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Old 2006-04-27, 10:51   #67
Mystwalker
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xilman
Whether or not you wish it did display academic rigour is neither here nor there. You are only one contributor amongst many and your opinions are likely to carry a proportionate weight.
I definitely think that there should be a place in this forum where academic standards have to be considered, and I think we have it with the mathematics sub-forum (well, at least most of the time). I'm still for a slight re-arrangement, making the structure more obvious, though. Either create a dedicated "beginners and intermediates" or an "experts" sub-sub-forum. A "misc" sub-sub-forum is not understandable for new members, I'm afraid.

In my opinion, from the technological side, we don't really have much of an academic level anywhere here. But that's totally ok, as 3-tier-architectures, DAOs et al. won't really improve the applications' performance anyway.

But places for casual members are just as important. I have the impression that for most members, number theory is merely a hobby (for me, it is). Some stop at installing a client, others are more curious and try to get into deeper levels of understanding.

Quote:
Like you, I would prefer standards to rise. How to arrange that is a difficult question.
The most likely learning type is a top-down approach*, which means that one starts at the most abstract level and goes down the levels until one either reaches the bottom or consideres the current level to be just fine, taking into account available time and/or personal skills.

As a consequence, there are at least 3 factors for increasing the overall skill level:

1. Improved knowledge transfer - Make transitions from abstraction levels to deeper one as easy as possible. I think the wiki can be of great help here. This way, one has a single useful access point (and does not have to answer FAQs over and over again).

2. Keep members motivated - There are at least 100 times more interesting things to do than there is time for it. Thus, when a voluntary task (like a hobby) seems unappealing, one stops putting time into it, which also put an end to learning. However, if the latter was a pleasent thing to do, it would be much more effective (and efficient).

3. Actively prompt learning - Of course, it's also wrong to just sit and wait. After all, "those who wait for the things to come only get what the others left over". It is completely legitimate to (nicely) request ongoing attempts of self-improvement. On the other hand, it is a common illusion that it's possible to ultimately demand this on a web forum (or on the internet in general). If someone wanted to stay at the current level of expertise, he shouldn't be forced to do otherwise. Even as that level, (s)he's nevertheless helpful, e.g. by explaining things to new / less skilled members - things that experts shouldn't be required to explain, as their time can be much better used otherwise.


A successfully working ecosystem is the key. There have already been numerous examples of members who came here and - with the help of others - managed to learn enough to make important contributions themselves.


*The bottom-up approach, e.g. reading books, is possible as well, of course. In my opinion, it is at least as effective, but not as flexible, which means that one should be sure to be willing to walk all the way. For hobbyists, this is not always the case. But the situation is totally different for professionals. In my example, I've already worked myself through dozens of books about the various aspects of software engineering, some larger than 1000 pages.
All I want to say it:
I can understand how professionals think, but I also know the hobbyist's side. I think it's important to stay open-minded in this topic.
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Old 2006-04-27, 11:05   #68
Mystwalker
 
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By the way:
Could all this be moved to a new thread? We've reached a meta-discussion again, and I don't think everyone interested in gmp 4.2 also needs to read it.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 2006-04-27, 20:05   #69
ewmayer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystwalker
By the way:
Could all this be moved to a new thread? We've reached a meta-discussion again, and I don't think everyone interested in gmp 4.2 also needs to read it.
Thanks in advance.
Can't speak for the other mods, but I'll pass - many of the flame-ish posts still have valuable ECM-related comments, and it's just too much work to sift through it all and try to separate the wheat from the chaff. People who are only interested in downloading 4.2 can get what they need by just reading the first few posts.

I will lock the thread, though - if someone has something directly related to building/installing/running 4.2 they want to post, PM me and I'll either briefly open the thread to allow tha specific post, or just post it with attribution.
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