Using namedtuples field names for column indices in a list of lists

Antoon Pardon antoon.pardon at rece.vub.ac.be
Thu Jan 12 03:49:18 EST 2017


Op 11-01-17 om 23:57 schreef Deborah Swanson:
>
>> What are we supposed to do when somebody asks a question based on an
>> obvious mistake? Assume that they're a quick learner who has probably 
>> already worked out their mistake and doesn't need an answer? That 
>> would certainly make our life easier: we can just ignore everybody's 
>> questions.
> No, of course not. My advice to people who want to help is to not assume
> that you know what the question asker does and doesn't know, and just
> answer the questions without obsessing about what they know.

With all respect, such an answer betrays not much experience on this
list. Half the time answering in this way would mean making very little
progress in actually helping the person. There is an important difference
in trying to help someone and just answering his questions. And your
advice may be the best way to help someone like you but not everyone
is like you. A lot of people have been helped by a remark that didn't
answer the question.

>  If that's
> impossible because they have something so wrong that you don't know what
> they're asking, that would be a good time to point it out and give them
> a chance to correct it.

It is rarely a question of impossibility. It often enough is a sense
that the person asking the question is approaching the problem from
the wrong side. Often enough that sense is correct, often enough that
sense is wrong. All the participants can do is take a clue from the
question and then guess what respons would help this person best.

Nobody can expect that this list will treat their questions in a way
that suits their personal style.

-- 
Antoon Pardon




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