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Posted by Psion [send private reply] at October 26, 2002, 09:25:38 AM When this server went down and I was setting up a static HTML page for use until it was ready again, I got to thinking about making TPU a way-cooool place again. The sad truth seems to be that people who start programming today, with the Internet as a tool/distraction, end up less motivated and able to go off and start their own significant projects than those of us who programmed for 5 years or so before the Internet was in use by the general public. So, it seems to me that it is the solemn duty of us old TPU members, and you new folks who believe in the cause, to rectify this!
We didn't have much structure in the old days, but some could be useful now. Something that a lot of people seem to like is... contests! But we can't just put up "a contest" and have a few people work on it a bit and turn in small solutions and then everyone forgets about it quickly. I think it would be better to plan small periods of time for contests when everyone could be working on them, getting to know each other, etc..
However, as an example of what contests should NOT be like: TopCoder! We want competition only as a tool to encourge learning and socialization and motivate people to come up with their own ideas later!
Some general ideapoints:
* It would be cool to make something work with teams where we intentionally create small groups with one "knowledgeable" person and a few "newbies."
* Perhaps we could work a "battle of the programming languages" aspect into some of them for extra interest, a la the ICFP contests.
* Do whatever it takes to encourage people to consider more challenging kinds of programming as superior to web development!! (Perhaps this is the major problem hampering new programmers from reaching their full potentials outside of school on their own)
I feel quite strongly about the extreme superiority of the "learn by having fun with some other people who want to learn the same thing" model, as opposed to the "be forced to learn things by people decades older than you" model of traditional schools. I think the Internet has created some interesting new social hurdles that make this more difficult, but I think we have enough bright and motivated people here to pull it off!
This message was partly inspired by an IRC conversation with the fellow running http://www.promagia.org/ . He (55 years old) plans to use the Internet to run a hybrid of a traditional school and a self-taught community. I was trying to convince him that the way TPU worked in the olds days is superior to what his model could lead to. However, we don't seem to be doing that _now_, but... we can start again!
Posted by gian [send private reply] at October 26, 2002, 09:29:23 AM That sounds like an excellent idea. It seems like a good way to get back to old TPU.
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at October 26, 2002, 11:05:50 AM I also like those idea in general. I just think this could be discussed further in order to have a clearer idea of what how those ideas could be implemented.
Personnally, I'm not much into contests but I Psion says people likes them, I suppose it's true :P
The thing I really like about the proposition is:
* It would be cool to make something work with teams where we intentionally create small groups with one "knowledgeable" person and a few "newbies."
That's the way teens like to learn today. The problem is that not many teens will come here to look for gurus because they already know some guy that can answer their question in everyday life. That's why TPU should stretch his arms and reach other media: web forums, IRC (on networks other than OPN!), usenet, icq and other IM, etc. I already proposed this on the "TPU Should Be Everywhere" so I won't rewrite everything here.
Posted by mop [send private reply] at October 26, 2002, 11:41:26 AM If we kept the 'fun' aspect, then certainly.
I don't like working on teams though, maybe when the things are judged, the top 3-5 people could get scored as in the first place person gets 3 points, 2 place gets 2 points and third place gets 1 point (the rest nothing), and that score either being in the profile or hidden (as to stump "leetism").
If teams are wanted it could be autmated based on your score, "click here to join an open team".
Who would judge it?
Posted by Psion [send private reply] at October 26, 2002, 01:10:54 PM Why do we need to have scores and anything but informal winners? "Winning" conditions could be set on a per contest basis as appropriate.
Posted by mop [send private reply] at October 26, 2002, 03:55:43 PM for forming teams fairly, as you said
Posted by gian [send private reply] at October 26, 2002, 04:49:40 PM I think a very basic peer-reviewing situation would work as well as any.
Posted by mop [send private reply] at October 26, 2002, 05:31:07 PM I suppose, why not just have it so you sign up for the contest under a team name and add people you want to the team? I think in the end that would actually be best..
Posted by Qubit [send private reply] at October 26, 2002, 06:05:33 PM OK. So why not just get started implementing instead of conversing it to death :)
Only foreseeable problem here is, how many knowledgeable people are there willing to spend time teaching group members by whatever means to reach the end goal of a contest? Naturally the smaller the group the better the learning and easier to manage, but the more damage caused if someone 'disapeers.'
Anyway, from that number we can determine the teams, and attempt to find ways to keep them from going extinct.
I'd do it, but I'm far from knowledgeable these days :-) I'd end up being a learning group member.
Posted by buzgub [send private reply] at October 26, 2002, 07:57:39 PM If I count as knowledgable, I'm happy to volunteer.
I agree with everything Psion suggested - it seems like a good way to build community, have fun and suchlike.
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at October 26, 2002, 11:35:05 PM What Psion suggested is quite vague. I think it's a generally a good idea but I'd like to see how it's gonna work before doing anything!
I could count as a volunteer. I'm not very knowledgable on anything in particular but whatever I know I can teach it to others...
Posted by Linux_Penguin [send private reply] at October 27, 2002, 12:13:42 AM Ok nice idea but, points = stupid, that would only discourage many... at least don't keep them around for ever that may not be to great (people would most likely hold it over others) besides that is not the point of the whole endevour. How to get started? Get a big box on the front page that asks each member what skill level they are, then based on that groups can be made... I for one believe that would be much faster than everyone coming to a board and typing in their backrounds (its been done already several times). As for guru type stuff, I don't think it matters how long you have been away from something, you know more than the others so you may as well use what is availible to you. Really though I don't like it when people "volunteer" in the boards, it gets hard to tell when someone wants to volunteer or doesn't, and then the whole trail of messages begins! Eventually the whole idea gets talked out and dies! Also I believe that communication is up to you, be it IRC, AOL (ugh), MSN, ICQ whatever just as long as you are conversing and keeping it active. Well thats my two cents.
Posted by mop [send private reply] at October 27, 2002, 12:48:50 AM I was suggesting points earlier because I thought that doing it peer based might be worse, although I don't really know, we could always play around with different ideas for a while.
Although I still think teams should be chosen by the person who started it.
Posted by Psion [send private reply] at October 27, 2002, 06:19:04 AM There is _no_need_ to force anyone to be on any team, and no one was ever considering that. The idea is that everyone involved will _want_ to be doing this and will naturally form teams to take best advantage of it.
Posted by vikram_1982 [send private reply] at October 27, 2002, 08:34:18 AM Fine, all this dialogue is good, but everything boils down to one thing that Psion started out on... MOTIVATION. If u are considering a no-points system, or say a just "Informal Winner" paradigm, what are you going to do to avoid this scenario from occuring:
Week 1: Winner
Week 2: Runner
Week 3: Winner
Week 4: WInner
Week 5: Same old stuff!!!!
Week 6: Boring
Week 7: Oh no not again!!!!
This is basically how such name sake "competitions" end up.For a competition to be concrete we need people to go after something and that final goal should be extendible.A person who has the motivation to learn something will do it himself anyway. When in a group, what a person really wants is "RECOGNITION" and you can't deny him that.
Well, the induction of say, a points system as mop suggested may also lead to the same eventuality.
Anything new generally starts off with a fire. It is as time proceeds that things really fall off. To avoid that happening, something must be thought of NOW, before implementing the system, than wait for that to happen.
And Psion's initial post had a line "we want people to come up with their own ideas". Where are these ideas going to be implemented after it is published?
My Question in short:: A group slogs for months - all ideas pour in - an excellent work is turned in - He is declared the "virtual winner" - The winning entry is maybe posted on tpu for a week - Entry is thrown in to the dustbin.
This last point is the part that I want rectified. If the project could be shaped into something useful- then it will be great.
Let me give u a suggestion. All the TPU members can start off on an Ambitious Large Project(that can be decided collectively). The project can be divided into modules. Each "team" works on one module. After a predetermined period of time the project would be ready. Maybe that could then be posted on the GNU network (or something similar). That would be SOMETHING.
And in the mean time, all the intermediate goals will also be satisfied. Group Learning and the sorts....
Posted by mop [send private reply] at October 27, 2002, 12:15:12 PM That brings up another question about time frame, will there be more then one competition going on at a time, so people who just want to do a small project can have a chance at winning, whereas groups of 5 people can have a month for a large project?
Having more then one competition is bound to end up with judging problems, but we'd need more multiple judges anyway.
Vikram raises some good points too.
Posted by Psion [send private reply] at October 27, 2002, 12:36:32 PM Everyone working on "one big project" is a horrible idea guaranteed to get nowhere. I speak from 6+ years of experience with TPU. 5 coders "working" on one "project" is already the kiss of death for anything ever getting done.
If there weren't so many people coming here who have no motivation/idea how to code anything worthwhile on their own, then I wouldn't be suggesting this. This isn't meant to enrich the people who have already discovered how much fun programming things besides simple web sites and tiny console programs is. It's meant to get the unfortunate rest of our visitors up to speed rapidly.
You don't need "prizes" if the whole thing is run as a "game." People don't need prizes to play Quake online.
Posted by vikram_1982 [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 12:42:01 AM Psion, u are missing the point.
I wasnt saying "All on the same project". Well to an extent it is true. What I was actually referring to is "Moduled Execution", just as in the Software Engineering field, probably following a RAD (Rapid Application Development) model for say, a 6 month project. In a Moduled Execution environment , the problem of "Too many cooks spoiling the broth" doesnt occur, as the level of abstraction between the various teams will be substantial, in the sense no team will be allowed to poke its nose in the other team's work.Each group will have only around 3-4 members with the same ** small groups with one "knowledgeable" person and a few "newbies ** hierarchy that is required.
Finally, all the work done will really pay . Maybe you could add it as "Experience" in your CV.
And coming to your point about Playing Quake. Dude, there is a difference between passtime and interactive learning. If you are asked to play baseball just for the heck of it, maybe you would, but if u are asked to go to work without any returns, you surely wont. Correct???
***5 coders "working" on one "project" is already the kiss of death for anything ever getting done.***. Well I have the least idea as to how things work here. Maybe all the 5 of you have a say in everything. That's the reason you guys find it difficult. Try splitting ur workload and each concentrate on a single department, and ask the others to stick to theirs, things will run smoothly.
This isnt just theory that I am putting forward here. I too have experience with these types of things, and I have faced the "Rock Bottom" Scenario, and I dont want that happening with tpu. Think about it...
Posted by DragonWolf [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 03:35:16 AM I don't think there is too much to discuss with competitions, just really needs implementing. Trying to make the competitions fun/themed entries would be good (like a demo for X-mas or something (bit late now for that))
Also, after 3/4 competitions should get the winning teams to go into a finals competition.
Posted by Psion [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 07:16:27 AM Sorry, vikram, you have no relevant information here. Most teens don't code to "create returns." They don't even view coding as work. They code for fun, so it's entirely comparable to playing Quake, and it also has nothing to do with your experiences with software engineering. This isn't engineering; it's a hobby.
Overall, I'd suggest you not get involved with this discussion if you've only learned programming in school and just want to learn it so you can "get a job." You aren't in the TPU target audience. We only want people who learn programming on their own for fun.
Posted by mop [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 09:24:57 AM Well as we host more competitions, we are only going to improve how we do it more and more,so probably the best thing to do is get started as soon as possible with a simple <1 month project?
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 09:30:04 AM This is getting nowhere again! I'd show the example and start some kind of *Basic group, contest, interrest group or whatever but I just don't where to start!
Instead of trying to do the Perfect thing and avoiding any errors, why not simply try something from scratch and allow us to fail? Let's implement that contest idea NOW!
Posted by regretfuldaydreamer [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 09:59:22 AM Instead of competitions, have a recognition sort of idea.
People can push a link on someones profile and recomend someone, say once a week for the "coder of the week". Then Psion (or some other @guy, but probably Psion, cause even though hes iritating, I think hes generally fair) can take a look at the nominations and decide on a coder of the week(or possibly month, that might be better).
It should be based on how far you've stretched yourself or contrinuted. Not the sheer amount you know or have coded). This gives newbies/intermediates a better chance.
-C_Rdd will expand this idea if it proves popular.
Posted by DragonWolf [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 10:12:52 AM regretful, how much of our code have you seen? Or are you going on socialibility skills?
hmm.. Socialibility... Is that a word?
Posted by Psion [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 10:18:22 AM Coder of the week? That's not much better than "guy who has the daddy who can beat up your daddy" of the week. :P
Posted by regretfuldaydreamer [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 10:20:15 AM I haven't seen much of your code, but this would be on the quality of what you have coded and contributed, and (at least we could make out the point) that socialibility should have nothing to do with it. Maybe only the established coding Gurus could sugest a coder of the week, or perhaps just one admin deicdes. The thing is it wouldn't work directly on a specific competition basis, but would more be based on your continuing contribution.
Posted by regretfuldaydreamer [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 10:20:57 AM I see how this idea isn;t going to work.
/me withdraws his idea.
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 10:22:17 AM Too much talking, too little action!
I think contests are generally a good idea, but going into things like "Coder of the week" will lead to a dead-end. Too much subjectivity involved. How and who will judge that? That also requires choosing a different coder every week. After few weeks, we will run out of active TPU coders!
Posted by regretfuldaydreamer [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 10:25:24 AM Thus the month suggestion, and whoever said you could only win it once.
I don't think contests are going to work though. Its just gonnabe one of these things that lingers around for a while and then disappears, such as the interest groups, the merger with YPN.
Plus I withdrew my Coder of the month idea. A system where people nomintate other people based on their work just won't work
-When I said nominate, I didn't mean it would be a requirement, more if you thought someone else had done something exceptional, you nominated them.
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 10:30:19 AM That's the problem. Everybody grew old and we all try to avoid introducing features that we know (or think) are not gonna work. This leads to endless discussion because nobody wants to take the lead because nobody want to go ahead with new ideas... Of course, Psion and the #TPU people being quite conservative (I'm too!), it would be hard for anybody to contribute...
The original TPU was very naive and a bit anarchic but was more 'alive' and popular. For now, TPU is: a web forum, and an IRC channel.
Posted by mop [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 01:01:12 PM Just do it! Now! Someone write a pong clone in the language of your choice and post it here now! gogogogogogo!
We'll just see from the general reaction how well it was made, then learn how to do this better in the first place. As Neumann keeps saying we only learn if we try.
Posted by unknown_lamer [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 01:45:02 PM But the physics of pong are so difficult to write! :)
Why not implement a symbolic mathematics system! That gives exact answers.
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 02:02:04 PM Why not make 2 or 3 contest: 1 requiring knowledge of programming and another one than anybody can join using Basic or Turbo C...
PONG is not very hard to implement but somebody just starting programming will never be able to do it in a short time.
Posted by DragonWolf [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 04:15:34 PM I'm up for making a pong game ^^
Posted by regretfuldaydreamer [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 04:25:22 PM Me too, how hard can it be? Well, The hardest part would be working out how to change the velocity.
Posted by gian [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 10:00:12 PM I think the hardest part is doing alphablended paddles in a dos console!
Posted by buzgub [send private reply] at October 28, 2002, 11:14:15 PM unkown_lamer, too late! http://sourceforge.net/projects/ammath is my current big project.
Anyway, I'd be glad to start implementing contest-esque stuff if we haven't already got suitable templates floating around.
Posted by gian [send private reply] at October 29, 2002, 02:00:17 AM I think we might be able to adapt the previous attempt at something not too different from this.
Posted by DragonWolf [send private reply] at October 29, 2002, 05:19:35 AM I made a pong game like ages ago in QBasic, about time I had a go in C++ or Java ^^
Posted by RedX [send private reply] at October 29, 2002, 12:24:35 PM hmmm, Pong, that's one of the classics I haven't done before. I wonder how creative people can be on the Pong-concept.
Posted by mop [send private reply] at October 29, 2002, 01:07:43 PM /me just got a good idea and hides it from everyone else..
"Pong: Dance Dance Revolution!"
Posted by regretfuldaydreamer [send private reply] at October 29, 2002, 02:04:48 PM I saw a 3d pong a few days ago.
Posted by unknown_lamer [send private reply] at October 29, 2002, 04:43:18 PM No, PONG PONG REVOLUTION!
Posted by buzgub [send private reply] at October 29, 2002, 07:22:55 PM Where do you get the aroma creation device, though?
Posted by mop [send private reply] at October 29, 2002, 07:55:45 PM http://aromajet.com/game.htm
Posted by RedX [send private reply] at October 30, 2002, 09:00:53 AM This game stinks in 256 smells.
Posted by DragonWolf [send private reply] at October 30, 2002, 10:16:47 AM I just hate it when the enemy throws tear gas...
Posted by CViper [send private reply] at October 30, 2002, 01:15:11 PM just don't write a simulation on the recent russian free-hostages-op...
Posted by Neumann [send private reply] at October 30, 2002, 01:33:26 PM "Rainbox Six Russian Edition:
Kill all the terrorists crawling to their death before the Remaning-Hostage-Counter reaches 0!"
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