Checking a Number for Palindromic Behavior

rurpy at rurpy at
Wed Oct 21 18:42:09 CEST 2009

On 10/21/2009 01:40 AM, Lie Ryan wrote:
> rurpy at wrote:
>>>> 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.
> Yes we do. If the person wanted a direct and straight answer (like most
> cheaters) for such a simple question (like integer palindrome), googling
> takes less time and efforts compared to posting to a mailing list.

In that particular case, yes.  However many problem are
much more difficult to search for.  You're also assuming
that every poster is a perfect decision-maker when deciding
how to seek help.  Sorry, people are not as perfect as you

> OTOH, since the poster took the trouble of registering to a newsgroup,
> posting his problem, waiting a few hours for replies, and checking the
> group for replies, requesting clarification, thanking, and getting back
> to normal day activities;

You are way overstating the effort involved here.
Especially if the poster has posted to the group before
usually the only significant effort is writing the message
(and thinking about the responses of course but that has
to be done no matter where the poster seeks help.)

You are also way understating the effort in Googling
something.  I have spent literally days wading through
thousands of pages of Google results trying to find
accuate info before.

> this implies that he wanted explanations which
> can only be provided with the more interactive newsgroup instead of a
> relatively static websites.

No it doesn't imply any such thing.  It is exactly this
narrowness of focus, this inability to see alternate
explanations, that is leading you to think that
providing hints is the single one and only right
way of responding to any simple question on this list.

They may post here because, ...(ready for this?)...
they want a direct answer to their question!

>>>> 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
>> answer.
> Yes we have the right to complain,

Of course.  This is usenet (or a very open mailing list
depending on your perspective.)  You can complain or
say anything you want.  As can I.  However people will
pay attention to you or not based on the degree of sense
you make (in an ideal world) or based on other group-
dynamic things (in an imperfect world) or a combination
of both (in the real world).

> because a single post containing a
> direct answer will *destroy the purpose of giving hints*.

Which is precisely the problem,  You claim that purpose
is the single, only, best way of helping the person you are
answering.  I am simply claiming you don't know that, can't
in a general sense know that.  If you want to play teacher
and provide that style of answer, fine.  But since you
(collective) have demonstrated that you are not even
able to accurately identify when someone is asking about
a homework problem (but are still arrogantly willing to
try), it is pretty reasonable for us "thems" to doubt your
claims that you know the best way to answer questions
here.  Since you haven't demonstrated your style of
answers is best, it unreasonable for you to insist
that it be the only style allowed.

Please remember, I am only saying that simply answering
a question, as asked, is not a bad thing.  I really
would have thought this would be pretty uncontentious.
But then again, this is clp.

> Giving direct answer is too tempting for an OP that originally wanted to
> try to solve by their own. It is too easy to copy and even the most
> determined would have a difficult time to resist.

Baloney.  When I ask a question in any forum I read
all the answers (although I might only skim those that
are duplicative, off-topic, or otherwise less relevent
to my goals).  I extract from them all the information
I can.  And if two answers provide the same information,
what's your problem?  Are you angry that someone else
provided a more effective answer than you thus devaluing
your effort?  Sorry, but that's just life.  If it's
any consolation though, I for one note and appreciate
all responses, even if they are duplicative or even wrong.

> If the OP had wanted a direct answer, he should make an explicit note
> about it.

If I want *only* indirect answers, I will say so.  If I
want *only* direct answers I will say so,  In the absence
of either I expect that any kind of answers is ok.
I believe this in normal practice in most forms of human
BTW, are you aware that making *any* demands here on the
form answers should take is likely to result in some

> When that happen, the OP is not interested in studying about
> the solution anyway and hints are useless.

Again, a completely unjustified conclusion.

> Writing a direct answer is much, much, much easier than understanding
> where specifically the OP is having trouble with.

Yes, I agree that is often true (at least if you leave
out the "much, much, much" part).

> We wanted OP to post
> their solution or at least their thought on the problem because we
> wanted to see why the OP is having problems, so we can tailor the reply
> specifically for the OP.

"We"?  Other "we"s have said both in this thread and others
that "we" want to see the poster's attempts to prove that
the poster is not simply trying to get his work done for
him.  Maybe you "we"s should get your stories straight?

But regardless, repeating what I've already said umpteen
times, fine, ask.  What does that have to do with someone
who simply answers the question that a poster asked?

> Not giving direct answers promotes active thinking, which is much more
> important for programmers, direct answer gives rote memorization, which
> is useless for programmers due to sophisticated documentations.


>>>> 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.
> If you're still having problems but won't bother to post a request for
> clarification, that means you don't take your *own problem* seriously
> enough.

1. Where did I say I was (hypothetically) "having problems"?
2. Can you think of any other reason besides "not taking
my own problems seriously enough" that might result in
my deciding not to post a question to this group?
3. Do you think that the ability to accurately read a
post and think logically about it is important when
try to help by answering questions here?
4. Do you think that people who demonstrate an inability
to do this should be trying to dictate how everybody
else here should respond?

[...snip interesting but irrelevant diversion into the
 nature of human society and evolution...]

> As a metaphor, which one do you think is better in the long term:
> charities or microcredits?

Both of course.  Why on earth would anyone think there
is a simple, single, best answer for complex problems?

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