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Columns A game of inches

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 21 Oct 2007.

  1. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    http://www.bit-tech.net/columns/2007/10/21/a_game_of_inches/1

    Have you ever posted in a forum for some help, frustrated by the nasty responses and "n00b" replies? Brett Thomas feels your pain as he discusses writing, the dissemination of knowledge, and some good ol' bone-crunching American football.

    :)
     
  2. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    I know your pain, buddy.

    bloody emo :p
     
  3. Nature

    Nature Member

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    (inaudible grumbles)

    Notice how he never posts on his own colums....
     
  4. atanum141

    atanum141 I fapped to your post!

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    I forgot how handsome Bret was.
     
  5. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    I really liked your article. Can't say I did understand everything, but still it was fine, even with the errors that might have been in there.

    Interesting thought though.
     
  6. Carnival

    Carnival Dremel a WHAT?!

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    I signed up here just to say this:

    I thought the article was great. I did a hardware module at Uni not long ago, and the 64 bit stuff went right over my head. I actually get it now. Whether or not there were small or big factual errors, the overall information that was given was pretty damn helpful to those who don't know about it already.

    As for those brave souls who have started a thread on a different forum to whine and mock, stuff 'em. You made the effort, they didn't, so they can place it where the shineth not, right?
     
  7. mrb_no1

    mrb_no1 Pie Eater

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    Nice article brett. There is alot of flaming and negativity on the forums...myself and a couple of mates, one of whom is felixthecat in the forums were talking about the 'snobbery' in the forum, with geeks/techi's turning their noses up at n00bs asking questions and flaming the inquirer, felix fell into that category and my other mate james had left bit-tech forums for that reason, he is a system admin at a uni. in the uk and he couldnt stand the arrogance of people as they jumped to rip someone apart because its completely useless and having to read through crap like that to actually find the information that someone useful has posted is tedious which is fair enough in my opinion.

    the 64-bit article you posted was useful and whilst it probably does have holes (if i am to believe what i read from other people), the article title wasnt "64-bit processing....my doctoral thesis" at which point poking holes would be fine as it should be a complete document commenting on everything ever written about the whole 64 bit issue.

    I have alot of respect for you guys when publishing articles that are 5 pages long and attempt to cover so much, it opens you up to alot of criticism as pieces of information are filtered out to make the reading more useful to those of us who are relative n00bs in certain areas.

    peace

    fatman
     
  8. vivaladan

    vivaladan New Member

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    I think it's mostly a ego thing. If someone makes an error or asks a nooby question then it's a race to who can put him down quicker cause it makes them feel smarter in comparison. The majority of internet forums have just lost there way due to the lack of understanding and human compassion in the current internet culture.
     
  9. completemadness

    completemadness New Member

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    In my time reading bit-tech, i have seen very few edits, Usually you will fix some spelling mistakes, but in the years Ive been reading, only a handful of articles have been changed in substance
    Of course, i may have missed a lot, but if i saw a massive error, even if i posted on the forums, or emailed you, i wouldn't hold any hope it would be fixed

    Anyway, i had a look at that arstechnica thread, and I'm not sure how much i agree with some of the things I'm correcting you on
    a couple of examples
    Buffer overruns SHOULD be protected by the architecture, it should see, hey this program has gone outside its boundries and has edited another program
    However, i suspect its actually quite hard to implement without large performance losses

    As far as my understanding of processors goes, you can only handle 1 register at a time
    For example, Command1 is in Register1, Command1 says "load data from memory location 56" - memory location 56 is put in Register2, and then put in the Accumulator (or working register, or whatever you want to call it)
    So First Register1 is read, and the command executed, which then moves the data from Register2, however, the processor could only use 1 register at the precise moment

    Right thanks for that, the author was trying to keep it relatively simple, but apparently you just want to show your E-Peen

    Elitism on the Internet is a problem, and can be really sucky
    Also, "Elitist" people usually have their head so far up their a** that they wont find out if/when they are wrong and will spread this misinformation to everyone

    Being wrong is great, because people correct you and you further your knowledge, plus its no fun being right all the time
     
  10. capnPedro

    capnPedro Hacker. Maker. Engineer.

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    If this article was a 360 page essay, I'll write the nice article for it.
    That about sums it up.
     
  11. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    Well, we do try to correct what we can (like spelling mistakes and so on, which I always invite people to nag me about via email, forums, pm, msn, or steam community), but you have to remember that a lot of the time there's a focus on the content going forwards. Is it worth taking the time out of my current feature to write an extra paragraph into a game review because somebody wants to know if it can X Y or Z? Ussually not, especially when it's not as simple as just writing the extra piece instantly but going through the content engine and re-editing etc.

    That said, we do take an enormous time out to do these things. If I had a penny for every case review I'd done where somebodies only response to the entire article was "Can I fit my X850 XT PE in there and still have room for a seperate modem and a physx card?" then I'd be able to buy myself a drink instead of getting Jamie to do it for me. Still, we do it when we can.

    Of course, Brett's point is also a little silly. People won't always email. The majority won't, because it's a community and people come here to talk and read about a shared interest and to bounce ideas of off each other. If each and everyone of the people who had a problem with an article emailed then inboxes get swamped and then we would start ignoring people. IMHO, its far better to let those people come here and say things so that we can publicly respond (for everyone that does say it, ten don't) and let the community start responding for themselves. It's always better to have a hundred extra forum posts than a hundred extra hate-mails, even if you do urge people to be polite.

    Rambling over.
     
  12. m0o0oeh

    m0o0oeh Well-Known Member

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    As I don't own a 64 bit processor, nor do I have the financial wherewithall to afford one at this moment in time, I have not read the article. Also, that kind of article isn't really my cuppa.

    However, I do agree that its a shame that so many people feel the need to be elitist.

    I will happily admit that I don't know half as much as I should, or indeed want to know about things like web coding, and networking and the like.

    If I ask a question on a tech forum, then I would expect common decency to dictate that most people would be somewhere approaching helpful.

    However, when you reach the exalted heights of writing articles, then you start running the risk that the article you write may be taken as gospel truth. I myself know that when recieving feedback from people about an article I'd written about setting up a drum kit and various other things. All the muso's (persons of extreme annoyance to myself and anyone else interested in music and isn't the most competent of player) started ripping into my article, suggesting that some of my sources were "inadequate" and "out-dated" when my former drum teacher gave me the ideas not 20 minutes before publishing the article! And I suggested using a piece of cut-off carpet or an old rug which no one wanted, and rather than using a permanent marker to mark where all the pieces of the drum kit went, use pieces of gaffa tape and write on that! That way, if you ever need to use said piece of carpet again, you could! This idea was also panned by the muso's as "an entirely un-necessary idea. How many drummers change the positions of their kit once settled into a routine?" At which point a good friend saved me the trouble of saying "Ah, but how long, and how many adjustments would said person have to make until they were settled in their routine?!"

    As said above, I feel your pain. Elitism isn't a good thing, regardless of where it rears its ugly head.

    Also, I appreciate that the above diatribe may not be the best example, but it kinda got my point across and also gave me a chance to vent to a completely new audience! ;)

    All that being said, I'm going to read the article in the morning when I'm still not work-addled...

    Joe
     
  13. julianmartin

    julianmartin resident cyborg.

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    Good article man, very poignant but in a good way!
     
  14. Rahneshin

    Rahneshin New Member

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    It's funny because Brett's 64-bit article came out on bit-tech a few days after I had posted this on another site.

    Much of the stuff in his article was over my head but was useful as a whole because it cemented my decision to go for 64-bit vista on a new system.

    As a non-techie looking to make reasonably intelligent decisions about what to get, this is all I'm asking of sites like bit-tech. I'm not interested in the minutiae of cpu architecture nor programming nor anything of the sort. In this respect, Brett's article did its job and then some.

    Therefore, I do not see the need for him to defend his work nor lament the bad character of some internet forum posters in today's piece (Oct 21st). Brett came off as overly defensive and wounded when there was no need to be and he made his critics more important.

    IMO, he should have just stated at the end of his 64-bit article that, since time of writing, there have been some flaws noticed by some readers which can be found here (insert link to ars technica forum discussion) and that he apologises for the mistakes. That would have been enough and would have given the issue as much attention as it deserved. Let people come to their own conclusions about all the rest.
     
  15. Da Dego

    Da Dego Brett Thomas

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    I'm not usually one to comment on my own columns, as a column is an opinion piece so I feel I've levied mine by writing it. However, I wanted to note this. I think it's a great approach, and I agree with you Rahneshin. However, I just want to point out (as my own staff colleague Joe seems to have missed my point) that my target isn't just to whinge about my article being slighted.

    Instead, I wanted to use my own experience to emphasise what I view as an inherent problem. Elitism detracts from our sense of community, it detracts from people wanting to set foot in it and it detracts from people wanting to share the knowledge that they do have for fear that it might be seen as inadequate.

    When I'm writing, I normally expect that there will be a level of criticism, particularly by those that are above the target knowledge point for the article. This was the first time though that I have had quite this level of response - in some respect I should have planned to miss a few points, and I'm *NOT* just expecting everyone to email a problem that they have.

    What I'm saying is that there is a level of respect that could be given to anyone - rather than calling me an idiot, why not post something helpful? How many of us do the same thing? I'm asking each person to think about his or her approach to sharing knowledge, not just how they tell me if I got something wrong. :) It's a BIG issue in my mind, one that prevents some people from being able to enjoy their hobbies.

    I know I'm not going to reach everyone with my "be nicer" plea, as some people will just say "It shouldn't be wrong to begin with." But that's making my point all about me, when my idea is to relate my experience to you so that you can apply some of its lessons to your own posting habits. :)
     
  16. Tyinsar

    Tyinsar 6 screens 1 card since Nov 17 2007

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    There are many wonderful ideas our world has inherited from the ancient Greeks. Sadly the elevation of the individual from the integrated tribe (/community) member to the self-complete ideal we have today is not one of the better things. (I bet some historian is going to want to flame me for that :D).

    One of the reasons I like Bit-tech is that usually the mods, and even many of the forum members, do a good job in keeping the tone positive - even in the Serious Discussion area where that can be difficult. To the mods and to my fellow forum members I just want to say thanks :clap:

    A team that plays as a unit will defeat a bunch of "stars" that each play only for their own glory.
     
  17. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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    I get it, I just think that its a war that can't be won, so it's best to bring the level down to a battlefield you can fight on, like this article individually. I'm a 'fight the battles you can win' type of guy I guess. Either way it was a great article, so I'll shut up now. :thumb:
     
  18. ArtificialHero

    ArtificialHero We were just punking him sir!

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    Isn't that what you asked for?

    To be honest this article does feel like a bit of a whinge. At the end of the day this is a technical website, if there are technical errors in the articles published they will be dissected. I appreciate that 64bit computing is a complex topic, and distilling it down to a short article is not easy, but I think you just need to take the criticisms levelled at you on the chin.

    AH
     
  19. Meanmotion

    Meanmotion bleh Moderator

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    Surely the point is that if he has a problem with it in the first instance, it's on his head to contact Brett, not vice versa. And, again it's worth reiterating, these comments were made on another forum where the intention was clearly not to inform Brett or anyone else but simply to boost his own image.

    Finally, the point of a column is often to vent a bit of personal frustration as that's often what fuels our opinions. If it was some straight up informative piece it would be a feature.
     
  20. Da Dego

    Da Dego Brett Thomas

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    Actually, your quote is pretty much my whole case in one point. :) Look at how it's worded...

    "I'll offer him a free one hour realtime chat on this subject on any mutually agreeable medium as to why he's so incredibly wrong and how he can correct his article or at least not make the same embarassing mistakes..."

    Now, most interesting is the fact that out of his previous post explaining how wrong I am, he got a couple of his own facts incorrect, and felt that putting a disclaimer at the bottom of the post completely justified his actions. All of this on a forum that isn't ours, where he'd be least likely to be seen by me. In fact, were it not for another poster who read both sites putting a link in the discussion thread to that, I'd never have even seen it.
     
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