[Haskell-cafe] Building the community

Paul Moore p.f.moore at gmail.com
Thu Dec 14 06:58:44 EST 2006

On 12/14/06, Neil Mitchell <ndmitchell at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi
> >     *  Give tips on how to answer questions
> >
> >             + Ok. we can put up an article here. Some suggestions:
> >                 - No questions are bad questions
> >                 - Code should come with examples of how to run it
> >                 - Solutions with unsafePerformIO should be discouraged (moreso ;)
> >                 - Be polite! (we're good at this)
> I'd say our worst feature is tending to give solutions which are not
> "simple" Haskell, but make use of advanced features. When a beginner
> asks a question, sometimes the answer requires GADT's, Template
> Haskell, rank-2 types etc. However this is usually because they asked
> the wrong question - thinking in an imperative frame of mind. Often it
> would be better to peel back to the original problem, where the answer
> is more likely to be pure neat Haskell.

As a newbie, and a lurker on this list, I'd second this. Often, the
subtle and sophisticated answers are very rewarding to study, but they
do give the impression that what the person who asked the original
question was trying to do, is hard. Generally, it's a turn-off to feel
that something which seems simple in another (probably procedural)
language is hard in Haskell. At its worst, it comes across as people
trying to look clever, rather than trying to help.

If the user thinks it's a simple task, show a simple answer where at
all possible.

But overall I'd agree, this is a very helpful community - it's just
that you all seem so much cleverer than I, so I'm not sure I'll ever
be smart enough to write Haskell programs :-) (50% joke...)


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