HomeQ&AI guess it's really pointless to direct someone to reference

I guess it's really pointless to direct someone to reference

10
votes

or ask them to use the translator or dictionary tools because the very next post goes ahead and answers the homework question for them. Maybe I misunderstood that part. Oh well.

3985 views
updated MAY 27, 2010
posted by Jack-OBrien
Is your cup half full? - cheeseisyummy, MAY 25, 2010
I'm amazed at how that overused analogy was used as a snide comment. Well Done. - Jack-OBrien, MAY 25, 2010

16 Answers

7
votes

In general I would encourage the asker to use the reference links. But the answers you get from the reference material can be confusing, or just flat ludicrous, especially for beginners. Words commonly have multiple, unrelated definitions in the dictionaries. Knowing which one to use in which context is not always straightforward. The automatic translations vary between poor and laughably silly. If you don't believe me, type in "The weather is nice", then feed the answer back through the translator. The last time I did this it came back, "The time is tuna".

Yes, a lot of the "how do you say this?" and "please do my homework for me" questions are posted out of laziness. But telling someone to look it up is not always doing them a favor. In engineering we call this "RTFM", and it can be supremely frustrating if the manual is less than helpful.

I agree that we shouldn't do students' homework for them, but we should be willing to supply clarification.

updated MAY 27, 2010
posted by KevinB
The "FM" from "RTFM" is a very long one when it comes to language. :) - ian-hill, MAY 24, 2010
Never heard that acronym before. I'm going to get a tattoo. - 0074b507, MAY 25, 2010
Great acronym...and I agree with Ian that that would be one really long manual for Spanish ;) - alba3, MAY 25, 2010
4
votes

This must be one of those cyclical questions that every so often gets pulled out of the recesses of the SpanishDict closet and dusted off for reinspection.

This question has been asked in the past and has also spurred several rather lengthy discussions regarding the need for a balance between homework "policing" and maintaining a fun and friendly learning environment.

Below are a few of the previous threads which contain numerous (and diverse) viewpoints and opinions on this very subject.

Homework questions: should we do/ignore/delete them?

Do you feel this forum has a don't ask for help attitude?

suggestions for changes to keep the forum friendly

Homework policing

Has anyone noticed a decline in proper editing

updated MAY 27, 2010
edited by Izanoni1
posted by Izanoni1
4
votes

I share your frustration, Jack. When you go to the trouble of explaining why you're not giving them the easy answer, so that they may learn how to find the answer for themself, it is beyond frustrating when someone comes along and apparently needs to show how smart they are.

updated MAY 25, 2010
edited by Goyo
posted by Goyo
I guess some are just trying to pass an exam, not actually learn the language. I keep forgetting that. - Jack-OBrien, MAY 24, 2010
Goyo, I agree with you, but I'd like to think that some are just too kind and helpful. However, since it is SD's stand not to do homework for others, I hope everyone here would just respect and support that stand. - Rikko, MAY 24, 2010
3
votes

I understand the frustration. But some people go overboard and refuse to answer any question that even seems to be someone asking for homework answers (as a Spanish 4 student, I know). You have to have discernment.

It's a lot like math - there's a difference between saying "Can you do this for me?" and "Can you show me how to do this?" But in math, you don't always just say "look it up in the book." Many people learn through interaction better than through using reference tools. There's a balance between the extremes of doing someone's homework and expecting them only to rely on non-human resources.

updated MAY 27, 2010
edited by StillLearning
posted by StillLearning
3
votes

Look on the bright side smile - if someone else's question has made us revise knowledge we already have, or has made us do research so that we can answer them we're really a winner all the way! While recalling or researching we've refreshed our memory or gained a greater understanding of the Spanish language and all it's little idiosyncrasies - so we gain the benefit.

The recipient of a short answer, who looks no further, has however really not gained much at all and will be none the wiser when they come across a phrase or situation that is even slightly different from the previous one they got an answer too.

Silly billies lol :p

updated MAY 24, 2010
posted by Kiwi-Girl
2
votes

Jack, I know this has been a frustration in the forum. As Izanoni pointed out, it has been discussed quite a bit, but I don't mind adding a few thoughts once again. smile

In general, if I see that this is the person's first time in the forum, I do try to make things a bit easier for them by supplying the answer or a direct link to the answer. I just did this seconds ago. However, if the person seems rude or seems to have an attitude of entitlement, I make them work a bit harder. I think by helping the newbies out, we encourage them to return to the forum in the future. If I see that they are returning for a second or third time, wanting immediate answers, I inform them that they need to do their best to work on the answer first and that we will be happy to make corrections, etc.

To answer your question though, don't give up on making people work a bit for their homework answers, etc. I know that sometimes another member is answering simultaneously and innocently gives the whole answer. Then again, there are the occasional "know-it-alls" or the people who like to make themselves appear to be the "good cop" to your "bad cop" answer. Don't let this bother you too much.

I think that if the majority of us do the right thing and set the right example, the pressure will be on for the rest to follow suit. If we all consistently make people do some work rather than receiving "free answers" all the time, people will catch on....at least I hope they will. wink

updated MAY 27, 2010
posted by Nicole-B
2
votes

No, it's not pointless, Jack. Look at how many views there are and think of how many newcomers pick up on the suggestion to use the many tools. But I feel your pain!

A combination of pointing and answering seems to me to be the ticket, since SpanishDict comes up so high on most every search engines as the place to get a translation.

I'm not suggesting SD change a single solitary thing, but if the label "Answers" was maybe changed to "Forum" or "Discussion" and the label "Translation" came first, more folk might be tempted to use the translation feature.

One other thing to consider is that some of those questions might not be being asked to get information, but to get reputation: you cannot vote for an answer you appreciate until after you have 20 reputation. And the fastest way to that is ask a question that someone will vote up when they see it is someone's first question.

updated MAY 25, 2010
edited by LateToDinner
posted by LateToDinner
late to dinner I think you mean I'm not suggest**ing** SD change (not suggestion) etc.... - FELIZ77, MAY 24, 2010
Good catch, Mr F., consider it fixed! - LateToDinner, MAY 24, 2010
"Answers" was called "Forum" before. - ian-hill, MAY 24, 2010
Thanks, Ian! That sheds new light on something I read elsewhere and couldn't associate. Glad you volunteered that. - LateToDinner, MAY 25, 2010
2
votes

I guess it's all relative - what is your criteria for answering a question? I'm just asking in general as it seems that we all do answer some questions straight off the bat.

Is our choosing to answer really based on how much effort the questioner has previously put in to get their own answer, or is it more how much the question intrigues us or whether we regard the question to be of a certain standard of difficulty that matches our personal knowledge base?

Wouldn't it be true that for a beginner the question whether to use 'estar' or 'ser' is just as confusing as the dilema facing the advanced student who asks a very complex grammatical question and maybe both just really don't know where to start to look for the answer?

Just my thoughts smile although i must admit if there's a complete lack of manners by the questioner along with any hint that they should have some idea of where to look - they'll either get nothing from me or a wee bit of sarcasm and perhaps a point in the right direction (with one or other of my digits) lol smile

updated MAY 24, 2010
posted by Kiwi-Girl
1
vote

Jack, I couldn't agree more with what everybody has said here. I continue to try and guide and direct (I am still learning a lot myself) the person's question. Do not stop this because it's a valuable part of the learning process for everybody!! smile

updated MAY 27, 2010
posted by Jason7R
1
vote

Whoopsie, I really shouldn't have gone and submitted a reply having come straight from this page. Poor guy :(

link text

updated MAY 25, 2010
posted by Kiwi-Girl
Oh, you weren't that tough on them!. - LateToDinner, MAY 25, 2010
1
vote

I share your frustration, Jack. When you go to the trouble of explaining why you're not giving them the easy answer, so that they may learn how to find the answer for themself, it is beyond frustrating when someone comes along and apparently needs to show how smart they are.

What could I add here...maybe...Nothing?!

updated MAY 25, 2010
posted by 00494d19
1
vote

Note, also, Goyo and Jack, that sometimes the "free answer" is being typed at the same time as is the more educational answer. So, from one who is learning from both of you, please continue!

updated MAY 25, 2010
posted by LateToDinner
You're right, there are many times two or three posts will have been posted before I can click the answer button. - Jack-OBrien, MAY 24, 2010
1
vote

You can think of it in that way... or perhaps think of it as the person who posted did not know there was a translator/dictionary tool and thanks to your post they will know it is available for use for any future problems/questions they have. : )

updated MAY 24, 2010
posted by mcdavis99
0
votes

Absolutely pointless, indeed, look at this thread, both Ian and Jeff tried to direct the member to the dictionary, and then Julian came along rolleyes

I am sad to see this happens all the time, I sometimes delete the message if I am here, but ....

updated MAY 27, 2010
posted by 00494d19
0
votes

I started as an ignorant, answer-anything big-mouth.

Later I understood the point of giving people hints about how to save themselves from perpetual ignorance.

Later still, I have come round to the view that maybe there are some help-worthy folk out there; given that they say "please" and that they haven't posted three trivial questions in the last 5 mins, I am often prepared to answer.

Sadly, I find that, by the time I've worked out if it's a yes or a no, someone has already answered.

updated MAY 25, 2010
posted by geofc
I suppose that hanging around this site long enough will mellow us a bit. - Jack-OBrien, MAY 24, 2010
Nice response. I appreciate people that are willing to help, because I'm a student. I don't go around asking for the right answers to questions 1 throuth 28; I have legitimate questions about making sure I'm doing my work properly. - StillLearning, MAY 25, 2010
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