Checking a Number for Palindromic Behavior

rurpy at rurpy at
Wed Oct 21 00:47:10 CEST 2009

On 10/20/2009 11:48 AM, Falcolas wrote:
> On Oct 20, 11:18 am, ru... at wrote:
>> Why *not* answering a question in comp.lang.python
>> because you think it is homework is BAD.

I got a little over-hyperbolic above and muddied the waters.
More accurately, this should have been, "Why insisting
that nobody directly answer a question in comp.lang.python
because you think it is homework is BAD."
I think the content of my previous posts made clear that
if you want to provide an experiential answer to a question,
that is fine.  But please don't assume that is necessarily
the only style of answer or the best.

Since this is the rebuttal to several of your points below
I will refer to it as A1 and reference it below.

>> 1) It may look like a homework problem to you but it
>>  probably isn't.
>>  See
> Homework comes in many forms - school driven homework should be
> treated the same as self driven research, IMO. You're not doing it to
> be told the answer, you're likely doing it to learn.

As I said in point (5), you are not in a position to
decide how someone else best learns, even if your guess
that the question is homework, contrary to the evidence
in the url, is correct.

>> 2) When you publicly accuse someone of "cheating" (and
>>  even asking is tantamount to an accusation unless done
>>  very tactfully), especially without anything more than
>>  your "feelings" to back it up, you will likely anger
>>  the poster, contribute to an generally unpleasant
>>  atmosphere in the newsgroup, and intimidate other
>>  people who want to ask legitimate questions.
> Arguing with a long standing Usenet and clp traditions are just as
> likely to cause an unpleasant atmosphere.

Matter of which is the least worst I suppose.  As for
tradition, see below.

>> 3) You are not responding only to the original poster;
>>  there are many other silent readers who are interested
>>  in the answer and whom you are depriving of knowledge
>>  by refusing to answer.
> MRAB provided a perfect answer - anybody who wants to know more, or
> could not connect the dots, can always ask for more information.

No.  Forcing people to beg for bits and pieces of an answer
one at a time, doled out by a cabal of elite "gurus", is
humiliating and a disincentive.  If you can answer the question,
do so without all the farting around.  If you don't want too,
or you feel answering in bits and pieces is helpful, fine, do
that, but don't object to someone else providing a direct

>> 4) When you post a specific solution to a question,
>>  usually a number of other people will respond with
>>  alternate or better solutions.  While perhaps overkill
>>  for the original poster who likely will be satisfied
>>  with any answer, such discussion greatly benefits
>>  other readers.
> See previous.

Most of what I have learned about python from this group
I have learned by reading responses to other people's
questions.  I would not in most cases bother to post a
request for clarification if the answers weren't clear.
So "see previous" is also my response.

>> 5) Although "working out" an answer oneself is the usual
>>  goal of homework problems, it is not the only way to
>>  learn.  Often, when one is really stuck, one can learn
>>  what one is supposed to by seeing the fully worked out
>>  problem's answer.  You, who don't know anything about
>>  the poster, are not in a position to decide for him/her
>>  what the best way of learning is.  The poster is also
>>  free to ignore your answer if he/she chooses.
> Again, if the original, directing answer was not sufficient, the
> original poster is welcome to ask for more information. Doing so will
> likely help them as much as it would help this "silent reader"
> population.

See previous.

>> 6) Please don't apply your abstract moral standards to
>>  the entire rest of the world, knowing nothing about the
>>  particular circumstances of the poster.
> So, let the poster give the circumstances. We have just as much right
> to question his motives as you have to question ours.

See A1 at top.

>> 7) If the poster is determined to cheat, he/she will do
>>  so with or without your help.  Your self-righteous
>>  stand will serve only to generate the above undesirable
>>  results without changing the poster's behavior.
> How did MRAB's response negatively affect anybody?

See A1 at top.

>> Of course, whether you choose to provide a specific
>> answer to something you think is homework, or not,
>> is ultimately a personal decision and you are free
>> to follow your conscious.  Just please don't demand
>> that every other participant in this group adopt
>> your personal standards.
> When you join a long standing community, you're expected to follow
> their conventions. Don't top post, don't do someone else's homework,
> etc.

This is the only thing you wrote that resonates with me.
I would never dream of moving to Spain and immediately
start agitating to end the cruel sport of bullfighting
(though if it were already a contentious issue I might
join those already objecting).  I would not move to
France and demand that French people stop drinking wine
because of the problems alcohol causes.  But clp is
somehow different, even assuming that the no homework
help rule is actually a tradition as opposed to a few
dominant personalities and a bunch of wannabe followers.
Perhaps because "community" is more metaphorical than
actual in newsgroups?  Or perhaps that I expect and
value diversity of opinion more on the internet than
in long-established real cultures?  Whatever the reason,
I beleive the restriction of the free flow of information
resulting from trying to guess a poster's motives for
asking something is far more damaging overall than the
results of sometimes providing information that may be

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