit. Find a way to tune them out. Everyone starts as a total newbie, and the way to digest all this information is to write, ask questions, and talk to others.

    Every profession, from law to medicine to software, has very bright and insecure people who derive validation from proving how smart they are compared to others in their fields. The smarter and harder working ones are often the worst- just ask a surgery nurse about the surgeons they work for.

    The most effective software developers I have ever met are the ones that enjoy sharing. I’ll never forget seeing a video of John Carmack giving a talk at a Texas university. The first slide of his presentation was a single quote:

    “Together, we know it all.”

    The critics are angry because they feel ignored. I guarantee you none of them has invested time in promoting a meaningful discussion, as you have done.

    Keep up the good work.

  5. Admittedly I haven’t read most of question posts, but perhaps you need more links to in-depth articles with a small disclaimer near the end about the “answer” not covering all the bases.

  6. I’ve enjoyed reading the series I know that (though most of which I was catching up on). With regard to the negative comments you’ve received I think you should probably just remove them if they have nothing constructive to add to the conversation. Perhaps lowering the frequency to weekly would help… worth a thought.

    I think making an attempt to answer the question yourself is a good approach as this gives us a point of reference as to where your current understanding is. If this is not correct or partially correct the discussion should lead off from there in a friendly and professional manor. This is however still the internet and so the trolls will still comment, you just got to ignore, delete and move on.

    All said and done, regarding the series, do what makes you happy. If continuing does not make you happy, do something else.

  7. I don’t know you personally, but I see a lot of myself in you from the passion to constantly expand your horizons, picking up a programming topic that is out in left field only to find the knowledge gained helped you get through some other problem and wanting to share the knowledge with whomever reads it. I wish I had your passion from when I first started programming so many years ago, I’d be a lot farther along than I am today 😉

    But to answer your question…

    It seems like you enjoy doing the Q & As and in the end I think that is the most important part. Do it for you and the feeling you get from making a valid contribution to our field. You’re always going to get negative feedback even if you posted something that no one else had come up with. It is sad, but it’s inevitable. I’d love to say with every team you work with, everyone will be as passionate and like minded as you, but that isn’t the case either. I’ve been professionally programming a good bit longer than you and I remember constantly taking flak from other programmers at work for being “too cutting edge” or “too eager to learn”, especially when I was Junior and Mid-level programmer. In the end, they just didn’t want to take the time to learn what I had done or planned to do. It wasn’t until I got promoted to a Senior Programmer a few years back that my old boss finally recognized the fact when I had no “chains” that I was able to accomplish so much more and really transform my current employers custom .NET enterprise systems. Sadly enough that same group of guys are still basing all of their coding knowledge around the same.NET 2.0/3.5 methods they learned 4-5 years ago. The same thing applies to your Q & As, those that criticize you negatively, why aren’t they taking time out of their day to do their own blog post then if yours is bad? It isn’t like you are saying “this is the only to do it and if you aren’t then you are doing it wrong” like some bloggers do (which I personally don’t particularly enjoy reading). You present knowledge and word it in a way that anyone could either use it as a basis for further investigations or just gestate on it, especially the programmers who are just getting started or the more experienced ones who could use the refresher because they hadn’t done a particular thing in a while.

    Keep with it and don’t let people interfere with what you enjoy doing!

  8. Personally I love the stupid questions 🙂 And the name is spot on…as the expression goes: there are no stupid questions. Not in our domain anyway.

    We don’t build bridges that we can complete and admire a job well done. Not for us the unmistakable achievement of raising The Shard or Empire State Building. What we do is complicated, based largely on theory and completely ephemeral to all of our senses.

    Anybody who asserts greater know-how than others in that environment such that they actively damage learning is an ass and can be safely ignored.

    So keep asking, keep sharing the learning and let those who want to improve the debate do so. The others are not worth worrying about.

  9. Iris, have u ever looked @ the comments made on YouTube? If you have you will probably have noticed that there are a type a person living there aka “Trolls” whose entire point in life is to make you feel as horrible and shitty about yourself as they can, and they are happy when they have succeeded. Coders are not all trolls BUT among their ranks are bitter twisted people who enjoy smacking you down. Don’t forget there are a few twisted individuals who are going to target you because in their sick minds you should be barefoot , pregnant and in the kitchen. Then there are the really sick ones who are going to/have already send you pictures of their private parts.My point i guess is that if you are going to stick your head above the trench people are going to shoot at it 🙂 I was going to offer my opinion on what i think you could do BUT then i wouldn’t be a friend, so i’m going to suggest this, because i think it will be best for you. STOP . Stop before someone really hurts you. Stop before someone turns you against programming and turns the one thing that gives you joy into something you cant stand. I suggest you find a list of close friends and people you like and trust and do a “stoopid questions for friends ” post on a server where you can keep the ugly people out this way you can keep asking and not be afraid to read your twitter or email 🙂 (hugs)

  10. Hi Iris!

    The “bad” comments are from FRUSTRATED people! Don’t let their envy destroy your good spirit!
    This happens all the time someone is getting popular by its merits!

    Simply ignore them! It may hurt in the beginning, but after some time the idiots give up because they are being ignored!

    Please keep up with your good work!

  11. Iris, Please continue. I have two granddaughters and three grandnieces that I have directed to your site to absorb your joy of programming. I want them to see it is ok to ask lots of questions, but also to see how much fun you can have finding the answers!

  12. Hi Iris, so much of this resonates with me – there’s nothing more draining at work than more experienced devs negatively criticising your code or designs, except perhaps managers or ‘mentors’ who do much the same! So much of my approach when I started was driven by enthusiasm and creativity that I found having my passion for the craft assaulted by those with more know-how tough at times. Over the years I felt burnt out by poor work environments and gave up the profession for a while – I still feel wary of where and how I work today. It is soooo important to be fiercely protective of your passion, to be decisive in who you allow yourself to interact with. We may all have different ways of learning and optimal ways of working that we have to discover for ourselves, but without love and passion you’ll never want to set foot on the path in the first place. Wisdom does not equate with knowledge, so try and be more selective in who you take advice from – if it doesn’t come from a positive place, get rid of it, or ask them to move on. A CV full of credentials will never make you a decent human being. We need to nurture compassion and a sense of daily gratitude for all the little things in life, as ultimately developing a good human being is more important than developing ‘good’ code. All the best.
    “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.” (Richard Feynmann)

  13. Hi Iris,

    I definitely understand your pain I see this kind of interaction every day.

    To answer your questions, I think you should continue the series based on a few things that you have promoted that your critics have not.

    1. The ability to communicate and be inclusive, this is a high growth area in IT. Seriously. High. Growth.
    2. You recognize that you are not an expert but you are trying to become one and you will bring people with you.

    In case you have not realized it you are coming up against the worst part of IT.
    A ranking system or the promotion of opinions as fact because the person blogs or is some kind of participant in an expert panel or forum site. That is nerd currency these days.

    I urge you to not take it personally even though it is extremely difficult not to.
    Keep in mind that you may make certain people uncomfortable based on your recent work on your blog and twitter. Sometimes that really makes people feel threatened and as you may know when people feel threatened they do strange things. And also with many internet communications the people do not know you nor do they take the feelings of their target into consideration when they try to knock you down.
    And a third unfortunate item, this is purely my opinion, is that women are still under represented in IT. You are turning into a public figure promoting something that may make a large group of unfortunate people uncomfortable.

    I think you should keep the ‘Questions’ series as is and moderate the haters more aggressively.

    In case you are wondering who I am and why I feel these things are important for an anonymous person to keep in mind I help people that I barely know through training by being an MCT and networking on a daily basis. I am also a SharePoint 2010 Microsoft Certified Master candidate that is participating in a learning exercise that requires us to adopt the motto “Know what you know and know what you don’t know and never confuse the two”. This motto reminds us to keep learning daily and to promote the learning process.

    How do you become an expert? I don’t know that is your journey.
    But the way you do not become an expert is by doing exactly what some of your critics are doing.

    Best,

    @sharepointmcts

  14. Anyone who has tried to knock you down or scare you with angry criticism should be ashamed of themselves. You are a new developer who’s only been doing this for little over a year. How would they treat a child in it’s first year of school, and they were the teacher?

    No way should you stop doing what you are doing. Do you realise how many people stay ignorant to so many things to protect their own ego or pride? To have such an open mind and be full of questions is a breath of fresh air. For me, someone who asks a lot of questions is refreshing!

    I particularly loved your post on what is an architect. I saw a video on infoq.com a few months ago (I can’t find the link now) that shows an architect explaining that no one really knows what one does. It differs from one company/team to the next. The fact that you have the confidence to ask this kind of question so early in your career is a great sign that you want to learn well. It’s questions like these that are great to be out in the open. The I.T industry can be so alien to most businesses and giving them a general understanding of what we do is a great start.

    Please do not be put off by anyone trolling your questions. I love what you’re doing, and we need more of it.

  15. I used to think that devs are more open-minded and friendly than people in many other proffessions. This is not the case, there are as many idiots among programmers as there are in other areas, maybe even more. I wont speculate on why I think this is but I do want to say this: You inspire very many people with you well written and prestigeless Q & A! I do understand your thoughts about giving it up due to the haters out there but then they eill win and a truly inspirational and passionate blog-series will end which would be a great shame.

  16. hi
    Please do not stop
    I’m not good in English but with the same language that I know very much of you I was satisfied
    And I’m not strong in English but your article really helped me
    I totally disagree with the experts
    I think you’re the expert ,Iris Classon
    And something else I should perhaps say to themselves

  17. First, in spite of I am following your blog but this is the first time I comment.

    I see your blog is very energetic blog and has a lot of feeling.

    If you find some people didn’t like that, they can go to hell…. but you still do what you feel it’s right for you, for me the first one get value from the blog it’s the owner of the blog.

    You can’t do something that all people agree on, anything you will do you will find some people told you it’s the perfect thing you do in your entire life and other will told you it’s the worst thing they saw on the earth, so just be your self and do what you like to do.

    For me I like what you did so much 🙂

    I am also inspired by your post (Server is up and running!) and I have my own 🙂

    Fast hardware gives Marvel ALM !!!
    http://mohamedradwan.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/fast-hardware-gives-marvel-alm/

    So keep up!

  18. Hi Iris,

    I humbly ask that you continue with your series. Not only is it great for people of many different skill levels, you have provided a huge service to a community by taking something as massive as programming and bring forth the information in a manner that makes the information easy to learn. These little snippets of daily programming knowledge are a good thing. For the people that are negative, ignore them, your not trying to write a pro book, your trying to get a discussion going which is far better then just staring at ink on a page.

    NOTE: For those who feel it necessary to be negative think about this. Instead of being a thorn in the side of your fellow community members, why not just help those in the community to make it, as a whole, a bigger and better thing.

    Keep it up Iris!

  19. Iris, I’m a developer, I’ve doing software for almost 10 years and I have seen thousands of technical blogs some really good others not so much, and most of the time all these blogs with technical concepts are really difficult to understand specially when you’re a novice. We don’t need one more super technical blog, we do need blogs and writings that can put these basic things in a simple way, so everybody can understand them. I think this way more people will feel more confident to ask and this definately will help to make the IT industry a warmer place when starting to be a software developer.
    So please keep it up this good writing!!

  20. Don’t stop! This is exactly what some people need.The information online for programming tends to be very technical or assumes the reader is already an expert, and is therefore useless to the people who need the help the most.

    Since starting to code I have come across endless complicated, convoluted explanations of things that turned out to be very simple.

    Usually a simple explanation of the main points is the best place to start from. Nobody in their right mind should expect these questions to go fully into depth about each topic. They are useful for me, because I can code, but I don’t yet feel I understand a lot of terms and concepts that most blogs and help sources take for granted.

  21. I definitely think you should keep going. You are adding value to the community. Especially for newer programmers, who can have a hard time getting into this profession/hobby.

    However, I think the problem is twofold.

    First, people who sending you angry mails, or telling you to stop, or in general are obviously trying to make you feel bad/stupid/etc. They are small-minded people and do not deserve any thought at all. They are probably jealous of you and the attention you’re getting. They’re probably also scared that you might actually know more than them. However, if getting attention from these jackasses makes you sad, tired and not-so-very-hyped in a way that seriously makes you question if it’s worth it… then maybe it isn’t. I’m definitely not saying you should stop, but remember that it’s up to you to decide how much you want to give away of your time and joy only to get hate in return. Most people who are getting well-deserved attention get these sorts of haters, and it will probably never stop completely. If you feel this brings you down in a way that is hurting you – then it might not be worth it. But just remember that a laaaaaarge majority of the people who read your blog appreciate it, and you are adding value and getting recognized for it. Never forget that!

    The second problem are people like me, who are used to a certain way of discussing programming. People who are groomed on IRC, StackOverflow and varius other programming sites where the only thing that matters is a person’s knowledge of something. Like Scott Hanselman said when he interviewed you: the programming community is a meritocracy. Knowledge means respect. That is why a site like StackOverflow works – people will upvote/downvote based on the knowledge a certain individual displays. Now I really love SO, but it also has its drawbacks. One big drawback is that the barrier of entry is pretty high: you have to know what to ask, how to ask and where to ask it. If you don’t know all these things you get downvoted and nobody bothers responding (the upside of this is that it will leave in its trail a igh quality collection of programmer Q&A).

    Now, let’s take your question on multithreading as an example. You found my answer on it a bit dismissing and (I think) negative in general. Now I didn’t mean it to be like that, and I was really positive about the question being brought up. But you answered me and made a good point about introducing new concepts slowly and gradually instead of saying “OH MY GOD THIS IS SO HARD AND DANGEROUS BUT LET ME SHOW YOU ANYWAY BUT SERIOUSLY YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN’T USE IT UNLESS YOU’RE AN EXPERT!!!” which – I guess – is sort of what I did. Now the difference between people like me and the people I first discussed is that a) we are joining in on the discussion because we think it’s great and b) we realise our mistakes and are happy to learn and adapt. You are a part of a community that can be nitpicking, anal and obsessed with details. Programmers will always want to discuss, refine and argue about things. That is not a bad thing, but it really can be when talking to beginners.

    As someone mentioned above you are very inclusive, as well as open about what you don’t know. That makes you pretty unique and it also makes you a great teacher for beginners. I am uplifted by your way of approaching learning and teaching, and I think it would be very sad to see you stop.

  22. So last night I read one of the posts you tweeted on “Accessors in c#” and I too made a comment. The comment I made was by no means trolling, I had liked what I read and the way you had developed metaphores about public, private, protected and internal and it just got me thinking…………. How on earth would we describe protected internal. I think my suggestion to you was “An odd member of the family that you don’t want other people to meet”.

    Feedback and discussion are all part of it. I have been a dev now for 17 years and I can tell you that we are all begginers in some way. Everyday I go to work I learn something new, and that new thing could be something I have been using wrongly or thinking about differently for years.

    All in all discussion is good, trolling like someone saying “You stupid bleep bleep” is plan wrong and those people you just need to gauge and ignore.

    Anyway’s final word, don’t stop, you obviously enjoy it and don’t think us old timers don’t get value from your posts too. 🙂

  23. I think that Nicole Sullivan Presentation, “Don’t Feed The Trolls” is a great resource for learning oh how to deal with people that are energized by conflict and attention.

  24. Hi Iris,

    Definitely keep doing what you’re doing and don’t be put off by the negative comments. To be honest this is one of the reasons why I find sites like StackOverflow so intimdating, because as soon as you post something you pretty much immediately come under fire from some script kiddy or rep whore who has nothing better to do than pick holes in things all day.

    I’ve been a developer for 13 years now and I still like to learn at all levels – even the simple things can open up the door ways to new ways of thinking.

    You are an inspiration to newcomers in the industry and I for one will continue following your blog series.

    Best regards

  25. I was going to write a comment on this, but every point I was gonna make was already taken by the other commenters 🙂

    Don’t stop, don’t give in to the trolls of the internet, and your blog sits neatly in my Google Reader. Even though I’ve been programming professionally for 7-8 years, I read your q&a every day 🙂

    Keep being an inspiration!

  26. Nej, don’t stop.

    Some people are curious to the answer of the question they have just read, without necessarily needing a painfully long in-depth explanation.

  27. Nej, don’t stop.

    Some people are curious to the answer of the question they have just read, without necessarily needing a painfully long in-depth explanation.

  28. Yeah, newbie – you don’t know anything compared to me, I’m a Programming Genius(c)! And you’re a girl too, girls aren’t supposed to program! Leave this to the male experts like me who’ve been doing this since they were spotty 13 year old geeks in their bedroom.

    Iris please keep doing this – as mentioned above just ignore the trolls, your blog isn’t for them and they’ll just go off and be a keyboard warrior on some other site.

    I’m really enjoying your blog – I’ve been into .Net now for 3 years and loving it and it’s good to see someone going through the same process as I did (but doing so much better!). Don’t let anyone knock your passion and silence you.

    If people want more detail because they want to learn, they can Google it. If the ‘elite’ demand you include more detail they can add a link in the comments.

    Programming has been an elitist male thing for too long. It shouldn’t be. People like yourself are helping change things.

  29. As a wise image on the internet once said, dont take life so seriously, you wont get out alive.

    I like the idea of stupid questions. Sometimes, its the questions that the experts are afraid to ask. I have said that presenting is easy, nobody ever wants to ask a question in public. Writing blogs is hard, everybody comments on them!

    While some of us like silly questions, we get to feel smart by being able to answer them, others look at it as an annoyance.

    Unfortunately as humans, we will read and interpret something in completely the wrong way when its written due to the lack of tone. And programmers seem to not install the empathic module most times.

    And this is human nature, a great example is the Columbus egg. Everything is easy after the fact. Until you discover that fact its hard. And we all started by asking stupid questions.. a great leveller is looking at code you wrote ages ago. You thought you were the bee knees, now its cringeworthy 🙂

    Lykke til

  30. Please do carry on with this question series. I’m an old developer who has largely lost the passion and drive I once had so it’s refreshing to see your passion and excitement and follow along with your journey of discovery. I love the fact that I can learn new things along the way.

    I certainly don’t expect your answers to be definitive, complete or even necessarily correct and anyone that does is an idiot who should be ignored. Your questions and answers are great prompts, both to start conversations and also to do further reading and investigation.

  31. Keep up the great work. You have a lot of silent followers that enjoy and find value in what you are doing, even the experts. Ignore the trolls, be yourself. Find support from those of us that are friendly, helpful and want to be part of your community.

  32. […] Question 25: Am I too stupid to ask and answer questions? (Iris Classon) […]

  33. Iris,

    I came to this site from Hanselminutes where I greatly enjoyed your interview with Scott. I’ve been in the field for more than 15 years and I’m still wondering when it is that I will finally be able to consider myself an expert on anything because, as you mentioned in the podcast, I always see how little I know rather than how much I’ve accomplished over the years.

    To see you break through the “expert-only” barrier and offer well-meaning and easily-digestible advice and information has been a revelation. Maybe the “experts” shouldn’t have the market cornered on disseminating information.

    So I’d hate to see your daily Q & A disappear…

  34. Iris,

    Please don’t stop with the question series. Stop care about the stupid comments.

    This kind of stuff is exactly why newbies have difficulties to express their opinions and why it is so difficult to discuss with some people (“the f$# good experts”) of the community.

  35. I think that there are a lot of ‘experts’ that are afraid that people might find out that programming isn’t just for the most brilliant people out there. Us regular folks can figure it out to.

    Further, isn’t simplification what it is all about? Our brains can only track a few bits of info at a time. One of the major points of OO is to allow us to ignore implementation details outside of the area we are working in.

    Keep the posts coming, believe me when I say that many of us appreciate the amount of work you are putting into bringing these concepts down to manageable pieces.

  36. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after browsing through a few of the posts I realized it’s new to
    me. Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!

  37. “To escape criticism: do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” — Elbert Hubbard

    Hi Iris,

    I enjoy reading you blog. I wrote my first program in 1978 and punched it onto 80-column cards. I’ve learned a lot since then and am still learning. Ironically, I think I’ve learned more about people and human nature in that time than I have about computers.

    Some people are jealous of other’s ability to get out of their comfort zone and try something. Some are frustrated with themselves for not taking advantage of opportunities they had in the past. Some are just a bit nasty, a bit toxic. Ignore them (if you can).

    Real experts want to share. They want to debate. They want to help and guide others. They know that they learn more themselves by being challenged. They are not afraid to be proved wrong. The half-life of the best-way to do anything in this business is pretty short. The relentless pace of change in technologies, methodologies and expectations means that we all need to stay curious and open to other points of view and fresh new ideas.

    So, stay curious, keep asking questions, stay positive and continue to develop your nice addition to making the world a better place!

  38. […] posted what could be the last question, Am I too stupid to ask questions? – closed my computer, packed a suitcase and crossed the border to Norway to visit my parents. I […]

  39. I listened to your interview on hanselminutes last week, and I could relate very closely to your comments on the show. You have definitely brought be out of my shell, and after listening to your interview, I have decided to take charge of my knowledge and embrace the things I don’t know, with the realization that our field is one that requires us to continuously seek knowledge. I have had the good fortune of working with some very brilliant developers, and one quality that they all share is that they are *very* open to new ideas and ask a lot of questions. One developer that I learned a lot from said “I don’t know” more than anyone I have ever met.

    I draw a strong parallel between our work of continuous development to fitness and weightlifting. There are days when I just want to quit. I ask myself, “Is it worth it?” “What does it matter? No one is watching, or keeping track” Well, that’s not what matters – what matters is that I care so deeply about it that I might even call it a spiritual pursuit. That is how I know it is my passion.

    In the same vein, I implore you to continue doing the great work you have started. A lot of people have noticed, and you are making a considerable contribution to the community, in spite of the negative remarks you have been receiving.

  40. Please do not stop!

    I learn a lot from your questions, sometimes it is something that I know, sometimes it is something new!

    Your talk on Hansel Minutes was inspiring to say the least.

  41. Iris,

    I’m glad to see you have continued your series. You have a passion for technology and development and it shows. Please keep it up.

    Whenever a person puts themselves “out there” and expresses an opinion publicly, it leaves that person vulnerable to attacks. There will always be those who prefer to attack opinions, and it is their right. But it is also our right to ignore them. I learned a long time ago to ignore these types of unconstructive comments. It’s difficult to do, but often the best approach.

    It is much easier to “bully” people over the internet through comments, blogs and emails than it is to present a constructive argument. if people have alternatives to offer and can do so in a constructive and helpful way, I encourage that. if they don’t, I ignore them. When you care about what you do, it is hard not to take it personally … I know I do at times. But its best to let it go. if they truly wanted to sway your opinion, they would find a friendlier way to do so.

    If your goal is to share your passion and it’s what you enjoy, keep doing so.

    Your level of experience is not what qualifies you to blog. It’s your passion.

    Keep it up … you are making a positive impact in the community.

  42. It is very easy for programmers to be arrogant today, thinking that anyone who does things differently or does not know something they know, is somehow inadequate. I know what it means to be viewed critically by ones peers, but as the old saying goes “the proof is in the pudding”. It is was you can create which counts. A good programmer is not one who knows everything, but is one who admits they don’t know it all and are constantly learning. A good programmer is not one who follows the latest “fad” in programming, but is one who finds their own nitch (what you are good at) and who develops skill at what they do.

    I have been told by other programmers than one should know as many different programming languages as possible. I disagree. One should learn only as many as they can be proficient with. The old saying “Jack of all trades, but master of none” holds true. It is better to be a “master” of just one programming language which one is really proficient with, rather than a “Jack of all trades” with multiple languages but not really a master of any.

    Programming is a matter of developing logic skills (good math skills help).
    Programming is also a form of art (be creative).
    Debugging is an art, not a science (aka. just like being Sherlock Holmes)

    Do not be afraid to continue to learn. View each finished task (app) with joy !

    I know what it means to be viewed negatively by ones peers, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is the quality of the software I develop (I write tools for programmers). Now if you think you have critics, you are not alone. I have been programming for a couple decades now (first exposed to programming as far back as 1975 when in high school) with a number of local businesses still using my software and a good number of professional programmers writing commercial software with my tools. Yet I am still an “ugly duckling” among peers (but that does not matter). Why ?

    – I have been programming in BASIC for a couple decades
    – I don’t use Microsoft programming languages (I use PowerBasic, aka, great grandchild of TurboBasic)
    – I prefer procedural style coding over OOP
    – I believe in backward compatibility (can write software which will run on Windows 95 to Windows 8 )
    – I write apps which are so small they can usually fit on a floppy disk
    – The only languages I know are BASIC and some HTML and some Assembler
    – Don’t use any dot.net (managed languages)
    – Dislike Java, C++, C#
    – Write all my software using 100% procedural style (some call it functional) without any OOP
    – I am a WIN32 (Windows API) programmer

    Now most programmers today would say I am ancient, old fashioned and out of touch. Yet a number of commercial applications have been written (by my customers) using my tools. That is enough for me. It works and works well.

    – So continue to learn.
    – Honestly admit what you don’t know and don’t feel ashamed.
    – Continue to ask questions (not all the answers you first get will be right either)
    – Learn from others, but don’t be afraid to ask why or even to disagree (even the best can be wrong at times)
    – Learn the art of debugging (trust your mind over the machine)
    – Don’t even try to learn everything. Stick to the things you know best and or can grasp the easiest.
    – Don’t believe all the “hype” around the latest “Fad” in programming. Choose what really works.
    – Use the programming languages which best fit your mindset and way of thinking.
    – Better to know one language really, really well than to know multiple languages but be master of none
    – Don’t be afraid to be creative

  43. Then a good question for next time should be “Should I care about what other developers think of my posts?” The answer can be simple for that too. NO. They don’t look at your code, so what they think doesn’t matter. They don’t even know you. They have google too and can find plenty of advanced info if they want. I enjoy the fresh perspective of a new developer as I am pretty new myself (only 2-3 years of experience). Never stop asking questions, that is the hallmark of a good dev.

  44. Don’t take it personally when other developers criticize you. They have other believes about what’s good or bad. Try to learn from them, ask them to explain they’re perspective.
    I know how you feel, sometimes when my boss is criticizing me, it feels really bad, I feel like I’m good for nothing, but I ask him to explain he’s point of view. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have problems with my boss, he is a good developer and my mentor. But sometimes we have different perspective of what is a good solution and what is bad, and if I can’t convince him that this is the way, I let it go. In the end of the day he is the owner of the solution.
    I think that you are inspiring many developers, noobs or experts.
    If someone don’t like this, then let them talk. “The dogs are barking, as the bear goes.”

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