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Can anyone explain for me?

  1. Feb 24, 2017 #1
    I'm new here and I don't understand why so many topics here are devoid of process or context. I just read a question about a haunch and a cantilever beam. I know zip about architectural standards and design but I do know that codes and standards do exist and any architectural engineer can put together an impressive library of reference books covering the question in this instance. Even if the source of the question originates from somewhere that has no building standards authority wouldn't the place to start be referencing the standards of someplace that does? The question had nothing in it about the purpose of the beam, where the beam is to be used to meet geographic and environmental realities or any other consideration to the answer.

    Regardless of the discipline the process of problem solving doesn't change and problems without a context aren't problems. Am I wrong?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 24, 2017 #2

    BvU

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    The idea is that reality is complex and can be made a little bit more accessible by looking at parts in relative isolation. That way relationships between variables occurring in processes or construction elements can be studied more effectively.
     
  4. Feb 24, 2017 #3
    ByU,

    I'm sorry but I don't see it that way at all. In my beam example how can their be any relative isolation without context? I repeat, I know zip about architectural design but I do know this, without context there are no variables. What there is, is equations and charts in reference materials to plug in for the variables as they become defined.

    If you're right and I'll assume you are as an advisor then the real problem here is the wrong question has been asked.
     
  5. Feb 24, 2017 #4

    Baluncore

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    The problem is asking the right question. The poster would not need to post any question if they knew the right question to ask, because then they could find the answer to the question themselves.

    They are so close to their problem that they have developed tunnel vision. They have fixated on a loop and will follow it to it's end. They forget that we are not mind readers, and that we do not share their knowledge. It is our job to drag them out of their deep mental maelstrom by asking questions that put them firmly on their feet where they can get a wider view of the field.

    For some reason they think we know all the answers. Sometimes all we know is how to find answers by asking questions. We often learn more answering the questions than they do. That is why some of us are here.

    Questions don't need answers so much as answers need questioning.
    “The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions.” Susan Sontag.
     
  6. Feb 24, 2017 #5

    BvU

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    I have no idea what the example you are talking about entails (my telepathic capabilities are very limited) so my comment was general.
    PF is intended to help posters with exercises and understanding. We can't start every thread with Adam and Eve.

    But I concede many posters have little idea how much context there is needed for a particular question, which in fact is understandable. That's why, for example the homework template asks for a (complete) problem description, all variables and given/known data. And the template is compulsory.

    And yes, sometimes I wonder too why a poster starts a thread, when with just a simple search he or she can find the answer easily.

    [edit] ps my first reply seems like an answer to a question you didn't really intend to ask - my mistake.
     
  7. Feb 24, 2017 #6
    Baluncore,

    I'm new here and decided to participate for the specific reason that I would have said was because of the answers I didn't have relating to a project of mine. An hour ago I would have said I have questions I don't know how to find the answers to, but I do. Experiment and testing. I have to agree, if the right questions were known then the answers reveal themselves. At least the source of the answers.

    ByU,

    I'm sorry, I though I set up the example of the beam. The question was how to calculate a haunch for a cantilever beam of this material and something more about the plate. As the question stands the answer is almost a complete explanation of beam construction which to me seems to be the epitome of Adam and Eve.

    Baluncore and ByU,

    First, what level of students are these questions coming from? Second, what's the best way to help them? I can't imagine supplying answers is helping them. What I can say from observation is that these "kids" are starving for a process to problem solving.
     
  8. Feb 24, 2017 #7

    anorlunda

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    Wow, what a great reply. That one is almost worth framing. Kudos to @Baluncore .
     
  9. Feb 24, 2017 #8

    BvU

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    I think I found the culprit: https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/haunching-beam.905184/#post-5699608 right ?

    And Baluncore helped as good as is possible with such a post.

    We never know.
    Varies !
    Absolutely. That's why it's even strictly forbidden in PF to do that.
    If there is one thing that a large fraction of the posters (and also non-posters, in fact all beginning students) has in common, that's surely it. So we help them as best we can.
     
  10. Feb 24, 2017 #9

    anorlunda

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    Those are valid points, but only if you make assumptions about the posters. You are ignoring the obvious about public Internet forums. Posters come from many backgrounds, all the way from unschooled to renowned experts. Aside from the text of their question, we have no way to judge their backgrounds (including yours).

    We like to think that it is helpful to try answering questions. But anyone is entitled to the opinion that the entire site should be replaced with a sign that says GO TO SCHOOL.
     
  11. Feb 24, 2017 #10
    ByU,

    Thank you and I will bear it all in mind in the future.
     
  12. Feb 24, 2017 #11
    Wow! I didn't say, suggest or imply anything in your final comment. In fact, being new to this site I think I was up front about actively asking for help with understanding questions I was having about what I was reading. Also the first thing I read was don't post homework questions here. I accepted nothing posted here was homework, understand now that's not the case and I'm fine with that.

    The level of students, if known only matters in relation to responses. Replies that aren't understood serve no purpose. I also suggest that a question about the level of students is a statement about the lack of assumptions about those asking questions by me.
     
  13. Feb 24, 2017 #12

    BvU

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    In several fora there is the possibility to set a prefix for the level : B = Basic (High School), I = Intermediate (Undergrad), A = Advanced (Grad+).
    But it is often overlooked/ignored.
    (And I notice that for ME the prefix choices are rather limited (automotive / aerospace ).

    I often spend some time looking at a posters' previous threads in order to guess an appropriate level. Leads to surprises sometimes :smile:
     
  14. Feb 24, 2017 #13
    Your suggestion or advice of scanning previous threads now seems self evident after reading it. My experience with "forums" has been project based and not public. I saw participants such as yourself with titles like advisor and helper and I erroneously assumed a greater familiarity between participants. An assumption that has been corrected.

    I can also understand how scaling participants can be overlooked or ignored. The nuances of communication are truncated when communication is limited to typing. Scaling can lead to as many wrong assumptions as correct ones.

    Thank you
     
  15. Feb 24, 2017 #14

    anorlunda

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    My final comment was merely reacting to the following. If I misinterpreted that or over-interpreted it I apologize.
    We are pretty friendly here. If you would like to contribute, your assistance is most welcome.

    Don't forget what @Baluncore said in #4. Even experts are sometimes very clumsy in writing questions or providing answers. We have to allow wide latitude for that. But we do get touchy if someone appears to challenge the helpfulness of PF and of the people who contribute their time to provide answers.

    The PF title advisor is awarded to who are elected by other advisors. It roughly means that this person usually knows what he/she is talking about.

    PF mentors are people who volunteer their time to help administer PF and to moderate the threads. Such duties take a lot more effort than one might think. If you stick around here long enough, you'll begin to appreciate what they do.
     
  16. Feb 24, 2017 #15
    anorlunda,

    Should I stick around is irrelevant. Who I am is irrelevant. What is relevant to this thread is I asked a question about how to best participate considering questions I had about the questions being asked and how they are being asked. I don't see where I asked anyone to justify for me their role here except for the statement about posting homework here.

    You seem defensive as though I have in some way attacked or been critical of you and others. Please explain how I've done this to you.
     
  17. Feb 24, 2017 #16

    anorlunda

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    I just explained in post #14. But I'll repeat. It was this sentence of yours that I reacted to.

    Perhaps you could amplify and explain that sentence.

    edit: there is also a private message facility where people like you and I can exchange differing viewpoints privately rather than publicly on the thread.
     
  18. Feb 24, 2017 #17
    Maybe things have changed but when I was a student getting answers to assigned problems from someone else was equal to someone else doing your work for you. Back then that was called cheating. The current more pleasant sounding, "Academic Dishonesty," doesn't change the, "By any other name," reality. Of course there is a difference helping someone understand a problem and doing their work for them. In my opinion that's the gist of this entire thread.

    ByU understood:

    "I can't imagine supplying answers is helping them."

    "Absolutely. That's why it's even strictly forbidden in PF to do that."
     
  19. Feb 24, 2017 #18

    Baluncore

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    The great thing about the English language is flexibility. Friends will always interpret statements to be in agreement, while enemies will always polarise the discussion.
    “I can't imagine supplying answers is helping them” has multiple interpretations.
    1. Answering questions is a waste of time, therefore you must be an idiot. Or:
    2. The answer is 42; which does not help educate the questioner or help lead to better understanding.

    It all comes down to aspects of “human nature”. Less is more; more or less.
    A single short sentence has more interpretations than a concise paragraph.

    For forum threads/topics, I believe the number of responses is inversely proportional to the quality and quantity of information provided in the original question.

    For UFOs, the energy expended on discussion and argument is inversely proportional to the amount of reliable information available.

    And there is a parallel in business; “The décor of the front office is inversely proportional to the fundamental solvency of the company”.
     
  20. Feb 24, 2017 #19

    berkeman

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    Thread closed temporarily while we decide the best sub-forum to move it to.
     
  21. Feb 24, 2017 #20

    berkeman

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    After a detailed read of this thread, it requires a long response to the OP. I will leave the thread here for now, but it will take me until tomorrow night to formulate a good response. sorry for the delay, and thanks to everybody for trying to help with responses so far...
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  22. Feb 24, 2017 #21

    berkeman

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    Such a thread (if caught early by the Thread Report mechanism) would normally have been moved to the Feedback forum, and handled there. But I think it's probably best in this case to leave it in the originating forum and locked, with my responses below. If the OP has additional questions, they can PM me. If those additional questions justify forum-wide responses, I'll re-open the thread and move it to Feedback. Thanks to all who have helped out in this thread. :smile:
    Yes, one of the challenges of a web forum like ours is to try to help posters to post well. That includes a good thread title, and a good, clear opening statement. For reference, the title of this thread is "Can anyone explain for me?".
    As BvU says, in the Homework Help forums, we have moved toward a policy of enforcing pretty strict formatting of questions and showing effort. With younger folks in school, that has proved necessary, and beneficial. It's a lot of work for the Mentors to manage this (and for the regular users to report problematic posts early), but the net benefit is very good. In the 10+ years I've been here, there has been a huge improvement in the qualtiy of the posts in the HH forums, and it's much easier (and less frustrating) for the regulars to help students now.
    Correct, supplying answers to homework questions (especially with no work shown) is against our rules, and generally results in a warning from a Mentor. OTOH, supplying an answer in the technical forums to a work question where lots of work has been shown may be fine.
    When we set up the B/I/A prefixes recently at the PF, we polled the various forum Mentors to see if they thought their forums would benefit from the prefixes. The other Engineering forum Mentors and I said we didn't think they were necessary for our forums, given the types of posts we see. The Physics forums especially have benefited from the new prefixes, by contrast. If folks think that prefixes would help in the Engineering frorums, please PM me and we will reconsider it.
    Please do the best you can when starting a new thread:

    ** Use a good, very descriptive thread title that lets folks know what you are asking, and helps folks click into your thread if they think they can help

    ** Post a clear problem statement

    ** Post any relevant links (kind of line the Relevant Equations section of the Homework Help Template) that can show folks what you have been reading to try to answer your questions. This helps us gauge your level of expertise, and often shows us where your misconceptions are, which helps us set you straight early in the thread.

    Yep, that's why giving answers in the Homework Help (schoolwork) forums is against the rules.

    If you ever see a student being given the solution to their homework problem here on the PF, please click the Report link on that post and ask the Mentors to handle it. We get a lot of such reports. :smile:
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  23. Feb 24, 2017 #22

    berkeman

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    Thread has been moved to Feedback for archice purposes. I agree with that at this point.
     
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