“I just want this to work”

As my first real post I decided to talk about this. But it’s late and this topic is annoying me to an extend I can’t describe, so if my spelling, grammar or interpunctuation gets worse along the way, that’s my bad excuse.

People that come to IRC or really anywhere and ask for help and when you start to explain refuse to listen or try to understand. People wanting to write triangle-perfect collision detection in 3D space but have no idea what the dot product is or does, People that want to program shaders but don’t want to understand how the graphics pipeline works, anyone that starts a sentence with “But the tutorial” and absolutely everyone who says “I just want this to work”.

Surprise, if you have no idea what you are doing you are doing it wrong 99% of the time. That’s because you literally have no idea what you are doing. If it works because you stole (sorry copied) it from a tutorial you have no idea how or why it works. So if you break something, which is likely since you have no idea what you are doing, you can’t fix it.

I don’t care if you just “need some quick help to get this to work”. That’s your job! How do you expect to get this to work without understanding it? Is your computer some sort of magical machine that reads your mind and does it for you? Or do you feel entitled to have random people on the internet do it for you? It’s nice enough of me or anyone else of the internet to try to help. No matter in which way. By directly helping on IRC or by putting ressources online like tutorials, post-mortems, reviews, articles and whatnot. Everything you need to know is there, but for some reason you expect to be spoonfed the absolute minimum of what you need to “know” (I use that term in a very loose sense here) to get your very specific problem fixed. Give a man a fish… anyone?

Don’t get me wrong, I like to help. That is I like to help people understand stuff. And I like to solve problems. But I am not helping you if I solve it for you. I am not helping you if I tell you step by step what to do. And I am not helping you if I let you off the hook easily for being an ignorant cunt on the internet. You might find this offensive, but really I am trying to help you in the long run here.

Let’s say I’ve had an absolutely brilliant day and I get home and decide to help someone on IRC no matter what they request and you come along and ask how to do lighting in 2D in your tile based game and stuff. And I basically pastebin you code you can copy one to one into your game to magically have working light. How much did you learn? “Well I think I understood most o” No, you didn’t. Don’t give me that bullshit. You still have no clue. If you couldn’t figure it out before, how did you figure it out now? There is math involved and I didn’t explain anything to you. That’s not help, that’s just doing your work for you. And it means you will need to come back to me every time something doesn’t work.

But I’ve been there, quite a few times and quite a while ago. And believe me I’ve been in your shoes too. I too, just “wanted something to work”, but it’s not worth it. I’ve been on both sides of that conversation, but even then I wanted to know how things work. And I really can’t see why you wouldn’t. It’s exciting how problems are being tackled and solved and it broadens your horizon as a bonus.

If you just want to impress your highschool buddies go and buy a book. Follow things one by one. Maybe something might stick even, because every book author explains things one by one along the way.

Another thing I want to just briefly touch on is this: If you ask for help, PLEASE ask about the original problem you were trying to solve. Most of the times someone asks a weird question it’s because they are trying to solve a problem in a weird way and get stuck on their attempted solution. So they come on IRC and ask about their specific problem with their solution rather than asking about their original problem, which usually takes time and prevents them from seing a different and potentially easier and clearer solution to the problem.

I want to get along with people. But this is just something I had to get off my chest. I can’t take all this ignorance it just makes me sick.

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